Dr. Kwasi Yirenkyi received his PhD in Sociology of Religion and Religious Studies from the University of Pittsburgh in 1984. He joined the Indiana University of Pennsylvania faculty in 1986 and was a full professor in the Religious Studies Department.
Kwasi’s research interests included religion and politics, charismatic churches, and religion and immigrant congregations.
He published several book chapters and journal articles on church and political development, the charismatic churches, the church and modernization, African ethics, personhood, and development, and co-wrote a book chapter on atheism and secularity in
Ghana. Among the courses he taught were African Religions; American Religious Development; Christianity, Religion, and Culture: Their Interaction; and World Scriptures.
Kwasi served as coordinator of the Pan African Studies minor program.
Kwasi was a native of Ghana and an ordained Presbyterian clergyman. He is survived by his wife, Rose, and his sons, Kwasi, Jr. and Asanti.
This brief synopsis of his career, however, does no justice to the richness of Kwasi’s life or to the contributions he made to the Religious Studies Department and to IUP. Kwasi was a generous mentor, a loyal friend, a peacemaker, and the moral compass of our department. His kindness is as important to remember as are his professional accomplishments. We miss him dearly and are grateful to have had the chance
to work with and learn from him.
Upon his death in 2016, the department instituted a scholarship in his honor. The first awardee in 2018 was Austin Marsico.
See photos of
Yirenkyi’s retirement celebrations.