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Drew Theological School Celebrates Student Achievement

48 students earned awards at the annual Honors Convocation

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Interim Dean Melanie Johnson-DeBaufre and the in-person student award recipients

April 2022 – Scholarly excellence, dynamic leadership, and dedicated service were celebrated at Drew Theological School’s Honors Convocation.

Forty-eight students were awarded prizes during a ceremony in Craig Chapel, also livestreamed for those unable to attend in-person.

“These prizes are endowed and named to recognize people who have made a difference in the life of the Theological School,” said Interim Dean Melanie Johnson-DeBaufre. To carry on that tradition, she asked the students to reflect on a person who has provided support in assisting their paths and invited everyone to honor “those in our lives who have made a difference for us.”

The ceremony included two student-presented awards to the Theological School’s faculty and staff. The Graduate Division of Religion presented Johnson-DeBaufre with the Maxine Clarke Beach Excellence in Service Award and Minjung Noh, assistant professor of transnational Christianity and gender studies, with the Karen McCarthy Brown Award for Excellence in Teaching.

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Mark Miller leads the community in song

“There are achievements for which there are no prizes,” said Traci West, James W. Pearsall Professor of Christian Ethics and African American Studies. “From the faculty, we honor you for the ways in which you have honored us. You showed up to write, study, learn, grow, and dare to be stretched in ways you never thought you could. You have changed our lives because of the amazing ways in which you have come to our classes and been our mentees—we celebrate you for the honor of having had the chance to journey with you here at Drew.”

Johnson-DeBaufre recognized the many achievements of the graduating Class of 2022. Nine PhD students have successfully defended their dissertations; several master’s students have been accepted into prestigious PhD programs throughout the country or have received congregational appointments or new opportunities in ministry near and far.

Achievement

MEAD HALL STUDY CIRCLE PRIZE – CHRISTY MILLER, LERATO PITSO

Originated in 1926. For the woman student who achieves an excellent academic record in her first year of study.

MAXINE CLARKE BEACH LEADERSHIP PRIZE FOR OUTSTANDING ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT IN COURSEWORK – HUNTER EDWARDS, ELIZABETH QUICK, WEIZHEN CHEN

Awarded for academic excellence in coursework by a PhD student.

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Professor Laurel Kearns presents award to Leah Wandera

MAXINE CLARKE BEACH LEADERSHIP PRIZE FOR OUTSTANDING ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT IN COMPREHENSIVE EXAMS – HUNTER BRAGG, JULIAN COOK

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

MAXINE CLARKE BEACH LEADERSHIP PRIZE FOR OUTSTANDING STUDENT-TEACHER – EUNCHUL JUNG

Awarded to a PhD student who has demonstrated exceptional ability, dedication, and promise as a teacher through their outstanding service as a student-teacher.

PATRICIA WICKHAM PRIZE IN FEMINIST SCHOLARSHIP – PRUMEH LEE

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 MA curriculum.

FREDERICK BUECHNER PRIZE FOR EXCELLENCE IN PREACHING – KITA JEAN MARC MUTWALE

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.

FREDERICK BUECHNER PRIZE FOR EXCELLENCE IN WRITING – DANIELLA HOBBS, SARAH WILLIAMS

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.

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The ceremony took place in Craig Chapel

REV. DR. JOYCE BAILEY AWARD FOR ALL AROUND EXCELLENCE – JANET OKANG

Established in honor of Rev. Dr. Joyce Bailey, the first Caribbean and Black scholar in Christian Education at the Theological School. Awarded to an international or U.S. student of color who excels in both academics and community life, and who demonstrates commitment and growth in the social justice values of the Theological School.

Leadership 

CLASS OF 1959 BERNHARD ANDERSON PRIZE FOR EXCELLENCE IN LEADERSHIP – EUNJI LEE, JENE LEE

Endowed in 2009 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.

HENRY L. LAMBDIN PRIZE FOR EXCELLENCE IN PASTORAL LEADERSHIP – BARBARA MONAHAN, LEAH WANDERA

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

ALTON RAYNOR PRIZE – ADRIAN MENDOZA, JUSTIN SPANO

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 – PAOLA MARQUEZ, STEPHANOSE MELAKU

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

CLASS OF 1956 FRANZ HILDEBRANDT PRIZE PATRCIAN HENNIGAN, LABENYIMOH PATRICK

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. 

