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Susan E. Moore, 22, M.Div./M.S.W.
Home State: Georgia
Denomination: UMC
Education: Reinhardt College , 2004, B.S., sociology
Honors/Activities: Valedictorian, Lithia Springs, Ga., High School; Assistant Program Director, Camp Glisson, a UMC camp for the North GA Conference; Student Ministry Team; Student Government Association; College Mission to Warsaw, Poland; Presidential Scholar

During college Susan Moore, whose father is a UM pastor and Candler alumnus, felt led to social work rather than ministry. But when Director of Admissions Donna Claycomb told her about Duke Divinity School’s dual masters degrees (M.Div./M.S.W.) with the UNC School of Social Work in Chapel Hill, she said, “That’s exactly what I’m looking for,” says Moore.

“God opened doors for me and I was accepted for both programs. I’m excited about the unique combination of academic and spiritual preparation that these degrees offer.”

While the divinity school’s presence at the center of a top-ranked research university with one of the country’s best college basketball teams makes Claycomb the envy of other seminary recruiters, she takes nothing for granted. Claycomb is familiar with the statistics: Of more than 6,000 students who entered ATS member-schools in fall 2002, just 22.4 percent had considered theological education before college. Compared with law students, who typically decide on legal careers by age 20, people considering ministry are usually age 25 or older.

Once she became admissions director in 2001, Claycomb sensed that the divinity school needed to expand upon its well-known reputation for rigorous scholarship. “Everyone knew Duke was a great place for academics,” she says. “I wanted them to know that this was also an intentional community dedicated to transforming ministry through the formation of disciples for Christ.”

By the summer of 2002, she had developed new recruitment materials to tell that story. The colorful coordinated materials showed prospective students what to expect at Duke, from daily worship and weekly spiritual formation groups to classes and conversation with top-ranked faculty.

Rebecca “Becca” Hylander, 23, M.Div.
Home State: North Carolina
Denomination: Presbyterian
Education: Princeton University , 2003, A.B., religion
Honors/Activities: Summa cum laude , Phi Beta Kappa, National Merit Scholarship, Dorot Foundation Travel Scholarship to Israel, Lilly Foundation Grant for Independent Research, Pew Younger Scholars Seminar/Scholarship, varsity track, cross-country, fellow of Religious Life Council, Princeton University; year-long Presbyterian Mission, Ramses College for Girls, Cairo, Egypt

“So many of the authors I was reading in my undergraduate religion classes were from Duke—Stanley Hauerwas, Richard Hays and Amy Laura Hall, just to name a few,” says Rebecca Hylander, one of two incoming students named Ministry Fellows by the Fund for Theological Education.

“When I visited campus, I was immediately struck by the enthusiasm of all the students, professors, and administrators I met. I wanted to attend a seminary where students are encouraged to integrate the rigor of the mind with the depth of the heart.”

Claycomb expanded the recruiting schedule to add colleges and universities that had not been visited before while also tapping into schools with Lilly Endowment Inc.-funded Programs for the Theological Exploration of Vocation (www.ptev.org). Since the fall of 2000, this program, administered through the Fund for Theological Education, has awarded more than $176 million in grants to 88 colleges and universities across the nation. Each has designed a unique program to encourage student exploration of vocation and call to ministry.

The impact of another program for youth, also funded by Lilly Endowment, has yet to be measured. The Duke Youth Academy for Christian Formation welcomes 50 high school students to campus each summer for a two-week residential experience based on the baptismal covenant.

Claycomb has served on the staff of the youth academy for two summers, recognizing that “some youth will experience a call to ministry through this transformative experience. It’s never too early to begin developing relationship with young people, whether they are in college or in high school.”

Marc Rickabaugh, 33, M.Div.
Home State: Virginia
Denomination: UMC
Education: University of Virginia , 1993, B.S., commerce
Resume: CPA and former assistant vice president of Gray Co LLC, a Richmond, Va., accounting firm. Currently a student pastor, Saxapahaw UMC, Saxapahaw, N.C., where he lives with his wife, Nancy, a teacher, and their three children.

A lifelong Methodist, Marc Rickabaugh sang in the church choir and had served as a youth leader at Welborne UMC in Richmond, Va. But a March 2000 Walk to Emmaus was transformative: “It was as if someone had put a defibrillator on my heart and brought it back to life,” he says. After a lengthy process of discernment, he resigned from his job, sold his home, and moved to North Carolina to attend seminary at Duke. He is seeking to become an ordained elder.

“I happened to visit campus the day of the first revivalist service in York Chapel. After learning about Duke’s strong basis in tradition, it was a blessing to participate in such a contemporary, Spirit-filled worship service. I was looking for a seminary environment that held fast to its Christian roots while embracing with open arms more contemporary styles of worship.”

 

 

She also asks faculty to keep recruitment in mind, particularly when visiting universities where they meet prospective students. And while the national Alumni Network for Student Recruitment (ANSR) team gathers annually in Durham to discuss strategies for attracting the most gifted students, Claycomb recognizes that all alumni are recruiters—whether in the pulpit, the classroom, or some other form of ministry.

Landing top recruits often comes down to the bottom line: financial aid. The Divinity Fellowships have helped. Awarded annually to 12 incoming students with outstanding promise for parish ministry, these three-year, full-tuition scholarships are funded for five years of entering classes (2000-05). Each Divinity Fellow also serves a summer internship at one of 15 Teaching Congregations across the nation selected for outstanding pastoral leadership and innovative congregational ministries.

“The impact of these fellowships on the future of ministry is virtually incalculable,” says Claycomb. Duke is currently working to identify resources that will help endow and so continue the fellowships, which end next year. Also among Duke’s draws are opportunities for interdisciplinary study. There are options in theology and medicine (including parish nursing), a joint M.T.S. and J.D. with Duke Law School, and the new dual M.Div./M.S.W. with the School of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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DIVINITY Online Edition :: Fall 2004 Volume 4 Number 1 Duke Divinity School