Office Hours with Peter Browning

Chaplain Peter Browning teaches philosophy and religion courses in Burnham Hall, leads weekly Chow & Chapel sessions in the Diversity Center, speaks the invocation during formal ceremonies in Clara Thompson Hall, and provides words of encouragement to people all over campus. His more private moments to work, write, reflect—and chat with frequent visitors—take place in his second floor Burnham office. Here's a glimpse into the life of the space.

Take a closer look at Peter's Office.

Peter taught at Drury from 1985-87, spent four years at the University of Chicago, then returned to Drury in 1991. This has been his office ever since.

  1. This 1999 Kappa Delta Spring Formal photo shows Peter with his wife, Dr. Carol Browning, professor of math. They met at Drury, and were married in June 2000.
  2. Photos of Peter's sons sporting tie-die are reminders of the Browning boys in younger days. James, an avid runner, is a high school senior, and Mac is a senior at Trinity University in San Antonio, studying computer science.
  3. One of many gifts from students, this handmade art piece by Sarah Evans '92, features a surprising take on divinity from medieval theologian Meister Eckhart (1260-1327): "What does God do all day long? God gives birth. From all eternity God lies on a maternity bed giving birth."
  4. Peter still runs in the Turkey Trot each Thanksgiving morning—rain or shine.
  5. A collection of mugs stands at the ready, and in this office it's strictly tea—no coffee.
  6. Stack of papers from past students include "life histories" from the class Living With Joy at Life's End. Students partnered with elderly community members to help them share their stories. Peter did his dissertation on medical ethics and dedicated years as chair of the Community Alliance for Compassionate Care at the End of Life.
  7. An award from ACCE (Association of Christian Church Educators) represents Drury's affiliation with Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), by whom Peter is ordained.
  8. Bookshelves hold an estimated 1,500 volumes, collected over the last 35 years, starting when Peter was in graduate school. "It's humbling to be here among 1,500 books." he says. "I have a tiny sliver of everything there is to know. It is a gift to remain a student. I am forever a student." Shelves are arranged by theological subject, and some books are grouped by the courses he teaches.