Home : NewsMakers

Sending Forth

Among Duke Divinity School’s 143 graduates in May 2008, 122 received the master of divinity (M.Div.), seven the master of theology (Th.M.), and 14 the master of theological studies (M.T.S.).

Photo by Duke Photography

The average grade point average (GPA) for graduating seniors was 3.476 (on a scale of 4.0). More than a third of the senior class earned Latin honors: 21 students graduated summa cum laude (GPA of 3.85 or above) and 32 graduated magna cum laude (GPA of 3.65 or higher).

The class of 2008 brought the total of Divinity School graduates to approximately 6,000. According to registry records, 4,231 degrees have been awarded since 1970. Although the records weren’t available for the school’s first four decades, estimates are that around 1,800 degrees were awarded between the 1930s and the end of the 1960s.

Why Duke?

According to the 197 members of the incoming class, their top five reasons for choosing to attend seminary at Duke were academic reputation, theological reputation, spiritual formation, strength of faculty, and the campus visit.

Among the class, minority enrollment rose to 25 percent (up from 21 percent a year ago). The median student age continues to be low—25 for the entire class and just 24 for the master of divinity (M.Div.). Median entering grade point average (out of a possible 4.0) was 3.6 for the entire class.

Of 139 students seeking the three-year M.Div. degree, 54 percent are male and 46 percent female. Fifty-five percent are United Methodist; 14 percent are Baptist, 6 percent are Anglican or Episcopal; 6 percent are Presbyterian, and 4 percent are Roman Catholic. Twenty-two other denominations round out the M.Div. class.

Among the other three degree programs, 20 students entered the two-year master of theological studies (M.T.S.); 17 new students are working toward a master of theology (Th.M.); and 11 began Duke Divinity’s newest degree program, the doctor of theology (Th.D.), now in its third year. Ten non-degree students complete the class.

Stewards All

Among 50 young people who served as stewards (ushers) during the Anglican Communion’s decennial Lambeth Conference in July, Sarah Kerr D’08 was among four selected to address a plenary of more than 1,000 bishops and their spouses.

Photo courtesy Anglican Communion News Service
Sarah Kerr dressed for a garden party
at Buckingham Palace

After hearing Kerr describe the Lambeth Conference participants as all “gathered here to become better equipped for their ministry as stewards and shepherds of their dioceses and churches,” Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams donned one of the stewards’ neon orange vests for a photograph with the group.

Kerr, who graduated last May, currently serves as the assistant rector of Christian formation and youth at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in St. Petersburg, Fla. Divinity students Sam Keyes and Ross Kane, both M.Div.’09, also attended Lambeth as stewards.

To read Kerr’s account of the Lambeth Conference, see Anglican Episcopal House of Studies Perspectives 2008-09.

The Turner Legacy

The summer 2008 issue of Gatherings, the annual newsletter of the Office of Black Church Studies, celebrates the legacy of William C. Turner, associate professor of the practice of homiletics, who arrived at Duke University as a freshman more than 40 years ago.

Photo by Duke Photography
William C. Turner

“Turner is a pastor, prophet, visionary leader, scholar and mentor. Most of all, he is a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ who walks humbly with God,” said Shane Benjamin D’97, one of many students, alumni, and faculty who pay tribute to Turner. “He has taught me a lot ... about the church and its ministry, the struggle for justice, fatherhood, and life. I am honored to call him friend and counselor.”

To read more about Turner, who earned his undergraduate, divinity, and doctoral degrees at Duke, see Gatherings.

Other features include the essay “The Black Church and Presidential Politics”
by J. Kameron Carter, associate professor of theology and black church studies, and
a tribute by Esther Acolatse, assistant professor of pastoral theology and world Christianity, to the late Kwame Bediako, a world renowned African theological scholar.

Project Bri(ddd)ge* 2008

Photo by Sherry Williamson
Project Bri(ddd)ge*

Project Bri(ddd)ge* 2008, a weeklong immersion in urban ministry and the Durham community, attracted its largest participation ever. Forty incoming students and 10 current student leaders convened the week prior to fall semester and donned bright green T-shirts for what Director of Student Life Chris Brady described as “theological reflection, service in Durham, and community revitalization.”

*Building Relationships in Durham through Duke Divinity Graduate Education.

Opus 16 Dedicated

In an Aug. 26 service of dedication following the Divinity School’s 82nd Opening Convocation, Duke President Richard H. Brodhead officially accepted Opus 16, the new Goodson Chapel organ, from builders Richards, Fowkes & Co. of Ooltewah, Tenn.

Photo by Duke Photography
Opus 16 in context

David Arcus, Goodson Chapel organist and associate university organist, performed a dedicatory recital at 4 p.m. The public recital was preceded by a panel discussion about the building of Opus 16. Panelists included Arcus, builder Bruce Fowkes, Divinity School Chaplain Sally Bates, Allan Friedman, who serves as administrative coordinator of chapel music, and John Santoianni, E.S. Carrabina curator of organs and harpsichords at Duke.

With more than 1,800 pipes, Opus 16 rises 30 feet to the apex of Goodson Chapel’s choir loft. Inspired by historic 18th- and 19th-century European organs designed for congregational singing, the Goodson Chapel Organ adds a new voice to music ministry at Duke University.

As part of Duke’s Parents and Family Weekend David Arcus will perform an inaugural recital Oct. 24 at 8 p.m.

The new organ was made possible by a gift from Duke alumni Katie and Aubrey McClendon.