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Convocation Kicks off 2015-16 Academic Year

Sep 22, 2015

Debra Mumford delivers convocation address; Students earn seminary awards.

Debra Mumford
Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary kicked off the 2015-2016 academic year with its fall convocation, which was held on September 9 in Caldwell Chapel. Nearly 130 people turned out for the event, which also celebrated the first academic year for Louisville Seminary to provide full tuition assistance to all master’s level students.

The Rev. Dr. Debra Mumford, Louisville Seminary’s Frank H. Caldwell Professor of Homiletics and associate academic dean, delivered the convocation address, “The Reign of God and the Limits of Social Justice.” Referencing Matthew 4:23-25, Mumford explored the limits of social justice while challenging the Louisville Seminary community to embrace Jesus’ vision of the reign of God as a more observable and holistic goal.

“When Jesus took to the streets to provide health care for the poor, he was demonstrating to us that social justice, like responsibility and accountability, is integral to the fulfillment of the reign of God," said Mumford. "When we ensure that all people are treated justly in all things, we fulfill God’s will for all people.”


Four Louisville Seminary students were honored for their ongoing success.

Timothy McNinch, a Master of Divinity student, received the E.L. Bell Memorial Prize, which is given to a student who demonstrates excellence in biblical studies. Established in 1953, the award is presented in memory of Edwin Lewis Bell (1864-1942), a deacon and elder of Old Stone Presbyterian Church in Lewiston, West Virginia, and the father of Margaret Bell Hanna of Lexington, Kentucky. Margaret was the spouse of Dr. C. Morton Hanna (1896-1964), a Louisville Seminary alum, professor and pioneer of the supervised field ministry movement.

Chrissy Westbury, a dual Master of Divinity and Master of Arts (Religion) student, received the Burton Z Cooper Prize in Theology, which is given to a student who has demonstrated promise in constructive, philosophical, systematic or contemporary theology. The prize was established in 1995 in honor of Dr. Burton Z Cooper, professor emeritus of philosophical theology, who taught at Louisville Seminary from 1970-1988.

Lanie Sipes, a Master of Divinity Student, received the Dean K. Thompson Prize in Practical Theology, which is awarded to a student who has demonstrated excellence in the study of practical theology and in their congregational field education placement. The award is in honor of Dean Thompson, Louisville Seminary’s eighth president who served from 2014 to 2010.

Sarah Shannon, a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy student, received the James A. Hyde Marriage and Family Pastoral Counseling Theory & Practice award, which is given to a second-year student who has demonstrated excellence in marriage and family therapy and pastoral counseling theory and practice during his or her first full year of involvement in the MAMFT clinical and academic program. The award was established in 2009 to honor Dr. James Hyde, who directed the Marriage and Family Therapy program at Louisville Seminary from 2003-2007.

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