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Drew Theological School Honors Students

39 students earn awards.

May 2019 – Scholarly excellence, dynamic leadership and dedicated service were celebrated at Drew Theological School’s Honors Convocation.

“This is the faculty’s opportunity to recognize excellence in our students’ work and the promise of their contributions to the life of the church and/or the academy,” said Javier Viera, vice provost and dean of the Theological School.

Before conferring prizes, Associate Dean Melanie Johnson-DeBaufre stressed the importance of recognizing and honoring names—both in the titles of the awards and of the recipients.

A total of 39 students earned awards this year.

“Honors Convocation is always a special night, and I was proud to be recognized among classmates who are doing fascinating and important work in scholarship and in ministry,” said Olivia Cunningham DiAgostino T’19, who earned four honors.

Leadership

BERNHARD ANDERSON PRIZE – LEIF MCLELLAN

Endowed by the Theological School Class of 1959 to honor the inspired leadership and teaching of the late professor of biblical theology Bernhard W. Anderson, dean of the Theological School from 1954 to 1963.

DONALD K. BAXTER PRIZE FOR DREW COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT – OLIVIA CUNNINGHAM DIAGOSTINO

Established in 2015 by Mrs. Christine J. Baxter in memory of her late husband, Donald K. Baxter, a deeply engaged community fellow at Drew Theological School. Awarded annually to a graduating Theological School student from any of the degree programs who has made the most of his or her entire Drew experience, by fully engaging in the richly diverse range of events and activities on campus.

HENRY L. LAMBDIN PRIZE FOR EXCELLENCE IN PASTORAL LEADERSHIP – MARK SALVACION

Endowed in 1989 by friends and colleagues to honor former faculty member Henry Lambdin T’14,’35. Awarded for excellence in pastoral leadership.

THE REVEREND FLORENCE SPEARING RANDOLPH PRIZE – KATHERINE MYERS

Awarded to a graduating African American woman student who demonstrates powerful preaching skills and potential outstanding pastoral leadership.

ALTON RAYNOR PRIZE – ZAYZAY KPADEH

Established in 1998. Awarded annually to a second-year student who shows great promise for success in town and country ministry.

JASPER AND ANN STEELE PRIZE – YEON SHIN, EUNJI LEE, YESENIA PALOMINO

Endowed by Jasper and Ann Steele in 1994. For a student who demonstrates potential for ministry in a multicultural community.

DEAN ANNE B. YARDLEY PRIZE FOR HOSPITALITY THROUGH THE ARTS – ABIGAIL MOHAUPT

Established by the Class of 2011 to celebrate Dr. Yardley’s leadership, her dedication to the arts and her commitment to fostering hospitality in the Drew community. Awarded to a Theological School student in any degree program who enriches and enhances the Theological School community by building hospitality through artistic expression.

Special Achievement

MAXINE CLARKE BEACH LEADERSHIP PRIZE FOR OUTSTANDING ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT IN COURSEWORK – O’NEIL VAN HORN

Awarded for academic excellence in coursework by a PhD student.

MAXINE CLARKE BEACH LEADERSHIP PRIZE FOR OUTSTANDING ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT IN COMPREHENSIVE EXAMS – LUKE GROTE AND LISA ASEDILLO PRATT

Awarded to a PhD student who has completed the comprehensive exams with exceptional academic distinction.

MAXINE CLARKE BEACH LEADERSHIP PRIZE FOR OUTSTANDING STUDENT-TEACHER – LAUREN SAWYER

Awarded to a PhD student who has demonstrated exceptional ability, dedication and promise as a teacher.

THE FREDERICK BUECHNER PRIZE FOR EXCELLENCE IN PREACHING – MICHAEL SNIFFEN

This prize is named in honor of the writer, preacher and theologian Frederick Buechner, and recognizes excellence in preaching and public proclamation of the Gospel. The Buechner Prize was established thanks to a gift to Drew from the Frederick Buechner Institute.

