Alumni of the Year

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.



About the Award

Every year, the Baptist Theological Union presents the Divinity School Alum of the Year Award to a Divinity School graduate. Our process for 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

The nominating process is currently closed.

Nominations should include a letter addressed to the Alumni Council sent as an e-mail attachment to Barbara Palmer-Bostick at  . Please note that an e-mail message is not sufficient. A formal letter of nomination, sent as an email attachment, is required. 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.

Thank you for your thoughtful consideration and participation.


1999  Lisa Sowle Cahill
1998  Elbert Cole
1997  Rebecca Chopp
1996  John Buchanan
1995  Peter J. Paris
1994  James Gustafson
1993  Schubert M. Ogden
1992  Philip S. Y. Shen
1991  Catherine L. Albanese
1990  Larry L. Greenfield



1989  Marilyn Chapin Massey
1988  Douglas E. Sturm
1987  Jay P. Dolan
1986  Jaroslav Pelikan
1985  John B. Cobb, Jr.
1984  Charles Houston Long
1983  Robert T. Handy
1982  Marjorie Hyer
1981  Winthrop Still Hudson
1980  Jill Raitt


1979  F. Dean Lueking
1978  Massey Hamilton Shepherd
1977  James Luther Adams
1976  Charles R. Feldstein
1975  William A. Johnson
1974  Paul Hunter Beckelhymer
1973  Bernard Mac Dougall Loomer
1972  William Grant Black
1971  Christopher C. Smith
1970  Bernard E. Meland



1969  Ernest C. Colwell
1968  Huston C. Smith
1967  Sidney E. Mead
1966  Adam D. Beittel
1965  John Knox
1964  Anna Borothy Wylie
1963  Winfred Ernest Garrison
1962  Oren Huling Baker
1961  John T. McNeill
1960  Christian Bert Jensen

1959  Eugene Exman
1958  John Burt Bouwman
1957  Charles T. Holman
1956  Charles Conrad Browne
1955  Robert Theodore Handy
1954  William Henry Bernhardt
1953  Frances Helen Mains
1952  Leonard Mallery Outerbridge
1951  Harold A. Bosley
1950  Herbert Winston Hansen


1949  Benjamin E. Mays
1948  Edgar J. Goodspeed
1947  Roy A. Burkhart