Naila Baloch Named Commencement Speaker
April 19, 2016
Naila Baloch, associate chaplain at Middlebury College's Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life, will address Lyndon State College's Class of 2016 at its commencement ceremony, Sunday, May 15 at 11:00 a.m.
As the associate chaplain at Middlebury's Scott Center, Baloch facilitates Islamic and interfaith programming and retreats, and also advises the Islamic Society of Middlebury College. She holds a master's in Theological Studies specializing in Islamic Ministry from Harvard Divinity School, as well as a graduate certificate from the University of Spiritual Healing and Sufism in Pope Valley, California, where her focus was on counseling from a spiritual perspective. She started her training at Harvard Divinity School as their first female, Muslim ministry student to prepare for positions of religious service.
Baloch has worked for the Pakistan Senate, in the International Development sector in Pakistan, and in various capacities as a researcher at Harvard University and Williams College. Before joining Middlebury College, she worked as a Chaplain and Spiritual Advisor at Tufts University and Northeastern University.
She has spoken at many conferences, presentations, and lectures at the Museum of Fine Art, Boston, Mass., Boston College, Boston University, Brown University, Tufts University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and many more. Baloch is also member of both the National Association of College and University Chaplains and the Association of Campus Muslim Chaplains.
Vermont Women in Higher Education (VWHE) awarded Baloch its annual Carol A. Moore Scholarship in 2015. The scholarship, named after Lyndon State College's former president, Carol A. Moore, recognizes women working in Vermont higher education who aspire to advance their careers.
Baloch studied at Oxford University and Williams College, where she earned her bachelor's degree in astrophysics and comparative religion, and conducted research on quantum information theory. Currently, Baloch is completing her master's degree in mental health counseling at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.
Following the success of Lyndon's Year of Social Justice in 2014-15, the 2015-2016 school year is known as the Year of Compassion at Lyndon State College. During the year, academic departments, student groups, and campus events and activities are focusing on topics related to compassion. This year, posters, kiosks, conversations, book discussions, and classroom discussions will help educate and demonstrate these ideas to create a stronger sense of community at Lyndon State College.