Alumni News 2012-2013

Posted June 24, 2013

Robert M. Franklin, Jr. (PHD'85) will join the Chautauqua Institution as Director of Department of Religion.  Franklin is president emeritus and Distinguished Professor of Social Ethics at Morehouse College, where he served as the tenth president of the nation's largest private, four-year liberal arts college for men from 2007 through 2012. He has been an active participant in Chautauqua's religious programming since 2001, serving as lecturer, chaplain, theologian-in-residence, adviser to the Institution's Abrahamic program, and as a member of the Institution's board of trustees.  

Anne E. Patrick (AM'76, PHD'82) has won the John Courtney Murray award from the Catholic Theological Society of America.  Patrick is William H. Laird Professor of Religion and the Liberal Arts, Emerita, at Carleton College.  


Benjamin Schonthal (PHD'12) won the dissertation prize from the Law and Society Association for his dissertation entitled Ruling Religion: Buddhism, Politics and Law in Contemporary Sri Lanka.  

Eliza Kent (AM'93, PHD'99) has coedited Lines in Water: Religious Boundaries in South Asia which will be out next month.  Kent is Associate Professor of Religion at Colgate University.

Lynn Ross-Bryant (AM'69, PHD'73), recently retired from teaching Religious Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder, has published Pilgrimage to the National Parks: Religion and Nature in the United States with Routledge, 2013. The book argues that the national parks were seen from their beginnings as sacred sites embodying the God-given specialness of American people and American land; and that also from the first they were marketed as tourist attractions. The inherent tensions between these two realities ensured the parks would be cultural sites where conflicting values of the American people could be enacted and contested. This book traces the history of those evolving beliefs and values from the late nineteenth century to the first decade of the twenty-first. Central to the traditional narrative has been the assertion that within national park boundaries, nature would be preserved for the people as it was when Euro-Americans first entered the New World. Contemporary developments in ecological science, as well as climate change, make it clear that such a goal is impossible. The book considers whether this means the end of national parks as pilgrimage sites or if it opens “unbounded possibilities” for what they might become.

Erica Brown (MDV'99) recently began working as the College Chaplain/Pastoral Counselor at Blackburn College in Carlinville, IL.

Ann Taves (AM'79, PHD'83) and David Haberman (AM'78, PHD'84) were both awarded Guggenheim Fellowships this past April.  Taves is the Virgil Cordano OFM Endowed Chair in Catholic Studies at University of California - Santa Barbara and Haberman is Professor of Religious Studies and Indiana University.

Shatha Almutawa (PHD'13) will be Assistant Professor at Qatar University.

Jeff Jay (PHD'13) will be Visiting Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at St. Norbert College.

Seth Perry (PHD'13) will be Visiting Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Indiana University.

Miles Hopgood (MDV'13) will be continuing his studies at Princeton Theological Seminary.

Celeste Kennel-Shank Groff (MDV'13) will be doing chaplaincy and other ministry work, as well as editing work, in and around Chicago.

Krista Kutz (MDV'13) is the Director of Liturgy at Old St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Chicago.

Nadia Stefko (MDV'13) will be Assistant Farm Manager at Sandhill Family Farms in Grayslake, IL.

Adam Varner (MDV'13) will be an Intern at Concordia Lutheran Church in Chicago.

Amy M Dabbouseh (AM'13) is Musician//DJ Producer/Radio Show Host/ and CMO of Eagle Rail TransEnergy Corp.

Jennifer Dixon (AM'13) will be Marketing Promotions Coordinator at Liturgy Training Publications.

Janna Gonwa (AM'13) will be starting doctoral studies in theology at Yale University.

Jue Liang (AM'13) will be starting doctoral studies at the University of Virginia.

