On September 22, Candler presented Robert (Bob) N. Clarke 58T and Allan Sandlin 89T with the school’s 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award for Lifetime Achievement, an honor recognizing alumni for their work in service to Candler, the church, the academy and/or the community.

Robert (Bob) N. Clarke 58T has served the church for over 60 years through music and education ministries. Clarke earned his bachelor’s degree in choral conducting from Westminster Choir College in 1950, and accepted a call from First Christian Church of Decatur (Disciples of Christ) that same year. He served there for 46 years in a variety of roles, including as director of the children’s, youth and adult choirs, as well as director of Christian education and membership. While working full time, he also completed his master of Christian education degree at Candler. In 1998, Bandy Chair of Preaching and New Testament Emeritus Fred B. Craddock invited Clarke to develop an adult choir at the newly formed Cherry Log Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

In a 2015 letter of nomination penned just weeks before he died, Craddock wrote, “Hold the description of this award over the head of Rev. Clarke and it becomes quite apparent how qualified he is to receive it. The Lifetime Achievement Award announces that Candler is an ecumenical seminary, a school to which Rev. Clarke contributes and from which he draws, not only for training in ministry but in all the ways one becomes a minister. Thus, the wealth of the Gospel is shared.”

Allan Sandlin 89T has served Episcopal parishes from Blue Hill, Maine, to Frankfurt, Germany, for more than 25 years, and currently serves as interim rector of St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Atlanta. The range of his ministry through the decades includes encouraging the full inclusion of gay and lesbian people in the church, helping to found a ministry in Germany for deportees arriving from the United States, mission work in Haiti, and ministering to people living with AIDS during the early years of the epidemic. Sandlin serves on the Candler Alumni Board, and also provides valuable counsel to the school’s Episcopal Studies Program. In the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, Sandlin has served on the Commission on Ministry and as vice chair of the Nominating Committee for the tenth bishop of Atlanta. An accomplished pastor and gifted musician, he has pioneered the integration of preaching and music in his parishes. As a student, he proudly participated in the Candler Choraliers (now the Candler Singers), and has been a member of Emory Chamber Players, led by Theologian-in-Residence Don Saliers, since 1985. 

In a nomination letter, Peter M. Wallace, host of the weekly radio program Day1, wrote, “I believe wholeheartedly that Allan Sandlin fully embraces and exemplifies Candler’s core values as a leader in the church today. He believes in working together collegially with staff, members, and those in the community to fulfill the call of God in our own lives, in our church, and in the community.”

Dean Jan Love added her praise at the award ceremony. “In their lives and ministries, both Bob Clarke and Allan Sandlin embody the core values of Candler School of Theology as they endeavor to serve as faithful and creative leaders for the church’s ministries throughout the world.”

Top photo (from left): Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson 95T (president of the Candler Alumni Board), Robert (Bob) N. Clarke 58T, Allan Sandlin 89T, Dean Jan Love.