THE FREDERICK BUECHNER PRIZE FOR EXCELLENCE IN WRITING – OLIVIA CUNNINGHAM DIAGOSTINO

This prize is named in honor of the writer, preacher and theologian Frederick Buechner, and recognizes excellence in writing. The Buechner Prize was established thanks to a gift to Drew from the Frederick Buechner Institute.

FRANZ HILDEBRANDT PRIZE – GEORGE DREDDEN AND BRINNA KOLITZ

Established by the Class of 1956 for an outstanding student who has exemplified Dr. Hildebrandt’s qualities by combining deep faith and excellence in theological studies with effective ministry as an intern or pastor in a field education assignment leading to the MDiv degree.

MEAD HALL STUDY CIRCLE PRIZE – KAREN MANCINELLI-PAIGE AND JANELLE GAYLE

Awarded to a woman student who has achieved an excellent record in her first year.

THE REV. DR. CLAYTON Z. MILLER T’59, ’75 PRIZE – HA YOUNG KANG

Endowed in 2013 by the Rev. Dr. Clayton Z. Miller T’59, ’75. Awarded to a Theological School student who has excelled in supervised ministry and shows great promise for congregational clergy leadership.

PATRICIA WICKHAM PRIZE IN FEMINIST SCHOLARSHIP – HA YOUNG KANG

Endowed in 1992 by family and friends in memory of Patricia Wickham T’89. Awarded for overall academic excellence and creativity in feminist/womanist scholarship to a woman student who has completed two-thirds of the MDiv or three-quarters of the MA curriculum.

Biblical Studies

CLARENCE TUCKER CRAIG PRIZE IN BIBLICAL STUDIES – OLIVIA CUNNINGHAM DIAGOSTINO

Established by the Class of 1955 to honor the former dean and awarded to the graduating MDiv candidate who has excelled in this field.

J. NEWTON DAVIES GREEK NEW TESTAMENT PRIZE – ERIK SIMON

Awarded to the first-year student who has excelled in New Testament studies. Established in honor of the late Professor of New Testament J. Newton Davies.

JOHN PATERSON OLD TESTAMENT STUDIES PRIZE – JOSHUA TURPIN

Endowed by family and friends in memory of John Paterson, professor of Hebrew and Old Testament from 1931–1957. Awarded to the first-year student of greatest promise in Old Testament studies.

LAWRENCE E. TOOMBS PRIZE IN OLD TESTAMENT HISTORY – MARISSA VAN DER VALK

For a student who has excelled in this area.

GEORGE R. WARREN MEMORIAL PRIZE – HA YOUNG KANG

Endowed in 1985 by family in memory of George R. Warren T’28. Awarded for outstanding New Testament scholarship.

F.J. YETTER PRIZE – SHARON WILLIAMS

Awarded to a seminary student of the Old Testament.

Church History

ROBERT JEHU BULL PRIZE – OLIVIA CUNNINGHAM DIAGOSTINO AND LAURA QUACKENBUSH-STEELE

Endowed in 1996 by Dr. Henry O. Thompson T’58, G’64, a dedicated alumni leader, and other alumni and friends of Drew, in honor of Dr. Robert J. Bull, professor of church history and archaeology emeritus, who brought church history to life for more than three decades of students by leading the excavation at Caesarea Maritima. Awarded annually to the graduating student with the best record in church history.

Theology

ANNIN MEMORIAL PRIZE IN THEOLOGY – KURT HOUWEN

Endowed in 2005 by Anne V. Annin T’00, in memory of William E. and David E. Annin. Awarded to graduating students in the MDiv program who have displayed both interest and excellence in theology.

THE DANIEL P. KIDDER PRIZE – SEUNG JIN HONG AND MARISSA VAN DER VALK

Awarded for the best academic record in practical theology.

Music, Preaching and Worship

LESTER BERENBROICK AWARD IN CHURCH MUSIC – SERMONE FRINK

Established in 2005 by Leary Anna Murphy in honor of Lester Berenbroick’s contributions, over many years, to the teaching of church music at Drew. Awarded to a student who has completed the second year of theological education.

