Alumni Relations

Alumni/ae Relations

Class Notes



  • Julia H. Burkey, M.Div. 2012, has been called as minister to First Church of Christ, Congregational in Middleton, CT.  She is excited by the fact that the church is forward-thinking and has been "open and affirming," welcoming all sexual orientations, since the early 1990s.


  • Brandon K. Allen, M.Div. ’11, was appointed pastor of Agape African Methodist Episcopal Church in Buffalo, NY.
  • Robert K. Bolger, M.A. 2002, has published Kneeling at the Altar of Science: The Mistaken Path of Contemporary Religious Scientism.  He argues that much of the recent writing in science and religion falls prey to the practice of what he calls "religious scientism," or the attempt to use science to explain and clarify religious concepts.  But religious concepts do better when their meaning is found in the context of their religious use, and in the end religious scientism harms rather than helps.
  • G. Jacob Bolton V, M.Div. ’07, was ordained into the Ministry of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA) on January 16, 2011 at Huguenot Memorial Church in Pelham, NY.
  • Norris A. Chumley, M.A. ’02, Ph.D. ’08, directed the documentary “Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer,” which he wrote with John A. McGuckin.  The film was released in early 2011.  Traveling with cameras and crews to ancient lands of peace and solitude, the Very Rev. Dr. John McGuckin, Ane Marie and Bent Emil Nielsen Professor of Byzantine Christian Studies, Union Theological Seminary/Columbia University, and Dr. Norris J. Chumley, a media producer and columnist for Beliefnet, visited hermits, priests and nuns in caves and monasteries to record their use of this ancient mystical prayer. 
  • Claudia De La Cruz, M.Div. ’08, is the founder and executive director of Da Urban Butterflies (DUB), a seven-year-old group which works to empower young women ages 13 to 30 to help them effect change in their community and the world at large.
  • Michael D. Ellick, M.Div. ’00, was recently awarded the Bridge Builder Award by the Rev. Jesse Jackson.  Jackson, president of the Rainbow Push Coalition, presented the award at a ceremony in New York City.  Ellick was honored for his support of the 15th annual Wall Street Project Summit.  He is a minister at Judson Memorial Church.
  • Trevor H. Eppehimer, Ph.D. 2006, has been appointed Associate Academic Dean of Hood Theological Seminary.  He has been Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at Hood Theological Seminary since 2007.  Prior to becoming Associate Academic Dean, he served as Director of the Masters of Theological Studies Program at Hood.
  • Stephen E. Epps, M.Div. ’11, married Lisa D. Robateau on March 23, 2011.  The Rev. Alvin O. Jackson, a Disciples of Christ minister, officiated.
  • Jason R. Ferris, M.Div. ’07, was ordained in October 2011 as minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA), and was installed as pastor of the Old Pine Street Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, PA.
  • Debra W. Haffner, M.Div. 2002, has published Meditations on the Good News: 
    Reading the Bible for Today.  She is an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister, and the co-founder, President and CEO of the Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing, a nonprofit, multifaith organization.
  • Nichelle L. Jenkins, M.Div. ’11, was appointed Director of Admissions & Financial Aid at Union in July 2011.
  • Heidi Lembke Johnston, M.Div. ’11, was ordained by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, and has been called as pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Quincy, MA.
  • Shannon T. L. Kearns, M.Div. 2009, was ordained to the priesthood by the North American Old Catholic Church on January 19, 2013.  Archbishop Michael Seneco presided.  Founded in 2007, the North American Old Catholic Church has a mission of social justice, does not submit to the authority of the Pope, and is open to female and LGBT clergy.
  • Melissa P. Lemons, M.Div. ’08, was ordained on June 25, 2011 and installed as pastor at Friedens Lutheran Church in Stony Run, PA.
  • David T. Lewicki, M.Div. ’04, and Elizabeth C. Waltemath, M.Div. ’04, were appointed co-pastors of North Decatur Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, GA.
  • Eboni K. Marshall, M.Div. ’05, Ph.D. ’10, married Rossie E. Thurman on January 16, 2011.  They were featured in the Vows section of the New York Times.
  • Paul R. Mowry, M.Div. ’08, was ordained on January 29, 2012 as the first openly-gay pastor of Sausalito Presbyterian Church in Sausalito, CA.  Paul’s daughter Ellie, long-time partner Joe Silverman, and sister Judith Mowry attended the ceremony.
  • Nicholas S. Richards, M.Div. 2009, has been appointed Executive Secretary of The Foreign Mission Board of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.  He most recently was an assistant pastor at Abyssinian Baptist Church (NY) under the Rev. Calvin Butts.
  • Chris D. Shelton, M.Div. ’03, became Pastor of the Broadway Presbyterian Church — just a few blocks down the street from Union — in August 2011.
  • Marlene W. Smith, M.Div. ’09, has been hired to manage the newly-created Lonestar Cell MTN Foundation in Liberia.  The Foundation is keyed to social responsibility, caters to the needs of ordinary Liberians, and will serve as a watchdog group to make sure that Corporate Social Responsibilities Investments (CSRI) will be addressed in more sustainable ways, including Education and Health.              
  • Matthew C. Weiner, Ph.D. ’09, who has worked as an interfaith organizer for 20 years, was named associate dean of religious life at Princeton University. His appointment was effective September 1, 2011.
  • Sarah W. Wiles, M.Div.’08, became pastor of Bethany Presbyterian Church in Seattle, WA, in May 2011.


