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New scholarship is response to Seminary’s strategic vision

Nov 18, 2011
Palo Alto, Calif. – Laurance R. Hoagland Jr. and Grace Hoagland of Woodside, Calif., have announced their intent to establish a three-year full scholarship for a student studying at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Kentucky.

The Hoaglands shared their announcement at a gathering of Seminary friends and supporters hosted by Louisville Seminary President Michael Jinkins and Seminary alums the Revs. Mark and Cheryl Goodman-Morris, co-ministers at Valley Presbyterian Church in Portola Valley, Calif.

Mr. Hoagland said their gift was in response to the Seminary’s new strategic vision, announced in early November, which seeks to eliminate seminary debt, making it possible for its graduates to accept more entrepreneurial calls in ministry. The core component of the plan, “The Covenant Scholarship Plan,” adopted by the Board of Trustees in October, will provide a full-tuition scholarship for every masters-level student by 2015, and, in addition, a stipend to cover living expenses by 2021.

“As a Seminary trustee, I am energized by this vision,” said Hoagland, Vice President and Chief Investment Officer of the Menlo Park, California-based William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. “What Gay and I decided, at this crucial time in the history of the Seminary, is that we wanted a little instant gratification with a full scholarship, right now, as the new program takes root and flourishes. This is but one brick on a wall that we are trying to build that needs dozens and dozens of more bricks.”

As a jumpstart, the Hoaglands will expand a smaller existing scholarship to the full-scholarship level, valued at $60,000 over three years. The larger scholarship will continue to honor Edward A. Mohns, a Louisville Seminary alum (1927) and the father of Gay Hoagland. Among many distinctions, Dr. Mohns was known in the Presbyterian denomination as a healer of churches and was called to several congregations that were in distress.

“It is an inspiration to be here and to hear Laurie light up when talking about the Seminary’s Strategic Plan. It is inspiring to realize that here is a seminary that, in fact, already has all the qualities that the research into the Strategic Plan says our ministers need. Louisville Seminary has the entrepreneurial vision, the courage, and the willingness to take on an incredible challenge, because it has to be done,” said Gay Hoagland, senior fellow and director of Leadership Programs at Stanford University’s School of Education.

“Laurie and Gay Hoagland have dedicated their lives to making a difference in the world,” said President Jinkins. “This gift, in support of a full scholarship in memory of Gay's father, is exemplary of their vision for the future of the church's ministry. I know I speak for students in generations yet to come when I say, 'thank you' to them for their generous gift and support.”

Louisville Seminary student Beau Brown of Indianapolis, the current recipient of a Mohns scholarship, expressed his own appreciation for individuals like the Hoaglands, “who have enabled me to move forward into the future, a very bright future, into what’s next,” he said.

The Hoaglands became connected with Louisville Seminary when Laurie Hoagland first joined the Seminary’s Board of Trustees in 1994. Over the past decade, in addition their scholarship support, Hoagland has issued a challenge to each graduating class: "Whatever you will pledge in faith to the Seminary Fund for the next fiscal year before you graduate and move out into ministry—a true leap of faith—I will double-match." This program has been called the Senior Challenge. Since its inception, more than $109,000 has been raised among the newly graduated to support the Seminary Fund, the annual giving program of the Seminary that supports general operating expenses, student scholarships, and financial aid.

President Jinkins said, “At a time when our church needs faithful, energetic, entrepreneurial leadership, the kind of leaders who will take risks and try new things, we need to do everything we can to support our Seminary graduates to embrace adventurous leadership. We need the equivalent of that daring spirit we see among those bright young people who will try and try and try again to launch a new tech business or invent a new drug or chemical compound. And to assist our Seminary graduates, to make it possible for them to take risks and eventually succeed, we need the equivalent of venture capital for the church's future.

“The Hoaglands have responded to this need for the Church. Their gift is confirmation that our strategic vision has the capacity to captivate many more who seek to change the landscape of theological education for meeting the needs of an increasingly pluralistic world,” he said.

For more information about the new strategic plan at Louisville Seminary, please visit the “Covenant for the Future” web pages.

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