We were sad to hear that Robert Leonard Powers (AM'69) died April 23.  Powers began his studies in psychology at the Alfred Adler Institute (now the Adler School of Professional Psychology) where he earned a certificate in psychotherapy under the direction of Dr. Rudolf Dreikurs. Continuing at the University of Chicago, he completed a master's degree in religion and personality. He joined the faculty of the Adler School, taught at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, Evanston, IL, counseled former prisoners at St. Leonard's House, and for fifteen years counseled families monthly in a public setting at the Adler School. In 1995, he was designated Distinguished Service Professor by the School. He retired as professor emeritus.  Powers was a board member of the Illinois Division of the American Civil Liberties Union, president of the Chicago Chapter of the Episcopal Society for Cultural and Racial Unity, and was in Selma, AL with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., during the civil rights struggle. He served as president of the Chicago Psychological Association (now the Illinois Psychological Association) and as president of the North American Society of Adlerian Psychology (NASAP).  He is survived by his wife of 34 years, Jane Serrill Griffith, a licensed clinical counselor. Together, they conducted a private practice in Chicago, taught at the Adler School, coauthored articles and texts in the psychology of Alfred Adler, and traveled widely in the U.S. and abroad, teaching and lecturing. In 2011, at its annual conference, NASAP presented the society's Lifetime Achievement Award to them jointly for their contributions to Adlerian psychology.


Posted March 22, 2013

William N. Savage (THM'68, DMN'76) is President of WaterAfrica.  WaterAfrica's fundraising supports World Vision's Water, Sanitation & Hygiene program in Zambia. (ZWASH)

Patricia Cox Miller (AM'72, PHD'79) is now Professor Emerita of Syracuse University.

Mary White, OSB (AM'00) is Advisor to the Prioress at St. Paul's Monastery in St. Paul, MN.  She is a former Director of the Benedictine Center and of the Benedictine Meditation Center.  She will be continuing her ministry outreach with the poor and marginalized.

Daniel Thomas Moser (AM'72) is Director of Worship and Spiritual Life at the Bay View Association in Quakertown, PA.

Tracie B. Guy-Decker (AM'02) is Marketing and Communications Director at the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, Virginia.

Amanda E. Guthrie (MDV'12) is Minister of Congregational Development & Spiritual Formation at the Hyde Park Union Church and also Adoption Chaplain at the University of Chicago Hospital.

Sarah Clymer (AM'07) is the U.S. Vice Consul at the United States Embassy in Chile.


Posted March 1, 2013

Loren Lybarger (PHD'02) is now Associate Professor in the Department of Classics and World Religions at Ohio University.

Charles Orville Onstott III (AM'93) is CTO Enterprise and Mission IT at Science Applications International Corporation.

Robert G. Moore III (AM'99) is Asst. Vice President, Advancement Systems at the University of Richmond.

Nicole E. Ream-Sotomayor (AM'08) is Foreign Languages Cataloging Specialist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Karen E. Knutson (THM'71, DMN'72) is pastor at St. Peter and St. Paul Lutheran Church.

Arthur E. Puotinen (AM'69, PHD'73) is now Head Pastor at Bethlehem Lutheran Church.

Jason Frederick Hellberg (AM'96) is Manager, Retail Testing & Advanced Analytics for Starbucks Corporation.


Posted February 22, 2013

Madison McClendon (MDV'12) is now a Development Associate for the University of Chicago.


Posted February 11, 2013

Katherine Elizabeth Hines-Shah (MDV'01) is the new pastor at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Hinsdale, IL.

Michael Karunas (MDV'98) is the Senior Pastor at Central Christian Church in Decatur, IL.

Kristin E. Boyce (AM'94, PHD'10 HUM) is now an ACLS New Faculty Fellow in the Humanities Center at Johns Hopkins University.

Brian Collins (AM'03, PHD'10) will become the Drs. Ram and Sushila Gawande Chair in Indian Religion and Philosophy at Ohio University this August. 

Matthew Petrusek (current PHD candidate) has accepted a position of Assistant Professor in Theological Studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, CA beginning in August.

Anthony Cerulli (PHD'07) has recently published Somatic Lessons (SUNY Press, November 2012).  Cerulli is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Asian Studies at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

Ellen Davina Haskell (AM'99, PHD,05) has recently published Suckling at My Mother’s Breasts: The Image of a Nursing God in Jewish Mysticism (SUNY Press, November 2012).  Haskell is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

We are saddened to report that the Rev. Dr. Donald L. Berry (DB'50), died on January 15, at home in Hamilton NY. He was the Harry Emerson Fosdick Professor of Philosophy and Religion, emeritus, at Colgate University and an Episcopal priest in the Diocese of Central New York. A requiem mass was celebrated at St. Thomas' Church in Hamilton on January 25, by Bishop Gladstone Adams with Colgate alumnus and former trustee the Rev. Dr. Roger Ferlo preaching. The full obituary is here.  To receive a copy of Dr. Ferlo's sermon, contact Wanda Warren Berry, Professor of Philosophy and Religion, emerita, at Colgate ( ).


