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Pickett Named New Director of W&L’s Shepherd Poverty Program

Howard Pickett has been named director of the Shepherd Program for the Interdisciplinary Study of Poverty and Human Capability at Washington and Lee University.

Pickett will succeed the program’s founding director, Harlan Beckley, at the end of the academic year.

Robert Strong, interim provost at Washington and Lee, announced the appointment, which is effective July 1.

“We are happy that Howard is able to accept this important position,” said Strong. “He has taught in the Shepherd Program for the past two years and is very familiar with the program and the students who participate in it.”

Although Beckley will step down as director of the program, he will remain at W&L next year and manage the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty (SHECP), which comprises about 20 colleges and universities that are introducing poverty studies into their curricula.

The Shepherd Program began in 1997 and integrates academic study and learning through service and reflection. Poverty and human capability studies has grown into the largest minor at the University, giving students the opportunity to acquire skills and qualities of character that dispose them to serve communities and disadvantaged individuals.

Pickett is currently an adjunct professor in the Shepherd Program, having taught in the program since 2011. He was previously adjunct instructor in religious studies at the University of Virginia, where he received both his master’s degree and Ph.D. in religious studies.

A graduate of Millsaps College, where he majored in religious studies and classics, Pickett taught philosophy and English at the Brentwood School, in Los Angeles, where he also chaired the Interdisciplinary Senior Seminar Department.

In 2010, he won the Religious Studies Award for Excellence in Teaching from the University of Virginia and was a BB&T Teaching Fellow in Business, Ethics and Society at U.Va.

Pickett is a member of the vestry and chair of the stewardship committee of R.E. Lee Memorial Episcopal Church, in Lexington.

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Jeffery G. Hanna
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