Alumni News 2013-2014

Posted October 21, 2013

In 2010, James A. Kelhoffer (MA'96, PhD'99) moved from Saint Louis University (Missouri) to the Faculty of Theology at Uppsala University (Sweden), where he was appointed as the Professor of New Testament Exegesis. In the same year, he published a monograph on persecution and identity formation utilizing Bourdieusian theory: Persecution, Persuasion and Power: Readiness to Withstand Hardship as a Corroboration of Legitimacy in the New Testament (Tübin­gen: Mohr Siebeck, 2010). He also edited, with fellow alumni Stephen P. Ahearne-Kroll (PhD'05) and Paul A. Holloway (PhD'98), Women and Gender in Ancient Religions: Interdisciplinary Approaches (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2010), a volume honoring former Divinity School professor Adela Yarbro Collins. He also edited, with Jörg Frey and Franz TóthDie Johannesapokalypse: Kon­texte – Konzepte – Rezeption (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2012). Since 2011, Kelhoffer serves, with Divinity School professor Hans-Josef Klauck inter alii, as an associate editor (Mitherausgeber) for the monograph series Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament (Verlag Mohr Siebeck). 

Maria Antonaccio (MA’85, PHD’96) has been appointed Presidential Professor of Religion at Bucknell University.  Her most recent book, A Philosophy to Live By:  Engaging Iris Murdoch (Oxford University Press), was published in 2012.

Tessa McBrayer (MDiv'13) is now Chaplain Resident with Presence Health Systems and working at St. Joseph Hospital in Lincoln Park.

Topher Elderkin (MDiv'13) is also a Chaplain Resident with Presence Health Systems and working at Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center.

Joshua Oxley (MDiv'13) is the new Program Administrator for the International Studies program in the College at the University of Chicago.

Christian Williams (MDiv'13) is working on a PhD in clinical psychology at U of I in Champaign Urbana.

Posted October 1, 2013

Don Pittman (PhD’87) retired on July 31 from Phillips Theological Seminary as Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean and as the William Tabbernee Professor of the History of Religions.

Jennifer Kottler (MDiv ’03) has founded SEED (Spiritual Energy Engagement and Direction) to provide professional life and leadership coaching services to individuals, organizations, and faith communities who are seeking to transform the way they are working. 

Alan Verskin (MA'04) published Oppressed in the Land? Fatwas on Muslims Living under Non-Muslim Rule from the Middle Ages to the Present (Princeton: Markus Wiener Publishers, 2013). The book showcases diverse reflections by major Muslim thinkers on the political, social, and theological ramifications of living in countries with non-Muslim governments. Verskin is assistant professor of Islamic and Mediterranean Studies at the University of Rhode Island.

Sandhya Jha (MDiv’05) is now  Director of the Oakland Peace Center and Director of Interfaith Programs for the East Bay Housing Organization in Oakland, CA.

Alexis Vaughan (MDiv’12) was ordained on Sept 14 and is now the Associate Minister for Christian Education at Westmoreland Congregational UCC in Bethesda, MD.

Jacqueline Clark (MDiv'12) is now Assistant Rector at St. Elizabeth's Church in Sudbury, MA.

Posted September 16, 2013

H. Byron Earhart (PhD'65) has just published the fifth edition of Religion in Japan:  Unity and Diversity (Cengage Learning, 2013).  This standard text explores religion in Japan as a complex tapestry of different religious strands, reflecting both the unity and diversity of Japanese culture, a theme Earhart pioneered in the first edition (1969) of this classic book.  Tracing the development of religious traditions from the prehistoric era through modern times, Earhart explores the vital influence of Shinto, Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism, and folk religion.  This new edition updates the description and interpretation of the entire history of religion in Japan in light of the latest developments in the field.

Robert H. Keller (BD'61, MA'62, PhD'67), Professor Emeritus at Western Washington University, attended the Seventh Annual Vine Deloria Indigenous Studies Symposium at the Lummi Campus of Northwest indian College in July, 2012. There he gave a presentation recounting his forty-year friendship with the American Indian author, theologian, historian, and activist Vine Deloria, Jr. Keller also recently completed a two-year lecture program for Humanities Washington on the topic "Reconciling the Past: Japanese-American Removal in World War II."

