The Religion Department inaugurated, on an experimental basis, the "Visiting Scholar Seminar" in 1972. Although this experimental program had proven extremely successful, and those students who participated in the program unanimously expressed their wish that it be continued and expanded, the Religion Department did not have sufficient funds to conduct the program in a way which responds adequately to the demand. In 1982, the "Dickinson Fellow Program" was created by a generous gift from Frances Ann & Charles C. Dickinson Jr., Dartmouth class of 1928. In addition to the Dickinson Fellows program, the Dickinson Fund also provides an extraordinary opportunity for the Religion Department to improve its overall teaching and research programs. The members of the Religion Department are very grateful to the Dickinson family and to (then) President David T. McLaughlin, (then) Dean of the Faculty Dwight Lahr, and others for making this fund available.
The Dickinson Distinguished Scholar Seminars continue to be among the most successful of the course offerings in the Religion Department. See also the listing of Dickinson Distinguished Lectures.