Campus View
News for friends of MTSO
December 2017


Premier scholarship competition announced

MTSO has opened its national premier scholarship competition for students who plan to enroll in the fall of 2018. The application deadline is Jan. 16, 2018. Details and an application form are available at

The average non-loan aid award for MTSO’s master’s degree students is $10,500 per year. One-third of MTSO master’s students have earned full-tuition scholarships.

“We’re committed to making graduate theological education practical and affordable for our students,” said Benjamin Hall, MTSO director of enrollment management. “We’ve developed innovative class schedules that fit busy lives. And with the support of generous donors, we’ve assembled an outstanding array of scholarships. A lot of our best students are busy people, and we want to help them thrive.”

Premier scholarship candidates will be evaluated based on academic achievement (an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher is required) and potential for leadership. Applicants must be available to participate in the scholarship interview process Feb. 19 and 20, 2018.

“Our scholarship interview process is valuable to everyone involved,” Hall said. “It’s not uncommon for prospective students to form friendships over those two days that last through seminary and into their careers. We look forward to meeting this year’s candidates.”


Seven weeks ’til Schooler


Wil Gafney, associate professor of Hebrew Bible at Brite Divinity School, will lead the 2018 Schooler Institute on Preaching Feb. 5 and 6. In addition to offering lectures, she will preach at closing chapel.

The Schooler Institute is offered free through the generosity of the Schooler Family Foundation. Advance registration is required and available here. 

An Episcopal priest and former Army chaplain, Gafney is the author of Womanist Midrash: A Reintroduction to Women of the Torah and of the Throne and a Wisdom Commentary, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah. She also is co-editor of The Peoples’ Bible and The Peoples’ Companion to the Bible.

Her sermons have been published in the books Those Preaching Women: A Multicultural Collection and The Audacity of Faith: Christian Leaders Reflect on the Election of Barack Obama.

Gafney will be speaking on womanist biblical hermeneutics, translation and interpretation, featuring excerpts from Womanist Midrash.

Valerie Bridgeman, MTSO's interim academic dean and associate professor of homiletics and Hebrew Bible, will lead a Schooler workshop and preach at opening chapel.

April 17 event

Faith, Food and Flourishing

The Theological Commons at MTSO will present Faith, Food and Flourishing, a day of focus and collaboration on food security, April 17. The day will include preaching, networking, and an interactive workshop led by Rev. Dr. Heber Brown III. He will share his insights on the intersection of faith and creating church-based food networks that lead to long-term health sustainability. He has found that many churches already possess the tools and resources to build a flourishing community that addresses nutritional food security in urbanized neighborhoods. 

Individuals and churches are invited to join in this day of learning and inspiration. Participants will leave this experience with a theological basis for food security, a strategic plan of engagement and a toolkit for leading their community to embrace personal healthcare.


Rev. Dr. Heber M. Brown III is a community organizer, beginner farmer, social entrepreneur and pastor of Baltimore's Pleasant Hope Baptist Church. For nearly two decades, he has demonstrated a deep commitment to and advocacy on a myriad of social justice concerns. 

In 2015, Brown launched the Black Church Food Security Network, which combats food apartheid by providing seed funding and support to help congregations begin growing food on church-owned land.

Tuition of $25 per person includes an afternoon workshop and dinner. An opening chapel service, farm tour and evening lecture by Brown are offered at no cost. Scholarships are available. Learn more and register here.


The Big Give generates $34,000 for MTSO

MTSO is gratefully celebrating the receipt of $34,762.92 from the Columbus Foundation’s Big Give philanthropy event, held during at 26-hour period Oct. 10 and 11. The amount includes gifts from 76 individual donors plus MTSO’s share of the foundation’s $1.4 million bonus pool.

The average participating organization in the Big Give received 33 donations and raised $19,872, including the Columbus Foundation’s bonus, which was 8.6 percent.

Big Give events are not regularly scheduled; the foundation announced this fall’s event four weeks in advance. MTSO was provided a complete list of donors at the end of November.

“We’re grateful for the faithfulness of those who invest in our students’ preparation for ministry year in and year out,” said MTSO President Jay Rundell. “It truly is a bonus to see folks come together to share in the Big Give. We thank the Columbus Foundation for including MTSO in this special event.”

Trustee recognition

Cleveland State honors Maggie Jackson


Cleveland State University presented MTSO Trustee Maggie Jackson with an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at its commencement Dec. 17. A professor emerita who served on the Cleveland State faculty for more than 30 years, Jackson chaired the School of Social Work and coordinated the university’s joint Master’s in Social Work program with the University of Akron. 

She received her Ph.D. in Social Work from Case Western Reserve University and her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Denver.

Jackson has served within many organizations, including the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities, the Women’s Division of the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church and the board of trustees of Africa University in Zimbabwe. She has served on the MTSO Board of Trustees for 19 years, chairing the board from 2008 to 2012.