July 1, 2020

Dear Friends,

Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School embarks upon its 202nd fiscal year ever mindful that we have “come this far by faith”. The previous twelve months presented us with unusual circumstances in which to live our School’s core values – community, compassion, collaboration, flexibility, respect.

We said farewell to some members of our community and welcomed others. We give thanks for the contributions of Mrs. Barbara Hessdoerfer, Ms. Marge Meade, and Mr. W. Thomas McDade-Clay. We acknowledge Dr. David Yoon-Jung Kim’s contributions to students, the faculty, and the broader community as the Arthur J. Gosnell Associate Professor of Social Ethics. We celebrate the gifts and graces of The Reverend Dr. Stephanie Sauvé for her service to her alma mater as Vice President of Academic Life and Dean of the Faculty. We thank Mr. Peter Abdella, Rev. Dr. Amy Fowler, Rev. Dr. Alan Ragland, and Rev. Dr. Leonard Thompson for their service to the Board of Trustees. Joining us last year were Rev. Paula B. Blue, Executive Director of Institutional Effectiveness and Special Assistant to the President; Ms. Marisely Marte, Office Manager; Rev. Dr. Carey C. Newman, Trustee; Dr. Courtney Wiley-Harris, Vice President for Institutional Advancement; and Ms. Desirae Zingarelli-Sweet, Reference Librarian.

We adapted to unforeseen circumstances and celebrated accomplishments. A fall emphasis on strengthening the School’s infrastructure, with specific attention to technological enhancements and obtaining approval to participate in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) program to conduct distance education made it possible, in response to COVID-19, to transition in mid-March from on campus – to remote -instruction. Each instructor, student, and administrator is to be commended for their flexibility and continued active engagement in learning. Thank you for making a difference in the lives of our students and their families! Because of your generosity, we awarded 11 Student Emergency Fund grants last quarter. Your investment makes it possible for us to continue to provide financial assistance to students in a serious time of need.

We acknowledge Mrs. Polly Bush’s promotion to Director of Admissions, Dr. Mark Brummitt’s appointment as Assistant Dean of Students, Dr. Jin Young Choi’s promotion to full professor and appointment as the Baptist Missionary Training School Professorial Chair in Biblical Studies, Mrs. Patricia Keenahan’s promotion to Controller and Vice President of Administration, and Mr. Max Kurzdorfer’s promotion to Registrar and Financial Aid Associate. A highlight, in the midst of social distancing, was this year’s Baccalaureate. Organized by students, in collaboration with Dr. Brummitt, more than 90 persons attended this virtual celebratory worship. As a surprise to our 25 graduates, it was a joy to watch their expressions as Rev. Dr. Michael Ford, Chair of the Board of Trustees, conferred degrees and Dean Sauvé read each name.

Baccalaureate 2020, conferring degrees via Zoom

As we begin the 2020-2021 Fiscal Year, we welcome Dr. Deborah J. Rogers, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dr. Hilary Scarsella, Assistant Professor of Ethics and Director of Women and Gender Studies in Church and Society; Mr. Mike Schwabl and Ms. Kristin F. Zimar to the Board of Trustees; and, note the following changes in title Rev. Paula B. Blue, Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness; and Mrs. Patricia Keenahan, Vice President of Finance and Administration.

It is a joy to serve this community of learners that forms students in theological and multi-religious studies to serve, care, and advocate for all peoples and the earth. I begin my second year as President with deep appreciation for each of you. In the midst of uncertainty, our 2020-2021 theme is “This Far by Faith”. While none of us can predict what this year will bring, here at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School we are, in the words of the hymn writer, “leaning on the Lord and trusting in God’s holy Word” and simultaneously implementing a four-year strategic plan, A Time of New Beginnings, approved by the Board in May. As we remain faithful to CRCDS’ distinctive Christian identity, it is my hope that you will continue to pray with and for us and remain an active participant in the life of the School as we strive to become a seminary of and for the community committed to practices of peace, service, and justice.

Rev. Angela D. Sims, Ph.D.