GEORGE R. CROOKS PRIZE – ANN-MARIE BROWN

Established in 1914 and awarded to a graduating MDiv candidate for excellence in hymn and Scripture reading.

DORR DIEFENDORF AWARD – SEJEONG PARK

Established in honor of Dorr Diefendorf, Theological School graduate and professor of practical theology and applied Christianity. Awarded for excellence in homiletics.

FELLOWSHIP SEMINARIAN AWARD – TODD MCCABE

Awarded to a graduating seminary student who displays outstanding leadership in music and/or worship arts.

REV. WILLIAM L.D. LYGHT T’33 PRIZE – KAMELLAH MARSH

Endowed in 2014 by Bishop Ernest S. Lyght T’68 in loving memory of his late father, Rev. William L.D. Lyght T’33. Awarded to a Drew Theological School student for excellence in preaching who is in good academic standing, with a preference for African American students from the United Methodist tradition and a secondary preference for students from the Pan Methodist tradition.

ALFRED B. HAAS PRIZE – LEIF MCLELLAN AND EUNTAIK LEE

Established in 2006 by the Theological School Class of 1957 to honor the teaching of Alfred B. Haas T’36, G’46, associate professor of practical theology from 1944 to 1968. Awarded to students in the MDiv program who have made significant contributions to the worship life of the Theological School and pursued advanced coursework in the area of liturgics.

THE ORDER OF ST. LUKE-HOYT HICKMAN AWARD – TODD MCCABE

Awarded for excellence in liturgical studies. 

JOHN HESTON WILLEY PRIZE – JASON MITCHELL AND YESENIA PALOMINO

Originated in 1920. Presented to the student who excels in pulpit oratory and manner.

Doctoral Research

THE PRISCILLA PATTEN BENHAM PRIZE IN DISSERTATION RESEARCH – SIMEIQI HE

Established in 2011 by Leary Anna Murphy in memory of Priscilla Patten Benham G’76. Awarded to PhD candidates of the Graduate Division of Religion for expenses associated with dissertation research.

HELEN LEPAGE AND WILLIAM HALE CHAMBERLAIN PRIZE – JACOB ERICKSON

Established by Joan Chamberlain Engelsman G’77 and endowed in 2001 in memory of her husband, Ralph G. Engelsman. Awarded annually for the PhD dissertation that is singularly distinguished by creative thought and excellent prose style.

ROBERT J. DUNCAN JR. PRIZE – RENEE PISTONE

Endowed in 2006 by the Reverend Dr. Robert J. Duncan Sr. T’59,’71,’01 and Dorothy Duncan, to honor their son, the Reverend Dr. Robert J. Duncan Jr. T’83,’99, the first graduate of Drew Theological School’s Global/Online DMin concentration. Awarded to a student in the Global/Online concentration or its successor programs whose project thesis is singularly distinguished by creativity and innovative use of technology.

REVEREND ROBERT W. EDGAR FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE – TEJAI BEULAH

Established by Robert W. Edgar T’68 as an expression of his affection for Drew University and his deep concern for social justice. Awarded to students pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy degree in the Graduate Division of Religion whose work connects the academy with the religious, cultural and sociopolitical realities and challenges of the larger world, and whose dissertation is distinguished by outstanding transdisciplinary scholarship related to social justice issues.

EDWARDS-MERCER PRIZE – LISA ASEDILLO PRATT

Endowed in 1998 by Juanita Edwards-Mercer and her family to honor Mrs. Mercer’s mother, Alpha Duncan Edwards. Awarded to a PhD candidate for travel expenses associated with religion-related dissertation research.

RABBI DR. SHELDON J. WELTMAN PRIZE FOR EXCELLENCE IN BIBLICAL STUDIES – AMY CHASE AND PETER MCLELLAN

Endowed in 1992 by the estate of Rabbi Weltman G’80,’90. Awarded for the best thesis or dissertation in biblical studies.

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