Colonel Barbara Putnam was granted an honorary Doctor of Divinity by Acadia University during the Faculty of Theology, Faculty of Arts, and School of Education Convocation ceremony on Sunday, May 8, 2022, in recognition of her leadership and service as a Canadian Armed Forces Chaplain.
Passionate about diversity, inclusion, and belonging in the workplace, Col. Putnam currently serves as a Senior Defence Representative in the Restorative Engagement program within the Canadian Armed Forces. In this role, she supports affected persons as they share their experiences of sexual misconduct and its impact on their lives and careers. Entrusted with these stories, Col. Putnam works with the Defense Team leadership to build a respectful institutional culture.
In her address to the Class of 2022, Col. Putnam spoke of the power of a diverse and inclusive community. A university degree is a useful tool in addressing the world’s complex problems, but community is the multiplier that elevates this knowledge, reason, and experience to achieve more than can be accomplished alone.
A graduate of the Master of Divinity degree program at Acadia Divinity College in 1995, her ministry began as a Baptist pastor, serving in churches throughout Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Her calling led her to the Canadian Armed Forces in 2000 where she has ministered to Canadian Armed Forces personnel both on deployment and at home. Exercising a ministry of presence with members and their families, Chaplain Putnam lives by the motto “called to serve”.
A veteran of the war in Afghanistan, Col. Putnam is the first Baptist Chaplain and first woman to hold the rank of Colonel in the Royal Canadian Chaplain Service. She was awarded the General Campaign Star (Afghanistan), the Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, and the Canadian Decoration (CD). Col. Putnam is the recipient of the 2018 Acadia Divinity College Alumni Distinguished Service Award, and a Top 10 Women in Defence distinction in 2019 from Esprit de Corps Magazine. She is a graduate of the University of New Brunswick (BSc ’92), and of the Canadian Forces College Joint Command and Staff Programme (’11).
Col. Putnam is married to The Reverend Bradford Putnam (’95). They currently live and work in Ottawa.
Read more about Colonel (The Reverend Doctor) Barbara L. Putnam and watch a short video in the Acadia University announcement here.