Honors Day 2013Candler School of Theology’s annual Honors Day was held on Thursday, April 25 in Cannon Chapel. Titled “A Celebration of Vocational and Academic Excellence,” it featured a homily by Ian McFarland, associate dean of faculty and academic affairs and professor of systematic theology, followed by the presentation of two dozen awards. Congratulations to the Candler students, faculty and staff we honored today.

Student honorees for vocational excellence and community service 

Eric Rucker received the Claude H. Thompson Award, which is presented to the student who best demonstrates concern that the gospel of Christ comes to complete expression in the lives of men and women through acts of justice and reconciliation. Eric brought a thoughtful curiosity and deep social engagement to his work with the homeless at the Open Door Community, refugees in Clarkston and as a mentor for high school youth.

Joshua Kuipers received the Berta and James T. Laney Award in Contextual Education, which is presented to a third-year MDiv student who has successfully completed both the first and second years of Contextual Education and whose engagement with the practices of ministry exemplifies H. Richard Niebuhr’s concern to do theology as simultaneous reflection and action carried out within the personal and social context of love of God and neighbor. Joshua’s passion for service is exemplified in his work managing transitional homes, serving as a pastoral intern, and directing a program of youth ministry.

Meg Lacey received the Charles Owen Smith Award, which is presented to a second-year student with exceptional promise for service in ministry in the Baptist tradition. Meg is a graduate of Samford University, where she broadened her understanding of the ministry opportunities available to Baptist women in the American South. At Candler, she has been an agent of change and a public theologian. 

Erica DeLoney received the Fellowship Seminarian Award, which is administered by The Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts and presented to the graduating student who displays outstanding leadership in worship arts. Erica is an accomplished pianist who plans to continue her study of jazz piano. Her MDiv studies at Candler have enhanced her music ministry.

Megan Worthman received the Hoyt Hickman Award, which is presented to the senior who, in the opinion of the Emory Chapter of the Order of St. Luke, has most contributed to the worship life of Candler through liturgical leadership and pastoral care. Megan serves as a worship team leader and deacon. She describes her gifts as simple: two hands to work with and for people, two ears and a heart to keep open, a passion for studying religion, hope for the future and courage to risk everything.

Mashaun Simon received the Community Service Award, which is presented to the graduating student who has given outstanding service to the Candler community. The Candler Coordinating Council (C3) has benefited from Mashaun's leadership over the past three years, as Candler’s representative to the Student Government Association, as vice president and as president. Through Mashaun’s efforts, Candler’s Cultural Competency conversations have intensified, funds have supported student participation in professional conferences, worship has been planned, prospective students hosted, and youth mentored. Mashaun also received the John W. Rustin Award, which is presented to the student who, in the opinion of the preaching faculty, best exhibits the capacity for prophetic preaching.

Anthony McPhail received the John Owen Smith Award, which is presented to the MDiv senior who is best able to communicate faithfully and imaginatively the gospel through preaching. A participant in Candler’s Teaching Parish program, Anthony is an excellent communicator and gifted preacher and teacher. He has served as associate pastor of contemporary ministries at a United Methodist Church in the South Georgia Conference and will continue that appointment following graduation.

Jae Yong Song received the Ruth Sewell Flowers Award, which is presented to the senior MDiv student who has shown the greatest improvement in ministerial qualifications during three years spent at Candler. He led the International Student Association and the Candler Society for Multiracial Congregations, and has served as a minister of mission and outreach at a local church. He also completed CPE at Emory Hospital-Midtown, pastored a church in North Carolina through the Candler Advantage program and served as a pastoral summer intern in the Bahamas.

Rachelle Brown, Jody Lynn Greenwood, Won Chul Shin, Mashaun Simon and Jennifer Stinnett Wyant received recognition through Who’s Who in American Universities and Colleges. This honor recognizes students who have made impressive contributions to the quality of life and education through service, leadership, scholarship and character.

Rachelle is a leader through C3 and as a student ambassador in the Admissions Office. She also works with the refugee community in Clarkston and has taught in the Theological Studies certificate program for incarcerated women.

Jody has facilitated honest dialogues about race, disability, sexual orientation, religious background and national identity, increasing the understanding of these often difficult topics in healthy and healing ways.

Won Chul has served as secretary of the Emory Korean Graduate Student Association and president of the Social Concerns Network. In addition, he has worked in the Admissions Office for three years. While a participant in the Servant Leadership Forum of the Center for Ethics, he co-produced a film on child sexual exploitation.

Mashaun, in addition to his recognition in Who’s Who, received this years Community Service and Rustin Preaching awards.

Jennifer has demonstrated maturity, wisdom and compassion in “loving neighbors,” be they local youth, prospective Candler students or homeless children and their families.

