Drew Theological School Celebrates Scholarly Excellence

Over 50 prizes were awarded at the annual Honors Convocation service

May 2023 – Scholarly excellence, progressive leadership, and unwavering service were celebrated at Drew Theological School’s annual Honors Convocation.

Over 50 prizes were awarded during a lively ceremony in Craig Chapel, also livestreamed for those unable to attend in-person.

The ceremony included two student-presented awards to the Theological School’s faculty and staff. The Graduate Division of Religion presented Michael Anderson, PhD candidate and program assistant at the Theological School, with the Maxine Clarke Beach Excellence in Service Award and Gladson Jathanna, assistant professor of the history of Christianities, with the Karen McCarthy Brown Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Theological School Dean Edwin David Aponte recognized the students’ academic achievement. “What we do here at Theo is very important. Your service and achievement here is known far and wide. The awards and prizes are made possible by the faithful investment of those who came before us.”

Theological School faculty presented the awards to the students. “You don’t make choosing prizes easy,” said Stephen Moore, Edmund S. Janes Professor of New Testament Studies. “Too many of you are exceptional.”


Mead Hall Study Circle Prize – Maeve Perrin, Jean Park
Originated in 1926. For the woman student who achieves the best academic record in her first year of study.

Maxine Clarke Beach Leadership Prize for Outstanding Academic Achievement – Tzu Yu Lin, Erin Parks
Awarded for academic excellence by a PhD student in coursework.

Maxine Clarke Beach Prize for the Outstanding Student Teacher – Yajenlemla
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 – Lerato Pitso
Awarded for overall academic excellence and creativity in feminist scholarship to a woman student.

The Frederick Buechner Prize for Excellence in Preaching – Pyoungkang Kim, David Gaitan
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 Prizes are established thanks to a gift to Drew from the Frederick Buechner Institute.

The Frederick Buechner Prize for Excellence in Writing – Catey Miller
This prize is named in honor of the writer, preacher, and theologian Frederick Buechner, and recognizes excellence in writing.

Rev. Dr. Joyce Bailey Award for All Around Excellence – Esther Inuwa
Established this year in honor of the 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.


Bernhard Anderson Prize for Excellence in Leadership – Jack Tironi, Adrian Mendoza
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.

Henry L. Lambdin Prize for Excellence in Pastoral Leadership – Woo Lim Kwak
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 PrizeMarybeth Doctor, Christian Taylor
Awarded annually to a student who shows great promise for success in town and country ministry.

Jasper and Ann Steele Prize – Domingos Fernando, Roeline Ramirez
Awarded to a student who demonstrates potential for ministry in a multicultural community.

Class of 1956 Dr. Franz Hildebrandt Award – Grace Losso Modla, Natalie Palacio
Established by the Theological School Class of 1956 to honor the inspired teaching of Franz Hildebrandt, visiting professor of Christian theology from 1953 to 1967. Awarded to outstanding students who have exemplified Dr. Hildebrandt’s qualities by combining deep faith and excellence in theological studies with effective ministry as an intern in a field education assignment leading to the MDiv.

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

Robert Duncan Sr. PrizeAdrian Bruder, Yeeun Kim

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 Mark McCombs Endowed Prize – Dee Jackson, Dannette Coston
Awarded to a Drew student who embodies Mark McCombs’ commitment to the church, family, and the Theological School community.

AfriSCaD Alumni Prize – Felistas Mahachi

Established in 2023. Awarded to an African Theological Student who has shown outstanding communal engagement both at campus and in the community at large.

Biblical Studies

Clarence Tucker Craig Prize in Biblical Studies – Woo Lim Kwak
Established by the class of 1955 to honor the former dean and awarded to the graduating MDiv candidate who has excelled in this field.

Lawrence E. Toombs Prize in Old Testament – Lerato Pitso
For a student who has excelled in this area.

F.J. Yetter Prize – Morris Lucky, Adrian Mendoza
Awarded to a seminary student excelling in the Old Testament.

George R. Warren Memorial Prize – John Bergen, Rebecca Maiko
Endowed in 1985 by family in memory of George R. Warren T’28. Awarded to a graduating student for outstanding New Testament scholarship.

Church History

Robert Jehu Bull Prize – Prumeh Lee
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 to the graduating student with the best record in church history.


Annin Memorial Prize in Theology – Woo Lim Kwak
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 – Dongjun Lee
Established in 1956 by Robert R. Diefendorf, 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 – Roeline Ramirez, Melissa McHenry
Originated in 1914. For excellence in hymn and scripture reading. Open to graduating MDiv candidates.

John Heston Willey Prize – Domingos Fernando
Originated in 1920. Presented to the student who excels in pulpit oratory and manner.

Rev. William L. D. Lyght T’33 Prize – Guylain Yumba

Rev. William L. D. Lyght T’33 Prize – Guylain Yumba
Endowed in 2014 by Bishop Ernest S. Lyght T’68 in loving memory of his late father, The Rev. William L.D. Lyght T’33. Awarded to a pan-African student for excellence in preaching.

Lester Berenbroick Award in Church Music – HaYoung Kang
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.

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

Dean Anne B. Yardley Prize for Hospitality through the ArtsPyeonghwa Lim
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 who enriches and enhances the Theological School community by building hospitality through artistic expression.

Alfred B. Haas Prize – Jene Lee
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 a student who has made a significant contribution to the worship life of the Theological School.

Order of St. Luke-Hoyt Hickman Award – Adrian Mendoza
Awarded for excellence in liturgical studies.


Edwards-Mercer Prize – Tsz Him Lai
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.

Helen LePage and William Hale Chamberlain Prize – Luke Grote
Established by Joan Chamberlain Engelsman G’77 and endowed in 2001 in her memory by her husband Ralph G. Englesman. Awarded annually for the PhD dissertation that is singularly distinguished by creative thought and excellent prose style.

Robert J. Duncan Jr. Prize – Stephen Rhoads
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 Doctor of Ministry concentration. Awarded to a Doctor of Ministry student whose project thesis is singularly distinguished by creativity and innovative use of technology.

Daniel P. Kidder Prize – Tirzah Turner
Awarded for the best academic work in practical theology. This year awarded to a graduating Doctor of Ministry student.

The Priscilla Patten Benham Prize in Dissertation Research – abby mohaupt, JungAe Kim, Jennifer Maidrand
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 in Drew Theological School for expenses associated with dissertation research.


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