Posted January 29, 2012

T.L. Brink (AM'74, PHD'78) is still professor of psychology at Crafton Hills College. He recently co-authored the 7th edition of the world religions textbook, Ways to the Center (Cengage, 2013).

Rebecca Chopp (PHD'83) became President of Swarthmore College in August 2012.

John R. Van Eenwyk (PHD'81) has recently published Clinical Chaos: The Strange Attractors of Childhood Trauma (2013, Toronto, Inner City Books).  The book combines chaos theory and Jungian psychology to explore the psychodynamics of unconscious adaptation. Case studies illustrate how to identify and to integrate those childhood adaptations that spontaneously deploy in situations that resemble the original trauma. Bringing such unconscious contents into consciousness is only half of the story, however. Consciousness must also learn how to negotiate the chartless territory of the unconscious. The book describes how to do just that.

Bill Wassner (AM'82, DMN'85) is now Senior Pastor at Port Orange United Church of Christ, in Port Orange, Florida.

Blake Wentworth (AM'98, PHD'11) is Assistant Professor in the Dept. of South and Southeast Asian Studies at the University of California at Berkeley.

Marcia Bunge (AM'79, PHD'86) has been named the Bernhardson Distinguished Endowed Chair in Lutheran Studies at Gustavus Adolphus College.


Posted January 15, 2013

Emilie Townes (AM'79, DMN'82) has been named the new Dean of Vanderbilt Divinity School, starting in July 2013.  An ordained American Baptist clergywoman, Townes is currently the Andrew W. Mellon professor of African-American religion and theology at Yale Divinity School. Her research focuses on Christian ethics, womanist ethics, critical social theory, and cultural theory and studies.

Michael Sohn (AM'05, PHD'12) is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, sponsored by École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) and funded by La Fondation de l'Oratoire du Louvre and l'Institut protestant de théologie (IPT), at Le Fonds Ricoeur in Paris, France, 2012-13.

Adrienne Martin (MDV'12) is now Children's Ministry Coordinator at St. John's Lutheran Church in Salisbury, NC.

Armand H. Matheny Antommaria (PHD'00) is now Lee Ault Carter Chair in Pediatric Ethics &  Director of the Cincinnati Child Health Ethics Center at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.


Posted December 21, 2012

Joanne Robinson (PHD'96) is the 2012 recipient of the highest teaching honor bestowed by UNC Charlotte, the Bank of America Award for Teaching Excellence.  Robinson is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at UNC Charlotte.  


Ross Aden (THM'71, DMN'72) recently published Religion Today:  A Critical Thinking Approach to Religious Studies (Rowman and Littlefield, 2013). This textbook introduces the basic concepts and methods of the study of religion by engaging its readers in problem solving on current issues of religion. The book is the result of over ten years of teaching Religious Studies in the Philosophy Department of Rock Valley College, Rockford, IL as Associate Professor. Aden taught at Carthage College, Kenosha, WI and other colleges and served parishes in Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. He retired from Rock Valley College in 2011 and continues to serve as priest of Christ the Savior Orthodox Church, Rockford.

J. Albert Harrill (MA'89, PHD'93) has published a new book, Paul the Apostle: His Life and Legacy in Their Roman Context (Cambridge University Press, 2012), a controversial antibiography of the apostle.  Harrill is Professor in the Department of Classics at Ohio State University.

Barkley Thompson (AM'98) has accepted the call to be the ninth dean and 20th rector of Christ Church Cathedral in Houston in the Diocese of Texas. Thompson has served as rector of St. John's Episcopal Church in Roanoke, Va., since 2007. He will assume his new role in February of next year.  


Posted October 15, 2012


Craig Barnes (PHD'92) has been named the President of Princeton Theological Seminary as well as as professor of pastoral ministry, effective January 1, 2013.  


Laura Jennison Reed (MDV'12) was ordained August 12 at North Hill Christian Church, Spokane, Washington. She is now serving as Assistant to the Dean at the Disciples Divinity House.  

