A year ago this week I graduated from Union Theological Seminary in Richmond and Presbyterian School of Christian Education (Union-PSCE for short). I graduated with a Masters of Divinity (another step in the process for ordination in the Presbyterian Church (USA)).
Last month, Union-PSCE inaugurated a new president. Brian Blount, a well known New Testament scholar and former professor at Princeton Theological Seminary (no relation to THE Princeton University, but they won’t tell you that). At the time that the previous president Louis Weeks, a scholar in his own right, announced he was retiring I was the moderator of the Student Government Assembly (or SGA) at it was kind of a shock. I had already met all the trustees and they had met me. I had a good working relationship with the administration and the faculty. Luckily, we stayed on for my final year.
Near the end of that final year, they called a special reception to announce the new president. The campus was abuzz and I tried (in vain) to weasel any information out of search committee members, trustees, faculty, staff, anyone who might know I asked. (The good ol’ boy network is great when you are apart of it) No would give me any info they would just smile and say, “you’ll see.” (there were rumors that it was either a black man or a woman, unfortunately both big deals still)
In a packed Lingle Hall, the place where I had eaten lunch almost everyday for three years, they announced our new president. When they said his name, “Brian Blount”, I knew I
had heard that name before but I couldn’t place it. When Dr. Blount and his family walked out of the president’s dining room people leapt from their seats and applause, cheers, gasps of excitement, and a palpable energy filled the room. The students that I was standing with and I were giddy with excitement over the future.
Just then another friend of mine and Ph.D. student Raj Nadella (another remarkable scholar) said something to me that reminded me of where I had heard the name before. He said, “If I was making a list of the top five New Testament scholars in the world, Brian Blount would be on that list.” It clicked, I had actually read some of his work in class.
I have said all of that to say this. I am so excited for the future of my alma mater, as well as the future of the church (catholic).
I hope that I am ready. I hope that you are ready. I hope that we are ready.