  • Bernice Powell Jackson, M.Div. ’91, was presented with the 2011 Antoinette Brown Award in July, during a Tampa general synod assembly of representatives from the United Church of Christ.  The award is given to ordained women in the UCC ministry who provide outstanding service to their parishes or in other church-related institutions.
  • Wilma T. Jakobsen, S.T.M. 1997, has been installed as Rector at St. Jude's Episcopal Church in Cupertino, CA.  The child of British and Danish immigrants in apartheid-era South Africa, she grew up with a world view of faith paired with social justice.  She was ordained by Archbishop Desmond Tutu as the first female deacon in the diocese of Cape Town in the late 1980s. Later, she worked for Tutu as his chaplain for 19 months. Jakobsen holds dual citizenship in South Africa and the United States.
  • Karen Jones, M.Div. ’97, has been appointed director of pastoral care and education at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, NY. She most recently served as director of field education at Union Theological Seminary in Manhattan overseeing the field education program for the Master of Divinity degree program.
  • Davina C. Lopez, M.A. 1999, Ph.D. 2006, has been tenured and promoted to Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida.
  • Irene Monroe, M.Div. 1990, received the 2012 Spirit of Justice Award from Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) at the 13th annual Spirit of Justice Award Dinner on Friday, October 26, 2012 at the Boston Marriott Copley Hotel.   A nationally renowned African American lesbian activist, scholar and public theologian, Monroe was honored for her contributions to the advancement of equality for LGBT people.
  • Susan A. Moran, M.Div. ’95, is serving as the interim minister of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Rockport, MA.
  • Emily Enders Odom, M.Div. 1990, assumed the responsibilities of Assistant Stated Clerk and Communications Coordinator for the Office of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), on a part-time, interim basis effective September 24, 2012.  A teaching elder in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Odom serves the Presbyterian Mission Agency as associate for Mission Communications, resourcing the offices of the Executive Director and Vocation.
  • Richard W. Shindell, M.A. ’91, has released a new album, “13 Songs You May, or May Not Have Heard Before.”  The Telegraph calls it “a stunningly good record. Complex, moving and beautiful songs are delivered with attractive singing and Shindell's melodic, intricate, guitar playing.”  For the past 10 years Shindell has lived in Buenos Aires, with his wife, Lila, a college professor who is a native of Argentina, and their two children.


