1950 Bob Williams (BD)
and his
wife, Betsy, celebrated their 65th
wedding anniversary last summer.
They arrived at SFTS in 1947 as
newlyweds so Bob could begin stud-
ies toward his Bachelor of Divinity
degree. Betsy was very active in a
campus support group for women,
working alongside Susanna Baird,
wife of then-president Dr. Jesse
Baird. For the past 62 years, Bob has
been a Class Steward for SFTS, help-
ing members of his graduating class
stay up to date with seminary events
and news. “There is a glad satisfac-
tion in keeping my peers informed
and unified,” Bob wrote. “It is a joy
to nurture those friendships as our
lives move on – friendships that be-
come more valuable through time.”
In 1988, the Williams became mem-
bers of the Montgomery Society by
including SFTS in their estate plans.
They also established the Robert and
Elizabeth Helter Williams Scholar-
ship Fund to support SFTS students
called to ministry.
1953 Dick Jennings (BD, D.Min.
’77) and Shirley Jennings (MA)
celebrated their 60th wedding anni-
versary in August. After meeting as
students at SFTS, they were married
in Stewart Memorial Chapel in
1952 by Dr. Jesse Baird, the SFTS
president at the time. There was
some concern that the chapel might
not be completed in time for the fall
semester, but Baird pushed contrac-
tors with the Jennings’ wedding in
mind and they were joined in holy
matrimony for the first event in
Stewart. “It must have worked,”
writes Dick Jennings. “Shirley and I
attended chapel services in the new
building all through our last year at
seminary. And our wedding recep-
tion was also the first event ever held
at Alexander Hall, which was con-
structed at the same time as Geneva
Hall.” The Jennings’ service to the
church stretched 41 years in four
states and eight presbyteries. They
now live in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “It
feels good to remember that Shirley
and I met each other at SFTS as well
as getting married there,” Dick Jen-
nings wrote. “We just wanted to
share our reminiscences with the
seminary that has been so important
in our lives.”
1969 Wil Long (DTh)
taught Prot-
estant theology at Kaiserin Friedrich
Schule in Germany from 1973-
2000. Before moving to Europe, he
was pastor at Culver City Presbyte-
rian Church in Southern California
from 1969-73. His theological edu-
cation included Yale Divinity School
from 1957-60, Princeton Theologi-
cal Seminary in 1963 and Eberhard
Karls University in Germany. He
moved to the Bay Area in the ’60s
for studies at SFTS and the Gradu-
ate Theological Union.
1969 Tom Rickert (MTh)
SFTS played an important role in
preparing him for 40-plus years of
work on social concerns, first as a
community organizer and for de-
cades in the field of promoting ac-
cessible public transportation for se-
niors and persons with disabilities
throughout the world. In 1990,
Rickert quit his position as manager
of Accessible Services for San Fran-
cisco’s public transit agency in order
to found Access Exchange Interna-
tional. Back then, there were virtu-
ally no transit systems accessible to
disabled riders in Asia, Africa, Latin
America or Eastern Europe. Access
Exchange International (AEI) is a
nonprofit agency that has promoted
best practices in the field of accessi-
ble transit at workshops and confer-
ences for transit planners and dis-
ability leaders in 30 countries,
including pioneering meetings in
China, Thailand, Vietnam, Russia
and Malaysia, as well as South Afri-
ca, Kenya, and Tanzania. In Latin
America, AEI has responded to invi-
tations and led workshops in Brazil,
Colombia, Argentina, Peru, Chile,
Uruguay, Mexico, Guatemala, El
Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa
Rica. Rickert and his wife, Susan, are
active members of the Mission and
Justice Committee of Temple Unit-
ed Methodist Church in San Fran-
1971 Jerry Van
Marter (M.Div.)
awards both as a
writer and director
of the Presbyterian
News Service during
the Associated Church Press (ACP)
annual awards banquet in May. The
ACP is the oldest and largest Chris-
tian press association and stages
yearly judging for its “Best of the
Christian Press Awards.” Van Marter
earned the Award of Excellence (first
place) in the news service category
for his story “PC(USA) relaxes con-
stitutional prohibition of gay and
lesbian ordination.” He received an
Award of Merit (second place) in the
Convention or Meeting Coverage
SFTS CHIMES | Fall 2012
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