|New class of students has international and local balance|
San Francisco Theological Seminary welcomes 49 new students to its campuses in San Anselmo and Pasadena for the upcoming fall semester. While some have come from faraway lands such as China, Ethiopia and Korea, others are commuting from nearby cities bearing witness to SFTS’s ability to reach out to both international and local theological networks.
“We are delighted to welcome these new students who are joining the diverse, gifted and visionary company of women and men gathered from many places to learn and grow spiritually on our campuses in Northern and Southern California,” said Dr. Mary (Polly) Coote, associate dean, registrar and associate professor of Biblical Greek. “Answering the call and embarking on a seminary education represents a serious commitment on their part to a journey that is not always easy, but is, we trust, ultimately fulfilling and worth all the bumps in the road.”
Among the new students is Young Ki Baek, a native Korean who has been waiting his whole life to attend SFTS. His father, Nam Woon Baek, earned his Doctor of Ministry from SFTS in 1992.
“It was dream to come here and study,” Baek said. “We have many professors in Korea who went here. SFTS is famous in my country.”
Baek will pursue a Masters of Arts in Theological Studies degree on the SFTS campus in San Anselmo. There are 25 new masters-level students in San Anselmo, a historic residential campus.
The masters-level students in San Anselmo include 13 men and 12 women, who bring a variety of life experiences to campus from careers in business, education, film and medicine to recent college grads. In Pasadena, a commuter campus that offers evening and Saturday courses, there will be 11 new M.Div. students.
Approximately 70 percent of all SFTS masters-level students receive financial aid. For this year's incoming class, SFTS will award five full-tuition Presidential scholarships and 11 Alumni scholarships.
The Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation has awarded an Apollos Scholarship to Elizabeth Sayer, a new Master of Divinity student who will attend seminary on the SFTS Pasadena campus. Matthias Peterson-Brandt, Erin M. Tamayo, Elizabeth Campbell and Peter Feltman will continue to receive financial assistance from the Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation.
PC(USA) Financial Aid For Studies has awarded grants to the following students for the 2010-11 academic year: Heather Grantham, Natasha Hicks, Christina Jensen, Sharon LeClaire, Nicholas Mastin, Talitha Phillips, Sayer and Michael Wilson. Hicks will receive a Racial Ethnic Supplemental Grant.
Winners of the Lafayette Orinda Presbyterian Church Cranmer Scholarships for the 2010-11 academic year are Faith McClellan, Rochelle Rawls Shaw and Katherine Buck.
“We are so delighted to greet these students, who we have been in conversation with for the past year, as they arrive at SFTS from around the world to begin their studies with us,” said Rev. Beverly Brewster, SFTS director of enrollment. “Our community is already greatly enriched by their presence.”
SFTS and the Graduate Theological Union will begin offering an expanded selection of evening and Saturday courses during the 2010 fall term, opening the door to those whose schedules prevent them from taking classes during the day and others who may want to ease into a master’s degree program. At SFTS, students may earn a Master of Arts in Theological Studies through evening and Saturday courses. A Master of Arts degree may be earned through the GTU, the largest and most diverse partnership of seminaries in the country.
Providing maximum flexibility for students, Dr. Christopher Ocker is scheduled to offer “History 1: Christianity from Jewish Sect to Colonial Religion” online this fall. This class is ideal for students fitting part-time study into their schedules. In addition to weekly asynchronous assignments, there will be four live web-based, evening conferences during the semester.
The SFTS Doctor of Ministry program will begin weekly collegiums on both campuses Sept. 20. Registration is ongoing for the 2011 summer term in San Anselmo.
The collegium has proved to be very popular in Southern California, allowing pastors to continue their ministries and remain close to home with their families. The impressive group of D.Min. candidates includes Rev. Russell Willoughby, pastor of Church of the Valley, a Disciples of Christ church in Van Nuys, Rev. Cheryl Raine, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Garden Grove and 1998 SFTS M.Div. graduate, and Rev. Solomon Hailu of the Lutheran Church in Ethiopia, who is a chaplain at Sharp Hospice Care in San Diego.
The collegium in San Anselmo includes Rev. Sheila Robinson, co-pastor at Bible Way Christian Center, a nondenominational church in San Jose.