As my season as your Interim President ends on July 31, I wanted to take this time to thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts, concerns, views and the uplifting news from ULS with you over these past eight months. Our world, our church and our lives have changed so much since then.
There were many events I had looked forward to that would have given us the opportunity to share a meal, a conversation, a laugh or a prayer in person. While I’m sad these things did not come to pass, I have been blessed instead with the chance to continue talking to you on the phone or converse via Zoom.
Despite the fact that in some ways, technology has driven us further apart, making it easier to resort to communication through email or text, rather than more personal conversation, when COVID-19 turned our world upside down, we worked together to stay in touch. Through many, many Zoom meetings, I was able to visit with groups of ULS students, alumni and friends on a shared screen. In some ways, this was a hidden blessing and an opportunity to learn more about some of you by meeting a spouse, partner, child, or at times, a pet.
Our Coffee & Conversation series with students had to move online in March, yet through technology, I was able to meet a newborn and share in the joy of parenthood. The online Q&A with alumni and Dean Sebastian was like a class reunion, with many so happy to see others from all over the country and share stories and memories. Our Zoom staff meetings were another opportunity to have both campuses come together – the most recent a chance to meet our President-Elect, Rev. Dr. R. Guy Erwin.
In these next weeks, I am focused on transitioning back to the position of Vice President for Institutional Advancement (and occasional teaching). In the meantime, I would deeply appreciate your prayers for smooth and safe travel for our incoming President and his family. God bless!
I am pleased to announce that Dr. J. Paul Rajashekar, Luther D. Reed Professor of Systematic Theology, has secured a $400,000 grant from Lilly Endowment, Inc. to support the annual Asian Theological Summer Institute over the next three years. This grant will enable the program to grow by adding faculty to its roster, provide field research support to students and increase the number of participants. ATSI is the only mentoring program for PhD/ThD students of Asian heritage studying in North America. Please join me in congratulating Dr. Rajashekar on this momentous accomplishment.
In other news, ULS is continuing its partnership with Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, allowing Master’s-level students at both institutions to take selected courses. This agreement was originally in place between RRC and LTSP and is now open to ULS students on either campus, including our Distributed Learning community. Founded in 1968, RRC, located in Wyncote, PA, is the sole seminary of the Reconstructionist movement. ULS students enrolled in the MDiv, MA, MAJS, MAHL, MAML and MAPL programs at either school are eligible to register for courses that are cross-listed beginning in Spring 2021.
My final newsletter will go out on July 31 but until then, please be well and stay safe.
Rev. Angela Zimmann, Ph.D., CFRE
Interim President, United Lutheran Seminary
President, United Lutheran Seminary Endowment Foundation
Adjunct Professor of Homiletics
United Lutheran Seminary