Robert Randall (MA'69, PhD'73) has published a new e-book entitled The Thinking Ministry of Jesus:  Casting Out Logs for Renewing Church Life.  His new website is

Dale Goldsmith (MA'64, PhD'73) recently published Speaking of Dying: Recovering the Church's Voice in the Face of Death (Brazos Press, 2012), with coauthors Fred Craddock and Joy V. Goldsmith. The book critiques the failure of Christians to communicate healthily about dying and reminds the church of scriptural, Christological, and pastoral resources to strengthen its ministry to the dying.

Alan L. Berger (MA'70), Raddock Family Eminent Scholar Chair for Holocaust Studies at Florida Atlanta University, is the editor ofTrialogue and Terror:  Judaism, Christianity, and Islam after 9/11 (Cascade Books, 2012). The volume addresses the promise and peril of post-9/11 interfaith dialogue.  In fifteen essays, distinguished scholars of different faiths and divergent world views guide readers toward an informed understanding of the role of religion and the basic teachings of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in the aftermath of the September 11 terror attacks on the United States.

Susan A. Ross (MA'76, PhD'82), Professor and Chair of the Department of Theology at Loyola University Chicago, assumed the presidency of the Catholic Theological Society of America in June, 2012. Additionally, her book Anthropology: Seeking Light and Beauty was published by Liturgical press in May 2012. Ross also serves on the Board of Trustees of Manhattanville College, where she did her undergraduate degree.

Richard B. Miller (PhD'85) is professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Indiana University and Director of the Poynter Center for the Study of Ethics and American Institutions. He was named Provost Professor and awarded the 2011 Tracy Sonneborn prize. His book Terror, Religion, and Liberal Thought (Columbia, 2010) was selected as a 2011 Choice Outstanding Academic Title.

Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore (MA'80, PhD'86), the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of Pastoral Theology at Vanderbilt University, has completed two publications with support of a sabbatical grant for researchers from the Louisville institute. The titles areChristian Theology in Practice: Discovering a Discipline (Eerdmans, 2012) and The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Practical Theology (Wiley/Blackwell, 2012). She also recently completed her tenure as president of The International Acadamy of Practical Theology, where she served from 2009–2011.

James W. Lewis (PhD'87), who served as Dean of Students at the Divinity School from 1980–1991, retired as Executive Director of the Louisville Institute at LPTS (Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary) in the summer of 2012. Lewis was the Institute's first Executive Director and served for twenty years, developing a national center for the support of research and leadership education on North American religion. During that time, the work of the institute supported through grants at least 141 dissertations, 182 books, and 315 books.

Susan Hill (MA'86, PhD'93, Religion and Literature) has been named Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, at the University of Northern Iowa, where she is also Professor of Religion.

Joel Kaminsky (MA'84, PhD'93) recently co-edited (with Gary Anderson) an anthology in honor of Jon D. Levenson's 65th birthday. Professor Levenson, currently the Albert A. List Professor of Jewish Studies at Harvard, taught Hebrew Bible at the University of Chicago Divinity School for much of the 1980's. The book is entitled The Call of Abraham: Essays on the Election of Israel in Honor of Jon D. Levenson (University of Notre Dame Press, 2013). This volume contains contributions from a number of Divinity School graduates including Kevin Madigan (Harvard Divinity School), Mark Reasoner (Marian University), Brooks Schramm (Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg), and Joel Kaminsky (Smith College).  

Mark Mattes (PhD'95), Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Grand View University, is the cotranslator of Klaus Schwarzwällers’Cross and Resurrection: God’s Wonder and Mystery (Fortress, 2012) and Oswald Bayer’s A Contemporary in Dissent: Johann Georg Hamann as a Radical Enlightener (Eerdmans, 2012).

Michael Cameron (PhD'96) has published Christ Meets Me Everywhere: Augustine's Early Figurative Exegesis (Oxford Studies in Historical Theology, Oxford University Press, 2012). The book is the subject of a joint session of the AAR's Augustine and Augustinianisms Group and the SBL's History of Interpretation Section at the 2013 annual meeting in Baltimore. He currently serves as Associate Professor of Historical Theology at the University of Portland in Oregon.

