May 11, 2021


Students honored at Closing Convocation and Awards Ceremony

Methodist Theological School in Ohio celebrated student achievement in scholarship, leadership and service at the school’s Closing Convocation and Awards Ceremony May 11.

View archived video of the ceremony here.

Recipients of the following awards were honored during a virtual event.

The Bishop Judith Craig Prize in Christian Education honors the life of Bishop Craig, whose ministry began as a Christian educator. It recognizes academic excellence; a solid record of service in the local church in a field placement; positive contributions to campus life, the district or the conference; and potential for significance in professional ministry. Recipient: Taylor Johnston.

The Charles A. Dice Fellowship encourages and assists exceptional students in continuing their theological education beyond MTSO at another institution of recognized excellence. Selection is based on academic excellence, personal character, professional competence, and promise of usefulness in Christian ministry or the teaching profession. Recipient: Austen-Monet McClendon.

The Fellowship Seminarian Award recognizes a graduating senior who displays outstanding leadership in music or worship arts, including but not limited to dance, drama, fabric art and liturgical writing. Recipient: Jeffrey White.

The Gindlesperger Bible Award recognizes a graduate who has demonstrated competence in biblical studies and who is humble, diligent and anxious to learn and grow in grace. Recipient: Bellarmee Milosi.

The Matey Janata Freedwomen Award honors the memory of Matey Janata, a trustee and 1976 graduate of MTSO who distinguished herself through her work within the church and the broader community. It is awarded to a graduating senior who has submitted a paper that deals with women’s issues in a significant way. Recipient: Lucy Kelly, author of the paper “Esther and Judith: Wonder Women of the Jewish Diaspora.”

The Nystrand Award in Homiletics honors the Rev. Dr. Philip O. Nystrand and encourages excellent preaching. It is given to a rising senior in the Master of Divinity program who demonstrates promise in homiletics. Recipient: Sunhwa Hopgood.

The Pastoral Counseling Service and Achievement Award is presented to a Master of Arts in Counseling Ministries senior who embodies the quest for excellence in professional counseling development. The recipient also demonstrates significant involvement in community service, while maintaining high standards of academic achievement. Recipient: Margaret Hale.

The Servant Leader Award recognizes a graduating senior who has given exceptional and sacrificial service to MTSO, and has inspired others to do the same. The award consists of a water basin and a towel, evoking Jesus’ washing of his disciples’ feet. Recipient: Jeffrey White.

The C. Everett and Mary Milburn Tilson Social Justice Grant honors the lives and legacies of C. Everett and Mary Milburn Tilson. This award honors the Tilsons’ lifelong devotion social justice, most notably in the civil rights movement. The grant is given to a graduating senior who has demonstrated, both in practice and profession, a commitment to a prophetic vocation of compassionate justice. Recipient: Kelley Fox.

The Gene Tucker Memorial Grant in Biblical Literature enables students selected by the MTSO biblical faculty to attend regional and national meetings of the Society of Biblical Literature. Regional grant recipient: Susan Fisher. National grant recipients: Meredith Krueger and Justin McCall.

The David Wilcox Leadership Award honors the service and leadership of the Rev. Dr. David Wilcox within the United Methodist Church and as a trustee of MTSO. The award recognizes a graduating student preparing for ministry in the context of the local church. The recipient must reflect characteristics of servant-leadership within the MTSO community and in church ministry, and show promise to become a leader in judicatory connections. Recipient: Jason Young.

The Ronald L. Williams Book Prize in Theology and Ethics honors the memory of MTSO Professor Ronald L. Williams. It is awarded to a student with extraordinary potential in theological and ethical studies and reflection. Recipient: Jacob Taylor.

Closing Convocation also provided an opportunity for the campus community to honor Robin Knowles Wallace, professor in the Taylor Endowed Chair of Worship and Music, who is retiring after 24 years of service to MTSO.

Methodist Theological School in Ohio provides theological education and leadership in pursuit of a just, sustainable and generative world. In addition to the Master of Divinity degree, the school offers master’s degrees in counseling, practical theology, social justice and theological studies, along with a Doctor of Ministry degree.


Danny Russell, communications director, 740-362-3322