  • Susan E. Goff, M.Div. ’80, has been elected bishop suffragan for the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia.  She has served as canon to the bishop for the diocese since January 2010.  She will be consecrated on July 28, 2012 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Richmond, pending agreement of the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in early July.
  • Dawn McGuire, M.Div. ’82, has published her third volume of poetry, The Aphasia Café.  The San Francisco neurologist, who studies aphasia — a general term for language disorders following strokes, brain tumors, degenerative dementias and AIDS complications — splits her time treating patients with HIV-related aphasias at a clinic she started in San Francisco, and at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, where she teaches neurology and researches novel gene therapies for diseases such as multiple sclerosis. She is a member of the Academy of Neurology's Ethics, Law and Humanities Committee, and is researching ways to reduce the high prevalence of neurological disease in African American populations.
  • Suzan Johnson Cook, M.Div. ’83, was confirmed as Ambassador at Large for International Freedom by the U.S. Senate on April 15, 2011.  She was sworn in on June 2nd.
  • Pamela K. Brubaker, Ph.D. ’89, retired as Professor Emerita after 17 years at California Lutheran University.  She was also given the President's Award for Teaching Excellence.
  • Mary F. Foskett, M.Div. ’89, has been named the first director of Wake Forest University's new Humanities Institute.  The Institute, which was formally established in October 2010, supports interdisciplinary scholarship, research initiatives and education in the humanities.
  • Rienzie Eldred Christopher Perera, S.T.M. 1980, Ph.D. 1984, has been installed as the fourth Archdeacon of Galle, Sri Lanka, at a Service of Induction and Installation at the Cathedral of Christ the Living Saviour, Colombo.  The Bishop of Colombo, Dhiloraj Canagasabey, presided.  Perera was ordained as a priest of the Anglican Church in 1975. 
  • Daisy L. Machado, M.Div. 1981, will step down as Academic Dean at Union effective June 30, 2013.  She will remain on the Faculty as Professor of Church History.
  • Dawn McGuire, M.Div. 1982, has been appointed to the Clinical Advisory Board at Trevi Therapeutics, Inc., a drug development company.  McGuire is a board-certified neurologist and Fellow of the Academy of Neurology, and serves on the faculty of the Neuroscience Institute of the Morehouse School of Medicine.  She received her medical degree from the Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons.
  • Christopher H. Strayhorn, M.Div. 1983, has been board certified in Hospice and Palliative Medicine.  Strayhorn is the medical director of Palliative Medicine and Supportive Care at Hospice at Home for Lakeland HealthCare, a not-for-profit, community-owned system of care serving southwest Michigan.  Strayhorn received his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.  He is also board-certified in internal medicine and pediatrics.
  • Peter C. Bisson, M.A. 1984, was appointed the Provincial Superior of the Jesuits in English Canada in May 2012.  Coincidentally in Rome attending a leadership conference during the papal conclave, Fr. Bisson was able to be present in St. Peter’s Square to welcome Pope Francis I when he appeared on the balcony for the first time.
  • Robert V. Taylor, M.Div. 1984, has published A New Way to Be Human: 7 Spiritual Pathways to Becoming Fully Alive (New Page Book April 2012) with a foreword by Desmond Tutu and endorsements from Deepak Chopra, Bernie Siegel, Nora Gallagher, Tracey Lind, M.Div. 1987, and others.
  • Lawrence M. Pray, M.Div. 1986, has published Thresholds: Connecting Body and Soul after Brain Injury (Ruder Finn Press, New York, 2012).  “The book derives its purpose and story from the stroke that ended life as I had known and loved it in the fall of 2003,” he writes.  “A second stroke in early 2004 nearly gave the coup de grace.”  Pray shares insight into his journey to rediscover his sense of self, and recognize God’s constant presence in times of extreme hardship and confusion.
  • James E. Hazelwood, part. 1987, was elected bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  He arrived for his installation on September 29, 2012 at Trinity Lutheran Church on his Suzuki 1000, accompanied by a cavalcade of "Lutheran Lizards," a group of motorcycle enthusiasts from his home state of Rhode Island.  Hazelwood will serve a 6-year term as bishop.


  • David M. Irby, M.Div. ’70, was selected to co-lead the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching's centennial study, Educating Physicians: A Call for Reform of Medical School and Residency, for his 40-year contribution to improving clinical instruction in medical education.  Until recently, Dr. Irby served as vice dean for education, director of the office of medical education, and professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine, posts he held for 14 years.
  • Barbara A. Gerlach, M.Div. ’71, received the Antoinette Brown Award presented by the United Church of Christ to an outstanding woman in ministry on July 4, 2011.
  • Mark S. Hanson, M.Div. ’72, Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America since 2001, was appointed to the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships in February 2011.
  • Reginald Tuggle, M.Div. ’72, had a street named after him, "Rev. Reginald Tuggle Avenue," in Hempstead, NY, to commemorate his retirement.  Tuggle was the pastor of Memorial Presbyterian Church for over thirty years, where the congregation grew from just under 50 members in 1973 to over 1,000 members in 2003.
  • Marvin A. McMickle, M.Div. ’73, was appointed the 12th President of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School.  He began his full-time service on January 1, 2012.
  • James L. McDonald, M.Div. ’75, was inaugurated as President of San Francisco Theological Seminary on February 10, 2012.
  • Ronald MacLennan , M.Div. 1970, will retire from Bethany College in Lindsborg, KS at the end of spring 2013 semester.  Currently Professor of religion, he came to Bethany in 1984 as the campus pastor, until 1989 when he joined the faculty.  He has taught classes in Christianity, theology, and biblical studies.  In addition, he served as the Humanities Division Chair and the Johan Seleen Distinguished Professor of Religion.
  • David H. Binkley II, S.M.M. 1973, was recently honored at Camp Hill (PA) Presbyterian Church on his 40th anniversary as the church’s Organist/Choirmaster.  As an active member of the American Guild of Organists and the Presbyterian Association of Musicians, Binkley has played organ recitals and presented church music workshop throughout the central PA area.
  • Beverly Roberts Gaventa, M.Div. 1973, has been appointed Distinguished Professor of New Testament Interpretation in the department of religion at Baylor University.  She currently serves as Helen H.P. Manson Professor of New Testament Literature and Exegesis at Princeton Theological Seminary, where she has taught for 21 years. She will join Baylor beginning in fall 2013.
  • Marvin A. McMickle, M.Div. 1973, was honored by the Princeton Theological Seminary Alumni/ae Council as a Distinguished Alumnus on October 22, 2012 at the Alumni/ae Bicentennial Reunion, for his commitment to the cause of social justice and the betterment of the human condition.  He was also recognized for his scholarship.  McMickle is the President of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, and was for twenty-four years the Pastor of Antioch Baptist Church in Cleveland, OH. 
  • Naomi A. Steinberg, M.A. 1975, Ph.D. 1984, has published The World of the Child in the Hebrew Bible (Sheffield, England: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2013).  “This is a book,” she writes, “that not only analyzes biblical texts re children as it attempts to answer the question ‘What is a child in the Hebrew Bible?’ but also brings in contemporary issues on how children are romanticized in our culture.  It is based on my biblical research, service I do in Chicago with children who are wards of the state, and service I did in a Guatemalan orphanage.”
  • John R. Wilcox, Ph.D. 1977, has published Revisioning Mission: The Future of Catholic Higher Education.  The book outlines the challenges Catholic colleges and universities face with diminishing numbers of clergy members on campus, and urges the formation of on-campus “mission communities,” which Wilcox describes as diverse groups of faculty, administrators and staff committed to preserving the culture and heritage laid down by the founding religious congregations of Catholic colleges and universities.