Dan McKanan (PhD'98) has published Prophetic Encounters: Religion and the American Radical Tradition, with Beacon press. In it, McKanan challenges simple distinctions between “religious” and “secular” activism, showing that religious beliefs and practices have been integral to every American movement promoting liberty, equality, and solidarity. He is Ralph Waldo Emerson Unitarian Universalist Association Senior Lecturer at Harvard Divinity School.

Kelly Hayes (MA'96, PhD'04) joined the Universidade Estadual do rio de Janeiro as a visiting professor for fall 2012, in conjunction with a Fulbright grant for U.S. scholars.  As part of her Fulbright project, she is researching the Valley of the Dawn, a new Brazilian religion founded in 1968. She is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis.

Jon Ebel (MA'99, PhD'04) was awarded tenure at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and is now Associate Professor of American Religion. He was also awarded the Helen Corley Petit prize for the best tenure dossier in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Yvonne Gilmore (MDiv'06) has been named Associate Dean of Disciples Divinity House, effective September 30.  See the full announcement here.

Thandiwe Gobledale (MDiv'13) was ordained a minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) on August 25, 2013, at First Christian Church in Greensboro, North Carolina.  She is now CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) Resident Chaplain at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois.

Posted September 5, 2013

Alden Matthews (DB'46) published My Three Worlds (AuthorHouse), an autobiography with a sub-theme of Christian missions in the 20th century in China and Japan.  He served the American Board of Commissioners of Foreign Missions in Fuzhou, China (1947-1950) and in Japan (1952-1986).

Jennifer G. Jesse (PhD'97) has published William Blake's Religious Vision: There's a Methodism in his Madness (Lexington Books, 2013). She currently serves as chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Truman State University.

C. David Hein (MA'77) has published three articles that deal with religion and ethics during the Second World War: "In War for Peace: General George C. Marshall's Core Convictions and Ethical Leadership," Touchstone 26, no. 2 (March 2013): 41–48; "Counterpoint to Combat: The Education of Airborne Commander James M. Gavin," Army 63, no. 7 (July 2013): 49–52; and "Vulnerable: HMS Prince of Wales in 1941," Journal of Military History 77, no. 3 (July 2013): 955–89.  He is currently Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Hood College.

Dina Mostafa (MA'13) does legal research with Public International Law & Policy Group (PILPG) in Cairo, Egypt. PILPG is "a global pro bono law firm that provides legal assistance to states and governments with the negotiation and implementation of peace agreements, the drafting of post-conflict constitutions, and the creation and operation of war crimes tribunals." In Egypt, it is primarily focused on providing consultation with regards to constitutional and legislative drafting. Thus, she is helping to draft her country's new constitution.

Posted August 30, 2013

John O. Hodges (PhD'80, Religion and Literature) has recently published Delta Fragments:  The Recollections of a Sharecropper's Son (The University of Tennessee Press, June 2013). The book which is part autobiography and part critical essay examines Hodges's early life growing up in the Mississippi Delta town of Greenwood, where he was the son of black sharecroppers and attended segregated schools.   He is now Associate Professor Emeritus in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

Aristotle Papanikolaou (PhD'98) was appointed the Archbishop Demetrios Chair of Orthodox Theology and Culture at Fordham University.

Wesley Sun (MDiv'08) is now Director of Field Education and Community Engagement at the University of Chicago Divinity School.

Karl Lampley (PhD'12, Theology) has just published A Theological Account of Nat Turner: Christianity, Violence, and Theology (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).  He is currently working as an adjunct faculty lecturer at Santa Clara University in California and serving in ministry at Downs Memorial United Methodist Church in Oakland, California while seeking ordination in the United Methodist Church. 

Sam Brody (PhD'13, History of Judaism) will be Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Judaic Studies at the University of Cincinnati.

John Howell (PhD'13, Religion and Literature) is now Coordinator for Recruiting and Admissions at the University of Chicago Divinity School.

Michael Turner (PhD'13, Religious Ethics) will be a part-time instructor at Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville, GA.

McKinna Daugherty (MDiv'13) is now Minister in Residence at Central Christian Church in Lexington, KY.

Celeste Groff (MDiv'13) is now interim director of spiritual care for the Gilead Ministry of Hyde Park Union Church at Jackson Park Hospital.

Daniel Bannoura (MA'13) is now at the Bethlehem Study Center in Beit Sahour, The West Bank, Israel.

Ryan Brizendine (MA'13) will be continuing his studies at Yale University.