Investing in Eileen's Ph.D.

Dear Friends, Family and Colleagues,   

I am writing to ask for your contribution for my most important project to date—the completion of  my doctorate at the Graduate Theological Union (GTU)/University of California, Berkeley (UCB).  I need your support to help me cross the finish line.

My vision is to use this doctorate to continue to intelligently and compassionately advocate for vulnerable people, the environment, and animals. With the Ph.D. in hand, I will have the qualifications to:   

·        teach (again) at the university level and mentor young people

·        participate in leadership in academia and leverage academic resources for nonprofits that seek to advocate for vulnerable people, the environment and animals

·        provide educational resources to educational, religious, and spiritual institutions

·        foster a more thorough understanding of the intersectional fields of religion, economics, the environment, and animals through writing and publication

With eight years of investment made towards my doctoral to date, I have about one and a half years to finish the program.  The steps include: completing one comprehensive exam, defending it, creating a dissertation proposal, dissertation writing, and the final dissertation defense. Most of the preparatory research in developing my topic focus in the interdisciplinary field of religion, ecofeminism, environment, economics, and animals has already been completed. However, there are many “hoops” in the American liberal arts doctoral programs for which I will need to be enrolled each semester in order to complete.

The support I am seeking is $9,500 is to cover the tuition for the academic year 2017-2018.  To cover my other expenses, I will continue consulting on two new exciting nonprofit start-ups: a global farm animal sanctuaries alliance and a national economics education delegation program. I appreciate whatever contribution you are able to make toward this goal, from the largest to the smallest. Your material support is invaluable in making this possible, as is your moral support and encouragement. I’m deeply grateful to have such an extraordinary community of friends.

I’m acutely aware, perhaps more so due to my background in social work, of the privilege I have had in pursuing liberal arts doctoral work in the United States. I understand that there are many worthy, competing needs for people’s resources. I can offer a promise that I will use all of your resources provided to me for the completion of this doctorate in continued service to the world, and to provide this service with heart, compassion, and intelligence.

Your support in this endeavor, one that I have dedicated the majority of the past decade to, is appreciated beyond words. Please write to me or call me directly if you have any questions about anything that I can clarify.

In gratitude,


Eileen M. Harrington, MA MDiv PhD Studies
[email redacted]


Following a successful career in social work and nonprofit management, including leadership positions at United Way, Catholic Community Services, the City of Seattle, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of King County, I left to pursue academics and graduate school in 1995. After receiving dual Master’s Degrees in Religion, Social Justice, and Ecofeminism (M.Div.) and Celtic Christianity (MA) at the Pacific School of Religion, I went to University of Wales, Lampeter on a full doctoral fellowship in Celtic Studies. Right before I set foot in Europe, the attacks of 9/11 occurred.  This world-altering event caused me to question my doctoral studies in Britain. I decided that increased public service was needed and my Ph.D. studies should reflect this. I returned to the GTU in 2002 and switched the focus of my Ph.D. studies to the interlinked fields of religion, ecofeminism, economics, and environmental ethics. 

During my eight years of doctoral work, I won three Newhall Teaching Awards and a Mayer Scholarship for social and environmental academic achievement. In addition, I helped co-found the Theological Roundtable for Ecological Ethics and Spirituality (TREES), a student-led, faculty-supported effort that inspired much of the growth of religion and ecology studies in Universities across the United States. TREES created a national conference on religion and the environment, a partnership with Templeton Religion and Science national initiatives, and a partnership with the Natural Resources Department at University of California, Berkeley (UCB) leading to the creation of the first joint GTU-UCB Natural Resources Department classes, and a number of religion and ecology classes taught at the GTU and around the country. I also was chosen to teach Environmental Ethics and Religion and the Environment at the University of San Francisco.

Like most students at the GTU, I used government student loans for tuition. But unlike most of the doctoral students, I personally worked for the costs of all my living expenses. Unlike UCB, the GTU did not and still does not have the funding for full fellowships for its students thus the majority of students, regardless of their academic achievement, must fund the entire program themselves through student loans, family, friends, and work. The program is designed for full-time, non-working (outside of teaching) students, as most Ivy League universities’ Ph.D. programs are structured.

I have spent the last seven years volunteering and working in leadership roles with many human service and animal education and rescue organizations. In the past five years, I have worked for Farm Sanctuary (yes, the one Jon and Tracy Stewart just joined with their own Sanctuary in New Jersey), co-founded Northern California Animal Advocacy Coalition, and co-founded Northern California Farm Animal Sanctuary Alliance. As mentioned above, I will continue to consult with two start-up organizations while earning my doctorate, both of which I hope to work for in some capacity after I graduate. In addition, I plan to return to teaching as adjunct faculty at an institution that values intelligent and compassionate service to the world.


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Eileen M. Harrington 
Berkeley, CA
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