  • Charles A. Amstein, M.Div.’62, celebrated the 50th anniversary of his ordination on June 3, 2012 at Rutgers Presbyterian Church, New York City.  His sermon was “Born from Above.”  John B. Weaver, S.M.M. ’68, served as guest organist and choir director.
  • Reuben M. Rainey, M.Div. ’63, Ph.D. ’71, was elevated to the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Council of Fellows for 2011.  Fellowship is among the highest honors the ASLA bestows on members and recognizes the contributions of these individuals to their profession and the society at large based on their works, leadership and management, knowledge and service.
  • Martin C. Lehfeldt, M.Div. ’65, has been elected board chair of Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary in Atlanta (JCSTS is the Presbyterian constituent of the Interdenominational Theological Center).  Lehfeldt, recently-retired President of the Southeastern Council of Foundations, is now a self-employed writer, speaker, and consultant and an Elder at Central Presbyterian Church in Atlanta.
  • Fred L. Horton, Jr., M.Div. ’67, has retired after 41 years on the faculty at Wake Forest University.  The university recognized his many roles in the community: Episcopal priest, amateur-radio operator, biblical scholar and teacher, instructor of Hebrew and Aramaic, and mentor.
  • Daniel H. Krichbaum, M.Div. ’67, was appointed Director by the Michigan Civil Rights Commission in July 2010. Previously, Dan served as Governor Jennifer M. Granholm's Chief Operating Officer. In that position, he championed efforts to aggressively improve the state's economy, increase access to health care for all people, and ensure a high quality, highly educated workforce.
  • Ronald L. Phillips, M.Div. ’69, has been appointed a Member of the Community Development Advisory Board by President Obama.  Ron is the President and CEO of Coastal Enterprises (CEI), a primarily rural nonprofit community development corporation and community development financial institution he founded in 1977.
  • Glen Stassen, M.Div. 1960, is the recipient of the 2013 Baptist World Alliance Denton and Janice Lotz Human Rights Award.  His writings have influenced the international peace movement for more than three decades, and he is known for his work on theological ethics, politics, social justice, and developing the Just Peacemaking theory.  Dr. Stassen is the Lewis B. Smedes Professor of Christian Ethics at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA.
  • James A. Forbes, Jr., M.Div. 1962, received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Temple of Understanding for his advancement of greater awareness and understanding of multi-cultural and interfaith values in communities.  Forbes is the Harry Emerson Fosdick Distinguished Professor at Union.
  • Katherine W. Patterson, M.R.E. 1962, has won the American Library Association’s 2013 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, which honors an author or illustrator whose books, published in the United States, have made, over a period of years, a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children.
  • John Stafford Peale, M.Div. 1963, has published a memoir, Just How Far From the Apple Tree?: A Son in Relation to his Famous Father.  Peale is Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Longwood University, Farmville, VA, where he received the highest award from the University for teaching and professional excellence, and an ordained Minister in the Reformed Church in America.  He is the son of the Rev. Dr. Norman Vincent Peale.
  • Disani Christopher Senyonjo, M.Div. 1966, S.T.M. 1967, and Unitas Distinguished Alumnus, received a Clinton Global Citizen Award at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting on September 12, 2012.  The award was given for Senyonjo’s outstanding work to support the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people through the St. Paul's Reconciliation and Equality Centre in Kampala, Uganda, and across more than 70 countries where being LGBT is illegal and often persecuted.  Senyonjo is Bishop of Kampala (Episcopal Church).
  • Daniel H. Krichbaum, M.Div. 1967, will retire from his position as Director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights in July 2013.  Under his leadership, MDCR has strengthened enforcement efforts, including streamlining processes, reducing backlog and shortening timeframes for completing investigations. The department has also expanded outreach efforts — creating new community and law enforcement collaboratives, establishing an anti-bullying initiative, launching the Civil Rights Youth Academy and more.
  • William C. Nelsen, M.A. 1967, is currently serving as University Minister for Advancement and Church Relations at Midland University, NE, his undergraduate alma mater.  He is the former President of Augustana College, SD, and former President of Scholarship America.
  • Ashley T. Wiltshire, M.Div. 1967, has received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Washington & Lee University, for "a lifetime of distinctive and lasting achievements in legal services for the indigent, and public service impacting the greater good."  Wiltshire served as executive director of the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands for more than three decades. The organization grew under his leadership and now serves low-income individuals in 48 Tennessee counties.
  • Christopher L. Morse, S.T.M. 1968, Ph.D. 1976, will retire as Dietrich Bonhoeffer Professor of Theology and Ethics at Union on June 30, 2013 — nearly 46 years after he first arrived at the Seminary as a student.  Esteemed and beloved by countless students, Morse has lectured around the world on dogmatics and a variety of other topics, among them hermeneutics, metaphysics, ethics, Bonhoeffer's theological legacy, American politics, and the apocalypse.  His major published work is Not Every Spirit: A Dogmatics of Christian Disbelief, which continues to be required reading at a number of schools and seminaries, and is now in its second edition.
  • Daniel E. Pellegrom, M.Div. 1969, has stepped down as President and CEO of Pathfinder International after 26 years.  His passionate advocacy for reproductive health rights and gender equity has advanced Pathfinder's work in some of the world's most vulnerable communities.  He will continue at Pathfinder as Special Advisor.  In 2011, Pellegrom was awarded the Union Medal, the Seminary’s highest honor. 


