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The Reverend Elyse Nelson Winger

University Chaplain


M.Div. The University of Chicago 

Certificate of Studies, The Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago 

B.A. Wellesley College 


The Rev. Elyse Nelson Winger became the University Chaplain at Tufts University in October 2020. Reporting to the Office of the President, she leads the University Chaplaincy team in supporting all religious, spiritual, and philosophical life on Tufts' four campuses; educates about spiritual and ethical issues in society and the world; and coordinates spiritual care, multifaith initiatives, and strategic partnerships around the university and beyond. In 2021, she launched the Interfaith Ambassador Program. This team of undergraduate students actively fosters interfaith community with curiosity about the lived experiences of people with diverse religious, spiritual, and philosophical identities and creates spaces to facilitate learning, dialogue and action. Students join planning teams for key signature events including Pax et Lux and the MLK Day of Community Action, work alongside staff and faculty in the development of the new religious diversity and civic life program sponsored by Tisch College for Civic Life, the Religion Department and the University Chaplaincy, and create and host their own events related to faith, community, and justice.      

Elyse is the University Chaplaincy liaison to the Office of Student Life, Tisch College for Civic Life, the Department of Religion, the Office of Equal Opportunity, the Office of Residential Life and Learning's Residential Life Coordinator (RLC) team, and the Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice.  

Rev. Nelson Winger is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and has served congregations in Cairo, Egypt, Dearborn, Michigan and Bloomington, Illinois.  Before coming to Tufts, Rev. Nelson Winger served as Associate Dean of Students and Chaplain at Illinois Wesleyan University. She has served as a committee or board member for numerous faith-based and non-profit organizations, including nine years of service on the Board of Directors for Lutheran Social Services of Illinois.