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Professor Traci West congratulates Hunter Edwards and Elizabeth Quick

REV. DR. CLAYTON Z. MILLER T’59,’75 PRIZE – THURSELLE CHISOLM-WILLIAMS

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. 

ROBERT DUNCAN, SR. PRIZE – ANDREW MAGGS, EULYNIS MATTIAS-FRIDIE

Established in 2011 by Rev. Dr. Robert Duncan Jr., T’83,‘99, to honor his father, Rev. Dr. Robert Duncan Sr. T’59,‘71,‘01. Awarded annually to a United Methodist student pursuing their MDiv who shows exceptional promise for pastoral ministry.

MARK MCCOMBS PRIZE – DEMETRISHA BARNES

Established by the Theological School Class of 2014 to honor a Drew student who embodies Mark McCombs’ commitment to the church, his family, and the Theological School community.

Biblical Studies

LAWRENCE E. TOOMBS PRIZE IN OLD TESTAMENT HISTORY – NATHAN BLACKWELL

For a student who has excelled in this area. 

F.J. YETTER PRIZE – DANIELLA HOBBS

Awarded to a seminary student who has excelled in the study of the Old Testament.

NEWTON DAVIES GREEK NEW TESTAMENT PRIZE – CALEB CRIPE

Established in honor of the late professor of New Testament J. Newton Davies. Presented to a first-year student with great promise for New Testament studies.

GEORGE R. WARREN MEMORIAL PRIZE – DENISE THOMAS

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

Church History 

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A congratulatory hug

ROBERT JEHU BULL PRIZE – KARA SONG

Endowed in 1996 by Dr. Henry O. Thompson T’58, G’64, a dedicated alum leader, and other alums 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 a strong record in church history.

Theology

ANNIN MEMORIAL PRIZE IN THEOLOGY – SEONJIL JEON

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

Preaching, Worship, and the Arts

DORR DIEFENDORF AWARD – PAULINE NIJANDER

Established in 1956 by Robert R. Diefendorft, and endowed by family and friends in honor of Dorr Diefendorf, Theological School graduate and professor of practical theology and applied Christianity. Awarded for excellence in homiletics.

GEORGE R. CROOKS PRIZE – BRIGID DWYER

Established in 1914. For excellence in hymn and scripture reading.

JOHN HESTON WILLEY PRIZE – SAEBUEK LEE

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

REV. WILLIAM L.D. LYGHT T’33 PRIZE – REBECCA MAIKO, LABENYIMOH PATRICK

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 an African American or international student from the Methodist tradition for excellence in preaching.

LESTER BERENBROICK AWARD IN CHURCH MUSIC – HYERIM YU

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.

FELLOWSHIP SEMINARIAN AWARD – WOO LIM KWAK, DAVID GAITAN

Presented annually by the Fellowship to a student who displays outstanding leadership in music and/or worship arts.

ALFRED B. HAAS PRIZE – ELIZABETH QUICK

Established in 2006 by the Theological School Class of 1957, and endowed in 2008, to honor the inspired 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 coursework in the area of liturgics.

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Families were invited to join in the celebration

ORDER OF ST. LUKE-HOYT HICKMAN AWARD – ISAAC GARRIGUES-CORTELYOU

Awarded for excellence in liturgical studies.

DEAN ANNE B. YARDLEY PRIZE FOR HOSPITALITY THROUGH THE ARTS – TAYLAVOR FUGATE

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.

Doctoral Research

HELEN LEPAGE AND WILLIAM HALE CHAMBERLAIN PRIZE – LAUREN SAWYER

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.

REVEREND ROBERT W. EDGAR FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE – DESMOND COLEMAN

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.

RABBI DR. SHELDON J. WELTMAN PRIZE FOR EXCELLENCE IN BIBLICAL STUDIES – BRIAN TIPTON, DONG SUNG KIM

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

ROBERT J. DUNCAN JR. PRIZE – LYDIA MUNOZ

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.

DANIEL P. KIDDER PRIZE – SEUNG KWON JANG, ZULINE WILKINSON

Awarded for excellence in practical theology.

NEWS FROM DREW THEOLOGICAL SCHOOL

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