Student honorees for academic excellence

United Methodist Foundation for Christian Higher Education Award is presented to a rising MDiv junior, middler, and senior for 2013-14. Recipients must have been active members of the UMC for at least one year and must demonstrate outstanding scholarship and leadership ability. The Admissions staff will select a recipient from the incoming class for the junior award. Aryn Williams and Tyler Sit received the awards for a rising middler and senior.

Aryn is a certified candidate for ministry in the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church and is a graduate of East Carolina University with degrees in psychology and health education.

Tyler is a certified candidate for ministry in the Minnesota Annual Conference. A graduate of Boston University, he is a member of the board of directors of The United Methodist Church’s General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. Tyler has served as spiritual practices coordinator through the Office of Student Programming and is liturgical dance coordinator.

Tyler also received The United Methodist First Career Seminary Award, which is presented to a student for whom ministry will be the recipient’s first career. Recipients must be planning to enter parish ministry and must demonstrate outstanding scholarship and leadership ability.

United Methodist Scholarship Seminary Award recipients are chosen from the membership of the current first-year class who demonstrate outstanding scholarship and leadership ability and plan to enter parish ministry. Timothy Hankins and Megan Petenbrink are the recipients of this award. Tim is a certified candidate for ministry in the Holston Annual Conference and is a graduate of the University of Evansville. Megan is preparing for deacon’s orders in the North Georgia Annual Conference and is a graduate of Huntingdon College.

Two students, James Thomas and David Ranzolin, received the Myki Mobley Award, which is presented to MTS students who demonstrate academic excellence and significant social concern. Both James and David taught classes at Arrendale State Prison, and have given considerable thought to pedagogies appropriate to the prison setting, the role of literature in helping inmates articulate their experiences, and theoretical foundations for the incarceration of those who break the law.

Henry Knowles, described as an empathetic listener and social activist, received the Nolan B. Harmon Award, which is presented to the second-year MDiv student who has shown the most marked improvement during his two years at Candler.

Rachelle Brown received the John D. and Alice Slay Award, which is presented to the second-year MDiv student who exhibits outstanding academic performance and promise for pastoral ministry. She also received recognition through Who’s Who in American Universities and Colleges.

Jennifer Stinnett Wyant received the Chad Davis Memorial Award, which was established by Dr. Sara Mandell in memory of The Rev. James Chadwick Davis, a 1959 graduate of the Candler School of Theology. This award is given to the student who has done well in Old or New Testament courses and is selected by the biblical studies faculty. Jennifer was honored by Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities and she will remain at Emory next year as a PhD student in New Testament.

Chontel Syfox received the Boone M. Bowen Award, which is presented to the student who, in the opinion of the biblical studies faculty, has the best record in biblical Hebrew. Chontel is a Bobby Jones fellow and, this fall, will enter the doctoral program in Hebrew Bible at Notre Dame.

Angie Long received the Russell E. Richey Award, which is presented to the Candler student who has demonstrated excellence in Wesleyan studies. Angie is preparing for ministry in the Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference.  

Won Chul Shin received the G. Ray Jordan Award, which is presented to the MDiv senior who shows unusual promise for usefulness in ministry and demonstrates excellence in integrating academic study with constructive leadership and service. Won Chul is a graduate of Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, and has served as president of the Candler Social Concerns Network. In the summer of 2012 he served as a Candler Advantage intern at Sunlin Methodist Church in Incheon, South Korea, where his work focused on forming and transforming the vocational imagination of the members of the youth group at Sunlin. Won Chul also received the Chalice Press Book Award, which is given annually to a graduating student judged by the faculty to be an “outstanding seminarian.”

The Academic Excellence Awards are presented to one MDiv senior and to one MTS senior who, in the opinion of the faculty, achieved the highest academic excellence. These award winners serve as student marshals during commencement. The MDiv recipient is Won Chul Shin, and the MTS recipient is Julia Forrester. Won Chul maintained an overall GPS of 3.965 and Julia, who will pursue a doctoral degree following her graduation from Candler, has maintained an overall GPA of 3.927. She came to Candler following a successful career in business and service as a director of youth ministries.

Faculty and Staff Honors

In addition to these student awards, the student body presented members of the faculty and staff with awards:

Stan Taylor, interim director of Candler School of Theology media, received the award for Staff Person of the Year.

Ellen Ott Marshall, associate professor of Christian ethics and conflict transformation, received the award for Faculty Person of the Year.

Steffen Lösel, associate professor in the practice of systematic theology, received the On Eagle’s Wings Excellence in Teaching Award. This award is selected by the senior class in recognition of faithful and dedicated service.