School of Theology receives grant for Hispanic religious leadership initiative

The School of Theology has received a grant of $3.3 million from The Pew Charitable Trusts to support a program to develop Hispanic religious leadership by promoting Hispanic participation in theological education. It is the largest program grant in religion ever given by Pew.

The four-year grant, the largest in Candler's history, will be used by the seminary to administer and execute a program of financial support for Hispanic theology students and faculty at institutions across the nation. The grant will: provide scholarship support to highly talented master's level students; provide multi-year financial support for doctoral level theological students; provide support for ABD (all but dissertation) students for one year to complete their dissertations; and provide sabbatical funding to Hispanic faculty for research and writing projects.

Because the project will be administered and located at Emory, the seminary will be granted one master's level and one doctoral level scholarship each year. It also will provide funds to bring guest speakers or a visiting Hispanic scholar to the School of Theology.

"This is an important initiative for us because it brings us into conversation with Hispanic theologians and students, which is crucial since Hispanics are one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in the country," said Dean Kevin LaGree. "The program will help Candler be a more diverse institution and therefore better able to prepare people for ministry and scholarship in an increasingly diverse world."

Justo Gonzalez, a historian, writer and former member of the theology faculty, will serve as part-time executive director of the program. A search for a full-time program director and administrative assistant will begin soon.

"Each of the grant's components will incorporate a strategy for community building designed to mentor and network Hispanic scholars," said Gonzalez. "Although the primary focus of this project is the support and development of Hispanic scholars, the project will be managed in ways that seek to encourage institutions to provide a more supportive environment for Hispanics and other minorities."

-- Elaine Justice