Higher education agency announces 2005-06 scholarships
May 16, 2005
|A UMNS photo by Mike DuBose
The library at Candler School of Theology
By Marta Aldrich*
Tenn. (UMNS)—University of Kansas junior Blair Thompson plans to become
an ordained United Methodist minister and is getting some tangible
encouragement from her denomination through the Allan Jerome Burry
She is one of 17 United Methodists receiving
scholarships in the first round of 2005-06 awards announced by the
United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry on April 21.
Other awards will be announced during the next few months.
board administers 60 scholarship programs that provided nearly $4.8
million in awards to 3,540 students last year. The agency also provided
$1.2 million in loans to another 500 students.
inception, our denomination has believed in an educated laity and
clergy,” says Angella Current-Felder, executive director of the board’s
Office of Loans and Scholarships. “Education has been one of our major
In fact, the United Methodist Student Loan Program,
established in 1867, is the oldest student loan program in the country,
according to the board. The scholarship program was launched in the
mid-1940s. Funding for both programs comes from invested earnings
through endowments established through wills, annuities, offerings and
other designated gifts.
“This money isn’t going to pay for a
student’s full tuition, but it’s a significant supplement and a way for
the church to invest in a United Methodist student’s academic career and
vocational goals,” Current-Felder said.
Thompson is a member of
First United Methodist Church of Baldwin City, Kan., and served as
community life director of the United Methodist Campus Ministry during
her junior year at the University of Kansas. She has applied to work
this summer in a United Methodist urban ministry program in Oklahoma.
scholarship is designed to recognize a United Methodist student’s
outstanding academic performance, leadership skills and participation in
activities of a United Methodist-related campus ministry or chaplaincy
In other scholarships announced April 21, four
campus ministers will receive $5,000 each for the Bishop James C. Baker
Graduate Awards, supporting advanced studies in campus ministry:
Creighton Alexander, Southern Methodist University, Dallas; Jennifer
Copeland, Duke University, Durham, N.C.; Jeanne Koughn, Ferris State
University, Big Rapids, Mich.; and Gregory Moore, University of
Dawn Jeffers Ramstad, a part-time employee
in rural ministry in Wisconsin, has received the Rosalie
Bentzinger Graduate Scholarship, which recognizes a United Methodist
pursuing a doctorate degree in Christian education in seminary. Ramstad
is enrolled at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Evanston, Ill. A
deacon in full connection in the Wisconsin Annual (regional)
Conference, she plans to complete her doctoral studies in 2008 and teach
in Christian education in one of the 13 United Methodist seminaries.
board announced 11 United Methodists receiving a total of $21,000
through the Schisler Graduate Awards, given to assist outstanding
graduate students who have chosen a career as a professional Christian
educator in a local church. They are Jessica Avery, Asbury Theological
Seminary; Wilmore, Ky.; Diane Braman, Memphis (Tenn.) Theological
Seminary; Mary Elders, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary;
Michelle Hindman, Memphis (Tenn.) Theological Seminary; Shirley Joiner,
Gammon Theological Seminary, Atlanta; Hope Oliphant, Pfeiffer
University, Misenheimer, N.C.; Katherine Pestel, Asbury Theological
Seminary; Valerie Robideaux, Duke University Divinity School; Allyson
Talbert, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary; Danyelle Trexler,
Duke University Divinity School; and Diane Wooden, Gammon Theological
Applicants for United Methodist scholarships and loans
must be active, full members of a United Methodist church for at least a
year before applying. They must be admitted to a full-time degree
program in an accredited college or university and maintain a grade
point average of 2.5 or above. Certain scholarships have other
restrictions, such as career path and racial or ethnic background.
continually have more eligible applicants than we have dollars
available,” said Current-Felder, noting her office had to turn away 300
eligible applicants last year.
“Christ has led me to work with children, youth and college students
over the course of the past two years, and Christ is leading me to
seminary,” Thompson wrote in her application. “As I continue my
education, I will support and reinforce the foundations of individuals
old and young.”
the students have wonderful stories,” she said. “There are a large
number coming from single-parent families and who are struggling to go
to school and working while in school. They are involved in their local
church and making a contribution in their community. … It’s painful when
the church cannot always respond to their need.”
*Aldrich is a freelance writer in Franklin, Tenn.
News media contact: Linda Green, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.