The 20 members of the inaugural class of the Wake Forest University Divinity School, which graduated in 2002, have partnered together to establish an endowed fund known as the Inaugural Class Scholarship Fund.
Each member of the inaugural class has agreed to contribute to the fund, which will be used to provide a scholarship or scholarships for students attending the Divinity School.
“We were interested in making sure that we left a legacy through a scholarship fund that would provide encouragement for students to come to Wake Forest Divinity School,” said Peggy Matthews, a member of the inaugural class. “When we agreed to come to the Divinity School, we were really charting new territory. We want the school to continue to provoke students to be out front as leaders and prophetic voices. This fund says that we believe in the Divinity School.”
Students in the Divinity School’s inaugural class entered the three-year master of divinity program in 1999. The men and women of the first class came to the school from six different states and represented seven denominations. The graduates have gone on to diverse careers in teaching, ministry and public service.
The Divinity School curriculum includes instruction in traditional seminary subjects like biblical studies, church history, theology, homiletics (the art of preaching), spirituality and pastoral care taught by full-time Divinity School faculty. Because the school is set within the larger context of the university, students are also able to study under other Wake Forest faculty. Divinity students have taken courses in the religion and classics departments, at the School of Law and in Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center’s Clinical Pastoral Education program.
“The purpose of this scholarship is to attest to the community that was built by that first class,” said Bradley Tharpe, a member of the inaugural class. “We want to pay tribute to the adventurous spirit of the first class and the faculty. Our class has decided to make this unified commitment because we have always, from the first day at the Divinity School, felt like that we were working together.”
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