John Cheadle Rich (MDV'04) graduated in April from the University of Southern Indiana with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. In June, he passed the state boards to become a Registered Nurse and is working as a Nurse Resident at Deaconess Hospital in Evansville, Indiana. He and wife Amy Rich continue to serve as Co-Executive Directors of Patchwork Central, a nonprofit ministry operating near downtown Evansville. See or the Patchwork Central blog.


Posted October 8, 2012


Aristotle Papanikolaou (PHD'98) recently published The Mystical as Political:  Democracy and Non-Radical Orthodoxy (University of Notre Dame Press, 2012).  He is Professor of Theology and
Co-Founding Director of the Orthodox Christian Studies Center at Fordham University.

 Jo Preuninger Forrest (MDV'10) is now the Associate Minister for Congregational Care at Kenilworth Union Church in Kenilworth, IL.  She will be ordained to the Presbyterian ministry on December 2nd.

On September 9 Brittany Barber  (MDV'99, AM'99 SSA) was installed as the minister of First Congregational United Church of Christ in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

Andrew Packman (MDV'12) was ordained a minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) on August 19 at First Christian Church, Centralia, Illinois. Michael Karunas (MDV'98), Senior Minister of Central Christian Church, Decatur, Illinois, preached.  Packman is a PHD student in the Divinity School.

Brent Reynolds (MDV'00) has been called to be Director of the Florida Christian Center, Jacksonville, Florida, a ministry site of the National Benevolent Association.


Posted July 30, 2012

Rev. Homer Bain (PHD'71) received an honorary doctorate in pastoral leadership from Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas on May 13, 2011. Rev. Bain is the emeritus Director of Education for the Ecumenical Center for Religion and Health in San Antonio, and served as pastor of several United Methodist churches. He has published in the area of pastoral counseling and family therapy and has been an adjunct faculty member at OST. He founded the Metropolitan Congregational Alliance in San Antonio, now MetroAlliance.

Kelly Hayes (AM'96, PHD'04) published Holy Harlots: Femininity, Sexuality, and Black Magic in Brazil (University of California Press) in 2011; the book includes a DVD of her documentary film Slaves of the Saints.  In fall 2012, she will be a visiting professor at the Universidade Estadual do Rio de Janeiro in conjunction with a Fulbright grant for U.S. scholars. As part of her Fulbright project, she will be researching the Valley of the Dawn, a new Brazilian religion founded in 1968.

Joel S. Kaminsky (MA'84, HD'03), Professor in the Department of Religion at Smith College, is the coauthor (with Joel N. Lohr) of the recently published The Torah: A Beginner’s Guide (Oneworld Publications, 2011). The book examines the Torah through Jewish, Christian, and modern critical viewpoints. The authors explore the key debates surrounding how the two religions share this common scripture, while simultaneously illustrating the importance of the Torah in western jurisprudence, ethics, and contemporary conceptions of the family, morality, and politics.

Rev. Jesse Knox, III (MDV'89) was installed as the senior minister of the Church of the Good Shepherd, Congregational United Church of Christ, in Chicago on June 12, 2011.

Robert N. McCauley (MA'75), Director of the Center for Mind, Brain, and Culture and William Rand Kenan Jr. University Professor of Philosophy at Emory University, has recently published Why Religion is Natural and Science is Not (Oxford University Press, 2011). The book offers an examination and comparison of the cognitive foundations of religion and science, exploring in its final chapter seven surprising consequences, including the propositions that theological incorrectness is inevitable and that some human beings have minds for which religion inescapably proves baffling.

Aristotle Papanikolaou (PHD'98) was promoted to full professor in the Department of Theology at Fordham University. In February 2012, he received the Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in the Humanities. He was also recently awarded a Sabbatical Grant for Researchers from the Louisville Institute for his current project: The Ascetics of War: The Undoing and Redoing of Virtue.

Stephen G. Post (PHD'83) is Professor of Preventive Medicine, Chair of the Division of Medicine in Society, and Director of the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics at Stony Brook University School of Medicine. His recent book, The Hidden Gifts of Helping (Jossey-Bass, 2011), was listed on the nonfiction bestseller list of the Wall Street Journal in May 2011. Post remains President of the Institute for Research on Unlimited Love, and a Trustee of the John Templeton Foundation.

Katherine Raley (MDV'12, AM'12 SSA) was ordained June 23 at First Christian Church, Columbia, South Carolina. She has been called to serve as Associate Minister of First Christian Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where Chuck Blaisdell (AM'77) is the Senior Minister.

