For students who graduate from Duke Divinity School with debt, the average amount owed is $34,000. Although this amount likely would seem a victory for a law, business, or medical school graduate, it is more than the annual salary for most pastors beginning their ministry. This level of debt can cripple a young pastor’s ministry before it begins.
Many divinity students arrive at seminary with debt from undergraduate education and, in contrast to other graduate professional students, are unable to borrow heavily with the anticipation of large salaries. And theological education is costly: the master of divinity degree requires at least three years of study and an investment of approximately $30,000 annually, including tuition and living costs.
The church of Jesus Christ needs pastors for the 21st century who are transformative leaders and not hampered by overwhelming debt.
Because of the great need for endowed financial aid at Duke Divinity School, we are engaged in a three-year initiative to raise $10 million dollars in new scholarship endowment funds for students preparing to serve the church.
One of the most important ways to ensure the future of the church is to support seminarians now. Endowed scholarships are critical in helping the best and brightest young people to view ordained ministry as a viable option.
While many people are not in a position to endow a ministerial scholarship at $100,000 or more during their lifetimes, funding a scholarship through a bequest or other type of planned gift can provide an appealing alternative.
These endowed scholarships, which often bear the name of the donor or honored loved ones, support bright, faithful seminarians in perpetuity.
For additional information or to make a gift, please contact Wes Brown or Gaston Warner, 919-660-3456.
NEW SCHOLARSHIP ENDOWMENT FUNDS:
The following major gifts are the first to be eligible for $2 million in matching funds from The Duke Endowment through Duke’s Financial Aid Initiative:
The Mary G. and Donald H. Stange Distinguished Scholars Fund has been established with a commitment of $330,000 from David A. Stone of Grosse Point Farms, Mich., and the Mary G. Stange Charitable Trust. This will be matched for a total of $660,000 and used to attract students "who bring exemplary leadership, academic strength, vocational integrity and spiritual maturity to the vital work of pastoral ministry."
The Stange Divinity Financial Aid Initiative Challenge Fund is a new resource funded by The Mary G. Stange Charitable Trust with a gift of $250,000, which will be matched for a total of $500,000. This fund will provide additional matching resources for a limited number of scholarship endowment donors.
The Helen and Everette Eason Memorial Scholarship Fund honors a second-career pastor and his wife whose exemplary service inspired their children—Bill, Don, Steve, and Susan—and their spouses to make an initial commitment of $250,000, which will be matched for a total of $500,000. Everette and Helen Eason served Methodist churches in towns in eastern North Carolina, including Creswell, Washington, Four Oaks, Troy, Fayetteville, Goldsboro and Sanford. The Eason Memorial Scholarship will give priority to second-career students who intend parish ministry and are identified as having high potential for leadership, especially those who plan to serve in the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. Bill Eason T‘65, L‘68, resides in Sea Island, Ga.; Don Eason lives in Nashville, Tenn.; Steve Eason D'79 is the senior minister at Myers Park Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, N.C.; and Susan Eason Mullis resides in Grover Beach, Calif.