University of Southern California
University of Southern California
Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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News and Events

Chan Division News

Varun Soni to keynote 2018 commencement

, in General News

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By Bryan Kang MA ’18

Photo by Michael Owen Baker/USC

Photo by Michael Owen Baker/USC

Varun Soni, USC’s Vice Provost for Campus Wellness and Crisis Intervention and the Dean of Religious Life, will deliver the keynote address at USC Chan’s 2018 commencement ceremony on May 11.

In his role as Vice Provost, Soni has been a leader in promoting wellness for USC’s campus communities including faculty, staff and the undergraduate and graduate student bodies. Soni champions effective mental health and wellness services, harm-reduction initiatives and prevention strategies — including Lifestyle Redesign services offered through the USC Occupational Therapy Faculty Practice — for improving the health and wellness of the Trojan community.

As Dean of Religious Life, Soni coordinates spiritual and scholarly resources to foster moral and ethical leadership throughout the university. He works with more than 90 student religious groups, and oversees community service initiatives as well as events dedicated to exploring religion and spirituality.

Prior to his service at USC, Soni received his bachelor’s degree in religion with a minor in Asian studies from Tufts University. He received a Master of Theological Studies degree at Harvard Divinity School and a master’s degree in religious studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Soni also earned his J.D. degree from the UCLA School of Law, and his Ph.D. degree through the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Cape Town with research focusing on religion and pop culture. 

With a wide-ranging background in religious studies, Soni is recognized as a national interfaith leader, critically acclaimed author and prolific public speaker who looks to deepen understandings of religion and foster unity on a broader scale.

The 2018 commencement ceremony for the USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy will begin at 11 a.m. at Leavey Library West on USC’s University Park Campus.