Guide to the Department of Religious Studies records

Finding aid prepared by Ashley Toutain
University of San Diego, Archives and Special Collections
Copley Library
5998 Alcalá Park
San Diego, CA 92110
Telephone: 619-260-2730
© 2016

Overview of the Collection

Title: Department of Religious Studies records
Date (inclusive): 1964-1995
Collection number: USDA_1997_01
Creator: University of San Diego Department of Religious Studies
Extent: 1 box (.5 linear feet)
Repository: University of San Diego, Archives and Special Collections
Copley Library
5998 Alcalá Park
San Diego, CA 92110
Abstract: These records contain correspondence, reports, and meeting minutes pertaining to the Department of Religious Studies in the early 1970s. The majority of these records pertain to discussions about the Catholicity of the merging USD College for Men and College for Women and general education requirements in religion.
Languages: English

Historical Note

Until 1969 the College for Women and the College for Men had separate departments of theology with separate general education requirements. Catholic men, and all women, were required to take a theology course each semester. As discussions of merging the two colleges were occurring, and with personnel changes, the Department of Religious Studies became the first completely merged department in 1969. John R. Portman served as the founding chair of the Department of Religious Studies until 1974. The department professed to ensure the academic nature of courses in religion not character formation. Religious study was, and is, part of the general education requirement for each student. In 1972, general education requirements in religion changed to nine credits for all students. In 1974, Religious Studies was added to the list of majors.
The prominent program the Department oversaw in the 1970s was the Ecumenical Center for World Religions. Founded by John R. Portman, the Center opened in January 1972 as a space to deepen students' understanding of world religions, for scholarly research about world religions, and to explore points of contact between religious traditions around the world. The Center also offered seminars each summer.

Scope and Content Note

The Department of Religious Studies records relate to the early administration of the department, namely discussions about the merger of the College for Men and the College for Women, programs put on by the department, and discussions of general education requirements. Records largely consist of correspondence, news releases and clippings, and reports. In addition to the early 1970s administrative records, are records for the Masters in Religious Education which was first offered in 1977.


These records consist of one series of Administrative Records which are arranged in chronological order.

Access Information

These records are open for research.

Preferred citation

[Folder Title], Box # Folder #, Department of Religious Studies records, Copley Library, University of San Diego, Archives and Special Collections.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Tessie Camina in 2008. It was further processed by Ashley Toutain in 2016.

Related Material

The M.R.E. (Masters in Religious Education) Newsletter is available for view in the University Archives and Special Collections.

Index Terms

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Portman, John R.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

University of San Diego
Jewish Chautauqua Society

Subjects and Indexing Terms

San Diego (Calif.)

Subjects and Indexing Terms

religion (field of study)


Series I:  Administrative Records, 1964-1980, 1995

Box/Folder: 1 / 1

Correspondence, 1969

Box/Folder: 1 / 2

Enrollment, 1964-1972

Box/Folder: 1 / 3

Catholicity of USD, 1972-1974

Scope and Content Note

[News and correspondence regarding general education requirements in Religious Studies.]
Box/Folder: 1 / 4

Conferences, 1978-1979

Scope and Content Note

[Conference materials for Women and Ministry and the Canon Law Institute.]
Box/Folder: 1 / 5

Correspondence, 1970

Box/Folder: 1 / 6

Correspondence, 1971

Box/Folder: 1 / 7

Correspondence, 1972

Scope and Content Note

[Includes correspondence on Satanism.]
Box/Folder: 1 / 8

Correspondence, 1973

Scope and Content Note

[Includes correspondence with the Jewish Chautauqua Society as well as discussion about establishing a major in Religious Studies.]
Box/Folder: 1 / 9

Correspondence, 1974

Box/Folder: 1 / 10

Ecumenical Center for World Religions - Executive Committee Meetings, 1973-1975

Box/Folder: 1 / 11

News Releases, 1975-1979

Box/Folder: 1 / 12

Portman Resignation, 1974

Scope and Content Note

[Includes Committee of Academic Affairs meeting minutes with the Board of Trustees on April 4, 1974 which involved discussions about the Religious Studies department.]
Box/Folder: 1 / 13

Religious Education Extension Program, 1975

Box/Folder: 1 / 14

Correspondence, 1984-1987

Box/Folder: 1 / 15

Institute for Christian Ministries, 1986

Box/Folder: 1 / 16

Masters in Religious Education, 1982

Box/Folder: 1 / 17

Masters in Religious Education - History, 1977-1981

Box/Folder: 1 / 18

Masters in Religious Education - Evaluation, 1982

Box/Folder: 1 / 19

Masters in Religious Education - Self Study Chairman’s Report, 1982

Box/Folder: 1 / 20

Masters in Religious Education - Student Evaluations Report, 1982

Box/Folder: 1 / 21

News Clippings, 1979-1980

Box/Folder: 1 / 22

Religion 194 - Gender and Religion in the United States, 1995