Alum of the Year

About the Award

Every year, the Baptist Theological Union presents the Divinity School Alum of the Year Award to a Divinity School graduate. The award recipient is chosen with the following criteria in mind: excellence of work and continued contributions to the person's field; recognition and influence beyond the person's immediate sphere; and embodiment of the Divinity School's goals and values, and the range and extent of its educational programs. Choosing the Alum of the Year involves soliciting nominations from the entire alumni body and submitting them to the Alumni Council for consideration. The Council then makes its recommendation to the Baptist Theological Union. 

The award is normally presented in conjunction with a lecture by the honoree in Swift Hall following the BTU’s spring meeting.  

Nomination Process

Nominations for the Alum of the Year award are now open on a rolling basis. 

Nominations should include a letter addressed to the Alumni Council, submitted online through our nominations form. The letter should including the following:

  • Rationale for awarding the honor to this particular person, with an emphasis on this person’s stature within his/her field
  • Citation of an article, book chapter, or other publication written by the nominee, or equivalent professional accomplishment
  • Description of the specific ways in which this person embodies the values of the Divinity School


All living alumni from any University of Chicago Divinity School degree program are eligible to be nominated.

Approximately one-third of Divinity School alumni work outside of academia and ministry. This award honors especially distinguished professional accomplishment that reflects richly the values of the School, regardless of occupation.

Please consider the following criteria when evaluating potential nominees:

  • Excellence of work and continued contributions to the person’s field
  • Recognition and influence beyond the person’s immediate sphere
  • Embodiment of the Divinity School’s goals and values, and the range and extent of its educational programs

Please note the following restrictions:

  • Current and emeritus faculty of the Divinity School are not eligible
  • Awards are not made posthumously; the nominee must be living
  • Self-nominations will not be accepted
  • All nominations are to be kept confidential, especially from the nominees themselves

​​All nominations will be held in strict confidence, as will the Council’s deliberations. To assist the Council in its deliberation, the formal letter of nomination must include the points listed above; a name submitted with no accompanying rationale will not be considered. You do not need to be a graduate of the Divinity School to nominate an alumnus/a.There is no limit to the number of times that you may resubmit a name for consideration.  Each year the Council has received multiple worthy nominations, but only one can be chosen annually.  The award will be announced in the autumn and presented in the following spring.


Please do not inform candidates that they are under consideration.


To be eligible for nomination, candidates must meet the following requirements:

  • Must have matriculated at the Divinity School and earned credit toward one of its degrees.
  • Cannot currently be an employee of the University.
  • No posthumous nominations.

Nomination and Supporting Letters

The quality of the information in a nominating letter is more important than the relative prominence of the nominator. Possible contacts include professional colleagues, former students, friends, or fellow volunteers. Letters that comment knowledgeably on the impact of the individual's specific achievements are the most important and helpful.

The Divinity School Alumni Council reserves the right to grant an award for which the candidate has not been specifically nominated.

Thank you for your thoughtful consideration and participation.