July 10, 2000
Volume 52, No. 37
Theology institute honors Mallard
By Eric Rangus
For more than 40 years, Bill Mallard devoted his career to the Candler School of Theology. Now the school wants to repay its debt.
Mallard retired in May, and because of his service, the School of Theology has begun a campaign to rechristen the Lay Theology Institute the Bill Mallard Lay Theology Institute.
Mallard would be an ideal choice for such an honor. He joined the School of Theology in 1957 after earning a Ph.D. at Duke and teaching at Sweet Briar College. He received the Williams Distinguished Teaching Award in 1981 and the Jefferson Award in 1989.
He has long been one of the Candler School's most respected faculty. In an essay that appeared in the journal The Christian Century (and was reprinted in the Emory Report this past January) church history Professor Roberta Bondi wrote that Mallard was "a fabulously popular professor, full of intelligence, warmth, patience, fun and Christian commitment." Bondi and Mallard team taught the first semester of the History of Christian Thought for 21 years.
So far the campaign is moving along slowly. It kicked off on Honors Day in April, and the Candler School seniors held a silent auction that served as the first donation. To date $4,500 has been raised, but the effort is expected to be a long haul. The original plans call for a three-year process.
The campaign's goal is to raise $500,000, which will pay faculty, subsidize participant costs and travel expenses, introduce Candler's lay theology program to more churches and initiate learning through laity, which is a more informal way to study religion and faith.
Right now the insitute does all its work in metro Atlanta, but the hope is that the endowment will help widen its scope.
"We'd like to expand and do things in Birmingham or Miami and throughout the Southeast-take it on the road, so to speak," said Leigh Precise, associate director of development.
The institute is a series of courses taught by Candler faculty members as well as professionals from throughout the Atlanta community. It aims to help its students reach a greater understanding of their faith and the faith of the ecumenical community regardless of their individual denomination or academic background.
The Institute has been around since the late 1970's and this campaign is a way to keep it vibrant. "It needs to have some life injected into it," said Beth Luton Cook, director of the office of Church Ministries Education. "It's a great way to honor [Mallard] and promote the Lay Theology Institute."
Pledge forms are available online at www.emory.edu/CANDLER/DEVELOPMENT/mallard_lti_pledge.htm,
or contact the Candler development office at 404-727-6352.