Staff Highlight: Dr. Ian Werrett

Shy Yamasaki, Staff Writer

Dr. Ian Werrett became interested in religion when he was a student at Santa Clara University back in the early 90’s. He took a course on New American Religions covering Wicca, Scientology, Mormonism and the Jehovah’s Witnesses, which struck  his interest more. “I love that religion is both about us [humanity] and not about us,” he said. “Although we are its architects and custodians, religion points to something beyond us; to the mysteries of existence. It is the mystery that first interested me in religion. It inspires me, fires my passions and is at the core of who I am as a professor of Religious Studies.” Dr. Werrett stated. In 1994, Dr. Werrett transferred to Saint Martin’s minoring in Religious Studies before going on to graduate school to focus on Biblical Studies and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

In 1999, Dr. Werrett taught his first college course and took this course very seriously for every lecture. When this opportunity ended, his thesis professor said, “Wow, that university must be really desperate. You don’t even have a master’s degree yet!” Dr. Werrett has told that story over the years, as it was a deeply painful and humiliating moment. That moment motivated, shaped and informed him as a professor, a father, and a human being. Dr. Werrett explained  “when you first get into teaching the experience tends to be about you and your ego. And, for some professors, this continues to be the case throughout their entire careers, as it was with my grad school advisor.” 

Dr. Werrett is a part of the class of ’96 and came back to teach in a place where the most powerful educational experience for him occurred. “A place where the professors took an interest in me as a person and were passionate about their subjects. A school where I could focus, first and foremost, on becoming a successful teacher and advisor,” Dr. Werrett said. Before coming to Saint Martin’s as a professor, Dr. Werrett was a teaching assistant at Trinity Western University (B.C., Canada) and the University of Saint Andrew’s (Scotland). He also taught a course at the University of Washington (Tacoma), the Olympia Senior Center and the Jubilee Community. 

His partner (Luba) and Dr. Werrett have two sons who are their main focus when work isn’t being done.  Dr. Werrett loves traveling and is planning to travel when the pandemic is over with his family. He also enjoys eating (who doesn’t?), gardening, working on different projects around the house, singing, playing the guitar and working on his car.

Lastly, Dr. Werrett at one point wanted to become a professional soccer player, a sport he played for a while until his knees wouldn’t let him, he said. He was a starting midfielder at two different universities, but sadly didn’t get a call back to play professionally. His dream job has always been to own a winery and/or a bed and breakfast in Napa Valley, Alexander Valley, Sonoma Valley, or Hood River.  

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