  • Beverly Corbett Davison, M.A. 1954, and her husband Andrew S. Davison have been named the 2013 recipients of the Cora and John Sparrowk Award.  Given by the Board of General Ministries of the American Baptist Churches USA, the award recognizes those who in life and service over a period of many years have made an exceptional and outstanding contribution to the life of Christ’s Church, and who in life and service manifest richly the fruits and gifts of the Spirit.
  • Donald E. Morrison, S.M.M. 1957, was honored by Augustana College, Rock Island, IL, with the Honorary Alumni Award at the college's annual alumni association awards banquet on May 19, 2012, for his extraordinary achievements and national recognition in choral conducting and his role as a 27-year ambassador for the college.
  • William J. Shaw, M.Div. 1957, has been elected Vice-Chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.  Shaw is the Pastor of the White Rock Baptist Church in Philadelphia, and past President of the National Baptist Convention, the largest African American religious organization in the United States.
  • John H. Fish, M.Div. 1958, was given the Livesay Award for Social Chance by the Colorado College Public Interest Fellowship Program (PIFP) for his role in inspiring PIFP at Colorado College.  He has a long history with Colorado Colleges.  In the early 1970s he taught at the Colorado College summer school.  In addition, over 200 CC students have participated in the Associated Colleges of the Midwest Urban Studies Program where John taught for over 25 years.
  • John G. Truitt, Jr., M.Div. 1958, and his wife Delores Truitt, were awarded Elon Medallions in an annual ceremony at Elon University that recognizes outstanding service to Elon over the course of many years.  "John and Dolores Truitt graduated from Elon in 1953 and for more than six decades have been two of the university's most enthusiastic and dedicated ambassadors," the university says on its website at "The dynamic pair met on Elon's campus during cheerleading tryouts and have been rooting for their alma mater ever since."


  • Ward L. Kaiser, M.Div. 1949, has published How Maps Change Things:  A Conversation about the Maps We Choose and the World We Want.


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