September 2020 – A global pandemic has not deterred those destined to follow their calling.
Drew Theological School’s incoming class of 147 students, which represents 4 continents, 20 countries and 22 states, is the largest class in decades.
Acting Dean Melanie Johnson-DeBaufre welcomes the new students—from as close as Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Vermont, and as far as Colombia, Nigeria, South Korea and Ghana. “Our world desperately needs courageous leaders and communities of faith to answer—in word and action—the worldwide rise in racism, economic inequality and authoritarian political regimes,” said Johnson-DeBaufre of the incoming class. “To be a part of the Drew learning community is to bring your context, creativity and calling to the work of advancing God’s love and justice for such a time as this.”
The Theological School, a leader in innovation, has years of experience with virtual face-to-face learning—previously offering video conference-based courses to accommodate working students. The addition of self-paced courses has been beneficial for many international students and enrollment has increased over 20% since 2019.
“I came to Drew because the environment is vibrant, it’s diverse and they are advanced in terms of technology. I came to Drew because I realized their mission as a university goes in hand with my dream of becoming a peace and justice advocate."
“I came to Drew because the environment is vibrant, it’s diverse and they are advanced in terms of technology,” said incoming Master of Divinity student Felistas Mahachi from Zimbabwe. “I came to Drew because I realized their mission as a university goes in hand with my dream of becoming a peace and justice advocate.”
“I believe that Drew’s heritage will enable me to expand my views and provide a deeper theological world,” said Master of Divinity student Jung Hyun Woo of South Korea.
Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible Kenneth Ngwa teaches first-year course Transforming Theologies to the incoming students. “The Theological School has always prided itself on its global and international reach and outreach. With this incoming class, the School is enriched in new ways for the kind of transformative education that is a part of its mission,” said Ngwa. “The world is rising up to the challenges of the time, and the Theological School is excited to help shape, inspire and lead that response.”
The traditional signing of the 150-year-old matriculation book ceremony is planned to take place this spring in Craig Chapel.