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Strategic plan generates new series of scholarships, collaboration

by Louisville Seminary | Nov 30, 2011
The A. Paul and Carol C. Schaap Foundation in Detroit, Mich., and the Board of Trustees of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary are collaborating to fund a series of annual scholarships in response to the Seminary’s new strategic plan, “Covenant for the Future,” announced earlier in November.

Called the Trustee Promise for Ministry Scholarships for Excellence, a total of twelve annually-funded scholarships, valued up to $20,000 each, will be provided over five years. Beginning January 2013, one full scholarship will be awarded, with a second to be offered in 2014, and a third in 2015. Each scholarship will be renewable up to three years. This five-year commitment between the Schaap Foundation and Seminary Trustees will contribute a total of $240,000 to student scholarships through January 2017.

In 2008, Dr. A. Paul Schaap, Seminary trustee, chemist, and university professor from Grosse Pointe Park, Mich., initiated a similar series of nine renewable scholarships, The Rev. Arnold O. Schaap Presidential Scholarships for Excellence, named for his father, a 1946 Seminary alum. In addition to an earlier endowed scholarship by the same name, the Schaaps renewed the series in 2010. Schaap said his proposal to sponsor more scholarships with the Seminary’s Board of Trustees was in response to the Seminary’s new strategic plan, which will provide full-tuition scholarships for all students in the Seminary’s master’s degree programs by 2015 and additional stipends for living expenses by 2021.

“My involvement with the Schaap Scholars has been a personally gratifying experience. I have observed how full scholarships enable the Seminary to attract high quality students who otherwise would not be able to enroll in theological education. It has been rewarding for Carol and me to meet these students and to see them graduate and serve in ministries in which they are making a difference,” said Schaap.

By inviting the full Board of Trustees to participate, Schaap said he wanted the Board to have that same personal involvement.

“The strategic plan is very exciting, and it is also challenging and ambitious. It will require sacrificial support from many. I wanted my colleagues on the Board to help lead the way for others, to be able to share by example how personally rewarding it can be to make a way for someone’s education,” he said.

Seminary President Michael Jinkins said the Seminary’s new Covenant Scholarship Plan reflects and builds on Paul and Carol Schaap’s visionary experiment, initiated a few years ago, of providing scholarships for students with promise for leadership and ministry.

“Paul and Carol introduced Louisville Seminary to a bold idea. They encouraged us to try something new that would have a lasting effect on the quality of ministry in the world. The success of that experiment, The Arnold O. Schaap Scholarships for Excellence, was a key factor that encouraged the Strategic Planning Committee to identify the “Covenant Scholarship Plan” as the core component of the Seminary’s new vision to make seminary indebtedness a thing of the past. For both the gift and the inspiration, we are profoundly grateful,” said Jinkins.

Pamela G. Kidd, chair of the Board of Trustees, said, “The Schaaps have once again led the way by challenging the Board to participate in funding new scholarships. The Board has enthusiastically taken up that challenge as a tangible expression of their support of this new vision for the Seminary, which has the capacity to make a difference not only in the future of theological education, but also in the church.”

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About the Schaaps and Board of Trustees

Having both served in higher education, Paul and Carol Schaap have a passion for educational standards and providing quality education to individuals who demonstrate a promise for leadership in a variety of fields. Both served at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan: Carol as the secretary to the President, and Paul as a chemistry professor. In 2000, Paul Schaap retired from teaching to become the founder and president of Lumigen, Inc., the world's largest supplier of chemiluminescent reagents to life science research and medical diagnosis markets. His discovery of an efficient light-emitting molecule in 1986 evolved into a compound that is used worldwide to diagnose AIDS, cancer, hepatitis and other diseases. Through the A. Paul and Carol C. Schaap Foundation, they have funded scholarships and fellowships at Hope College, Wayne State, and a number of Detroit area high schools. Their support of theological education honors Paul’s father’s vocation as a pastor. Since 2008, their scholarship support at Louisville Seminary has exceeded $1.5 million.

The Board of Trustees at Louisville Seminary is an elected body of 37 men and women from across the United States who serve in a variety of professions and vocations, including ministry. The Board of Trustees has responsibility for the policies governing all aspects of Seminary life and gives oversight to the operations of the Seminary through shared governance with the Seminary President and its faculty. In addition to 100% financial support among its membership, the Board of Trustees is deeply committed to preparing outstanding leaders for a variety of ministries in an increasingly pluralistic world.

The Scholarships for Excellence Program identifies two distinct approaches toward scholarship support: Presidential Merit Scholarships, which recognizes individuals who have exhibited a strong level of academic excellence in their undergraduate preparation for seminary; and Promise for Ministry Scholarships, which recognize the merit of previous experience and performance in roles of leadership in their respective churches. Because of the generosity of individuals, alums, churches, and foundations, Louisville Seminary currently offered 36 Scholarships for Excellence this academic year, awarding $532,000. Since 2004, as the scholarship program has grown significantly, Louisville Seminary has provided more than $12 million in student financial aid, including 237 Scholarships for Excellence during this eight-year period.

Please visit the Seminary’s website for more information on the new strategic plan, Covenant for the Future.

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