Alumni in Academics: Leaf Seligman ’73

Nancy Keen Palmer-Gift ’03
Leaf Seligman ’73 juggles many roles. She is a college professor, retired clergy, founder of a nonprofit, and leader of both juvenile and adult court diversion programs. She has both a Master of the Arts in English & Writing from the University of New Hampshire and a Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School; she is an Adjunct Professor at Keene State College and notably sees herself as “a practitioner of life, not a professor of knowledge.”
As a young Ensworth student growing up in the 1970s, she wanted to be Martin Luther King, Jr. She wanted to “preach in the prophetic tradition, be a foot soldier for justice” and write stories “that would stir people to equity and compassion.” By the end of this brief article, you’ll realize she’s already accomplished such and sees no end to her efforts in sight.
 
Upon retiring from congregational ministry work in 2013, she created a course at Keene State College called “Forgiveness and Reconciliation.” It was through this work that she came upon the concept of restorative justice, and it is at the intersection of these two interrelated concepts that her current vocation came calling loud and clear.
 
Her pupils encompass the entire spectrum, from first-year college students to retired adults taking noncredit courses, from first-offense juvenile offenders to men and women, both within and exiting incarceration. Her message of forgiveness and reconciliation packs serious impact: first and foremost, on how they see themselves, next, how they relate to others, and ultimately, how others begin to relate back.
 
Learn more about Leaf’s fascinating approach, her restorative justice work, and nonprofit Monadknock Restorative Community by watching her TEDx Talk: “How Stories Help us Choose Connection.”


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