Stephen Rowe (THM'69, AM'70, PHD'74), Professor of Philosophy and Liberal Studies at Grand Valley State University, has published Overcoming America/America Overcoming: Can We Survive Modernity? (Lexington Books, 2011). The book shows how the current problems plaguing America are symptomatic of the fact that America has been overtaken by the modern values that she exported to the rest of the world.

Rebecca Schorsch (PHD'03) together with her husband, received the Dr. Tikva Frymer-Kensky Award for Distinguished Alumni from the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) on May 24, 2011. The award honors graduates whose professional and personal achievements reflect the values of JTS and celebrate the scholarship exemplified by the late Dr. Tikva Frymer-Kensky.

Emilie M. Townes (MA'79, DMN'82), Andrew W. Mellon Professor of African American Religion and Theology at Yale Divinity School, has joined The Fund for Theological Education (FTE) Board of Trustees. Five accomplished leaders in theological education, ministry and scholarship have become new trustees, elected by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS). FTE is a national, ecumenical organization dedicated to supporting a new generation of diverse young Christian leaders who renew the church and change the world through vocations in pastoral ministry and theological scholarship.

Ian J. McCrae (BD'50) died on May 12, 2011, at Belton Research Hospital in the greater Kansas City area. A memorial service was held on Monday, May 16, at Saint Andrew Christian Church in Olathe, Kansas. He is survived by Cynthia McCrae, his wife of sixty years, and their five children, plus grandchildren, extended family, and many dear friends. A native of Canada who earned his A.B. from the University of Toronto, Ian James McCrae received his B.D. in 1950 from the University of Chicago as a Disciples Divinity House Scholar. In Chicago, he met Cynthia Rice, who was a student at Chicago Theological Seminary.  They married and had five children. He received his S.T.M. from Yale Divinity School in 1958; in 2006 he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree by Christian Theological Seminary. In 2007, he was given the Distinguished Alumnus Award by Disciples Divinity House, which commended him “for a lifetime of service across the breadth of the church as advocate, educator, minister, and colleague, as provoker of questions and change, and as lover of God, neighbors, and strangers” and for his “keen mind, clear vision, and sharp wit and for vistas of mercy and justice opened because of them; for mentoring persons in ministry, amidst the priesthood of all believers; and for a life of faith that melds and models conviction, integrity, honesty, and humility.” An educator, ethicist, and change agent, McCrae directed denominational efforts in human rights, economic justice, and global awareness for nearly thirty years, and also served in campus ministry and as a seminary professor. More recently, he was the Volunteer Assisting Minister at Saint Andrew Christian Church, where among other things, he had an important mentoring role with a new generation of Disciples House Scholars.


Posted July 16, 2012

John Carlson (AM'99, PHD'05) and Jonathan Ebel (AM'99, PHD'04) have published From Jeremiad to Jihad: Religion, Violence, and America which explores the critical, historical, and normative connections between religion and violence within the American context.  With a team of scholars, they have aimed to write a nuanced, multi-disciplinary treatment of the religious and violent intersections in American history.  Carlson is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and  Associate Director, Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict, at Arizona State University and Ebel is Asst. Professor of American Religion at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Werner Jeanrond (PHD'84) is the new Master of St Benet's Hall in Oxford.  This is a smaller College owned by a Benedictine Trust associated with Ampleforth Abbey. Jeanrond shall be the first lay master ever in Oxford in any of the religiously owned colleges. The College teaches humanities and social science subjects, and Jeanrond is charged to develop its postgraduate activities.

Jessica DeCou (PHD'12) will be Visiting Lecturer in Systematic Theology at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary beginning this August.

Nancy D. Arnison (PHD'12) is Executive Director of the Theological Book Network, based in Grand Rapids, MI.

Carrie Dohe (PHD'12) has moved to Germany and is self-employed.

Anne Mocko (PHD'12) will be Assistant Professor of Asian Religions­­ at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN.

Santiago Pinon, Jr. (PHD'12) is Assistant Professor of Religion at Texas Christian University.

Laura Reed (MDV'12) is now Assistant to the Dean of Disciples Divinity House.

Ellie Krasne (AM'12) is an Associate at Grosvenor Capital Management, L.P. in Chicago, IL.