Distinguished Alums

Established in 1986, the Distinguished Alum Award is given to graduates of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary who have made a lasting impact on the Church and society through outstanding professional, volunteer, or philanthropic accomplishments; and/or who have advanced the Seminary’s mission, thereby enhancing Louisville Seminary’s impact on the Church and future generations of students.

The First Decade Award is awarded to recent graduates who have made a significant impact on the Church and their community in the first five to nine years of ministry and service after their graduation from Louisville Seminary.

Distinguished Alums

2022 Distinguished Alum Award Recipients

CH (MAJ) Heeja Han, EDD

Course Manager, School for Spiritual Care – Army CPE

Chaplain (Major) Heeja Han

Chaplain (Major) Heeja Han, a native of Seoul, South Korea, attended Presbyterian University and Theological Seminary, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, a Master of Divinity degree, and Master of Arts degree in Christian Education. She earned a Master of Theology degree in Christian Education from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Education degree in Leadership Education from Spalding University. She spent 16 years as an educator/Pastor in civilian ministry prior to joining the Army as a Chaplain.

Chaplain Han joined the Army as a Reserve Chaplain in April of 2011 and was assigned to 399th Regiment, 4th BN of the Reserve Officer Training Corps at Fort Knox, KY. She attended Chaplains Basic Officer Leaders Course in September 2011, and was commissioned into active duty in 2013. Chaplain Han’s first assignment was at Camp Carroll, South Korea serving with the 498th CSSB. After serving at Camp Carroll, she moved to Fort Campbell, KY where she served with the184th EOD. Her next assignment was in Baumholder, Germany where she served in the 5th BN, 7th ADA. Her follow-on assignment was at the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY, where she served as a Regimental Chaplain for the United States Corps of Cadets. She currently serves as a Course Manager for the School for Spiritual Care - Army CPE at the Institute for Religious Leadership at Fort Jackson, SC.

Chaplain Han’s military educational attainment include graduation from Chaplain Basic Officer Leader Course, Chaplain Captain Career Course, and Command and General Staff Officer Course.

Chaplain Han’s awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal (2 Oak Leaf Clusters), the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal (3 Oak Leaf Clusters), the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Medal, the Korea Defense Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon with the number 2. Chaplain Han is also the recipient of the Honorable Order of Saint Barbara award.

What this Award Means to Me:

“I am honored to be recognized as an LPTS distinguished Alum awardee this year. It was difficult for young women to lead education in Korea’s male-dominant and hierarchical church in the late 1990s and early 2000s. My father wanted his youngest daughter, me, to go abroad to study and have a better opportunity to execute leadership even though he suffered a stroke. Many times, I felt that I was selfish to continue to study in the US since I left my sick father at home in Korea and left my mother alone to take care of him. However, I wanted to follow my father’s will to expand my area of ministries and develop my leadership style. I am still struggling to execute women’s leadership in the US military. However, this award encourages me to keep doing what I do in God’s name. I am very humble and grateful to be a part of LPTS. I thank God for LPTS and for all that God prepared for me.”

What Louisville Seminary Means to Me:

“As an international student 6,800 miles from home in Korea, I came to Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary (LPTS) with worry and fear about studying another language and relationships with new people in a different culture. My worry and fear soon disappeared. The faculty, staff, and classmates treated me as their sister and invited me to diverse activities and their homes. They inspired me to broaden my theological perspective and challenged me to acknowledge the expanded realm of God. LPTS is my family and mentor who taught me to embrace diversity and empower others in my life journey and ministry.”

Alum Award Program Guidelines

The Alum Association of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary established the following Alum Awards:

Distinguished Alum Award: is given to someone who has made a lasting impact on the Church and Society through outstanding professional, volunteer, or philanthropic accomplishments; and/or who has advanced the Seminary’s mission thereby enhancing Louisville Seminary’s impact on the Church and future generations of students.

First Decade Award: is awarded to a recent graduate who has made a significant impact in the Church and his/her community in the first five to nine years of ministry and service after seminary.

  • Demonstrates strong leadership with committed dedication to faithfulness and effectiveness in their calling and/or vocation(s).
  • A strong advocate for the mission and vision of Louisville Seminary, showing passion and interest in her present and future.
  • Models an active spiritual life and demonstrates an ethic of care and compassion in their personal and professional life with a balance of confidence and humility.
  • Focused on service to others, showing leadership and giving back to the community. Contributing to the society around them modeling outstanding professional, voluntary, or philanthropic accomplishments.
  • Is an Alum of the Seminary with an earned degree
    • no more than one award per year can be awarded to an Alum posthumously
    • no more than one award per year can be awarded to a current member of staff, faculty, or administration
  • Has been out of seminary at least ten years at time of consideration (except for the First Decade Award candidates)
  • Not a current member of the Board of Trustees or Alum Board
  • Nominators shall nominate no more than one candidate for consideration per year for the purpose of diversity in nominations and representation. If multiple candidates are nominated by the same person in the same year, the task force will only consider the first completed application in the order they arrive.
Selection Process
  • The current year’s nomination form should be used to make a nomination and must be received electronically or postmarked by the deadline date.
  • The Engagement Committee of the Alum Board receives and reviews all nominations
  • Members of the Distinguished Alum Task Force of the Engagement Committee will be ineligible to nominate for the years they are receiving and recommending nominations.
  • Nominees are considered and chosen based on the nomination form that is submitted along with any materials that accompany the form, and/or additional information secured in the review process.
  • The Engagement Committee of the Alum Board presents names to the full Alum Board for vote

The Engagement Committee of the Alum Board, carefully reviews all nomination materials it receives so that it can make its recommendation to the spring meeting of the Alum Board, which officially names the Distinguished Alum Award. Normally, the Committee recommends only three alum be honored annually, and will award no more than one First Decade Award in each year. First decade awards will be considered but not necessarily awarded every year. In years where there are a plethora of nominees, those not chosen will be held for consideration for up to three years after the original nomination date.

The Alum Board will actively seek nominees for the award, as early as January 1. The Engagement Committee considers nominations based on the criteria listed above. In the past, recipients have been recognized for “distinguished service in a particular ministry,” as well as “lifetime achievement.”

The Committee emphasizes the importance of a complete nomination, which must include adequate information describing the person’s history and work, as well as at least two letters of recommendation. All information must be submitted to the Advancement Office.

Please be advised that the Committee can only review, and make its recommendation to the Alum Board based on the materials sent to them. Therefore, a careful, thoughtful and complete nomination is most helpful in the selection process.

Deadline for Consideration
The deadline for submission of all materials, including letters of recommendation, is May 1st.

Deadline for Consideration

Click here to Nominate an Alum

The committee will notify nominators as to whether their candidate has been selected.

Presentation of the Award

The Distinguished Alum Awards will be presented each year during Louisville Seminary Alum Reunion. The Distinguished Alum(s) and their guest(s) will be our guests during the Reunion.