During the pandemic, people found time to try out some new activities. Maggie Rogers went harder than perhaps anybody on that front, though: She enrolled in graduate school at Harvard. Specifically, she was a student at Harvard Divinity School, which describes itself as “a nonsectarian school of religious and theological studies that educates students both in the pursuit of the academic study of religion and in preparation for leadership in religious, governmental, and a wide range of service organizations.”
Well, today, Maggie Rogers graduates as part of the school’s 2022 class. (At the time this post was published, the ceremony was in progress and viewable live on YouTube.) Annually, the day before the commencement, the Divinity School hosts the Multireligious Commencement Service at the campus’ Memorial Church, during which “graduating students offer prayers, readings, and music drawn from the wide array of faiths and backgrounds represented within the School,” per a new profile on Rogers from the school’s website. As part of that ceremony, Rogers sang the Wizard Of Oz classic “Over The Rainbow.”
Rogers graduates today with a Master Of Religion And Public Life (MRPL) degree, “a program designed for experienced professionals who wish to develop in-depth knowledge of the complex ways religion influences public life related to their career areas.” Rogers is one of the 11 students to first complete the new program this year.
In the aforementioned profile, Rogers noted, “I was thinking about this world in which people are moving further and further away from traditional religion, but yet are seeking to be connected to both something bigger than oneself and to each other. A really palpable and obvious and potent way that we connect to each other is through culture, through social media, but it puts a lot of emphasis and power in the hands of people who are artists. A lot of what I studied was how we come together, looking at religion and theology, and thinking largely about what are the ways in which we connect to each other, how is that done in a way that can be an agent for peace, what does it mean to hold that power, and what is the responsibility one has.”
She also said, “Whatever I was learning in class would immediately get put into practice in my professional world. It felt really integrated. The MRPL enhanced my work and vice versa. Now I’m going to spend the next year putting out this record and performing and living out so much of what I’ve been thinking about. I feel like I’ve just barely started to scratch the surface of what I’ve been studying here.”
The record to which Rogers refers is Surrender, her recently announced new album.
Watch Rogers perform “Over The Rainbow” above and watch the full 2022 Harvard Divinity School Commencement Diploma Awarding Ceremony below.