A school is sold, a foundation is launched

Trustees of the Cook School for Christian Leadership have announced that they will sell their 16-acre campus in Tempe, Arizona, and that the proceeds will create the Charles H. Cook Foundation. The announcement indicates that all programs of the school, which was founded to provide ministerial training to American Indians, will continue as part of the new foundation.

Students of the Cook School for Christian Leadership
(Cook School)

The decision was the culmination of a six-month study that explored several options, including plans to renovate and rebuild the campus. Dwindling enrollment and sharply lower financial support led to the decision, said president Larry Norris.

Affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA), the school has a prized American Indian library which may be donated to an Arizona or national Presbyterian historical collection.

Regions University now Amridge University

Regions University, a Church of Christ--affiliated school in Montgomery, Alabama, has changed its name to Amridge University. The university includes the Turner School of Theology, an associate member of the Association of Theological Schools.

The university began as the Alabama Christian School of Religion and later changed its name to Southern Christian University. In 2006 the name was changed to Regions University, but the university was subsequently sued for trademark infringement. To avoid further litigation, the name was changed again in 2008, this time to Amridge University.

Church of England seminarians face massive increase in tuition

In the United Kingdom, the Higher Education Funding Council is recommending an end to government funding for students taking a second university degree. British students typically pay tuition of £3,000 or less per year, with the bulk of education costs borne by government subsidies.

Church officials warn that the change in policy would adversely affect the Church of England, since three quarters of theological students are second-career students who previously earned university degrees in subjects other than theology.

Trainee nurses, teachers, and scientists have won exemptions from the fee increases, arguing that they are pursuing strategically important and socially desirable subjects. The government has resisted intense lobbying from the Church of England to add theology to the list of programs exempt from the new funding policy.

Changes at the top

Ellen Aitken
(McGill University)

■ The board of governors of McGill University, an English-language university in Montreal, has announced the appointment of the Rev. Ellen Aitken as dean of the faculty of religious studies.

Dr. Aitken began her academic career as assistant professor in New Testament studies at Harvard Divinity School. She has been a member of the faculty of religious studies at McGill since 2004, teaching in the area of early Christian history and literature. She holds degrees from Harvard and the University of the South, with training in folklore and mythology, the classics, and religious studies.

A member of McGill's Centre for Research on Religion, Dr. Aitken is also an honorary faculty member of the Montreal Diocesan Theological College, one of the schools (along with Presbyterian CollegeUnited Theological College, and McGill's religious studies faculty) that comprise the Montreal School of Theology. She was ordained in the Episcopal Church in 1986.

Denis Robinson
(Saint Meinrad)

■ Benedictine Father Denis Robinson has been appointed rector-president of Saint Meinrad School of Theology in St. Meinrad, Indiana. He succeeds Benedictine Father Mark O'Keefe, who is stepping down after 12 years at the helm of the school, which is operated by Saint Meinrad Archabbey, a monastery of the Order of St. Benedict.

Raised a Baptist, Father Robinson has served as assistant professor of systematic theology and executive assistant to the rector-president at Saint Meinrad since 2007. He previously was parochial vicar for the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Memphis, Tennessee. He attended Saint Meinrad College and School of Theology, as well as the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium.

Wendy J. Deichmann Edwards
(United Theological Seminary)

■ United Theological Seminary has announced its first woman president, the Rev. Wendy J. Deichmann Edwards. She was formerly academic dean and vice president of the school and had been serving as acting president since November, following last year's departure of former president G. Edwin Zeiders, who is now pastor of St. Paul's United Methodist Church in State College, Pennsylvania.

Dr. Edwards earned degrees from the State University of New York at Geneseo, Colgate Rochester Divinity School, and Drew University. She is an ordained elder in the Western New York Conference of the United Methodist Church.

The seminary, in Trotwood, Ohio, is one of 13 United Methodist seminaries in the United States.

Serene Jones
(Ronald Aubert)

■ Union Theological Seminary in New York has named the Rev. Serene Jones as its next president. She succeeds Joseph C. Hough Jr., who is retiring after leading the school since 1999.

Dr. Jones is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, Yale Divinity School, and Yale University. She is an ordained minister in both the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ, and has served on the faculty of Yale Divinity School for 17 years, most recently as Titus Street Professor of Theology. She is also chair of women, gender and sexuality studies at Yale.

Founded as a Presbyterian seminary in 1836, Union became nondenominational in the late 19th century following the heresy trial of one of its faculty members.

Michael A. Milton
(Reformed Theological Seminary)

■ The Rev. Michael A. Milton has been named president and professor of practical theology at the Charlotte, North Carolina, campus of Reformed Theological Seminary, a nondenominational evangelical school with a main campus in Jackson, Mississippi. He was formerly pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Chattanooga, Tennessee, and will continue to serve as a chaplain in the U.S. Army Reserves.

Dr. Milton earned degrees from MidAmerica Nazarene University, Knox Theological Seminary, and the University of Wales, Lampeter.

In addition to its Charlotte and Jackson campuses, Reformed Theological Seminary includes sites in Orlando, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C.

Mark J. Olson
(John Leland Center for Theological Studies)

■ The John Leland Center for Theological Studies in Arlington, Virginia, has named the Rev. Mark J. Olson as its second president. He replaces Randel Everett, who was recently elected executive director of the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

Dr. Olson was formerly pastor of Snyder Memorial Baptist Church in Fayetteville, North Carolina. He earlier served as pastor of Thalia Lynn Baptist Church in Virginia Beach and moderator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Virginia. He is a graduate of Wake Forest University, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and the University of Virginia. He and his wife, Linda, have two daughters.

The John Leland Center, named in honor of an 18th-century Baptist minister, graduated its first class in 2002 and received full accreditation from the Association of Theological Schools in 2006.

Richard A. Peddicord
(Aquinas Institute of Theology)

■ Dominican Father Richard A. Peddicord has been named the seventh president of Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, Missouri, succeeding Father Charles Bouchard.

Father Peddicord entered the Order of Preachers, or Dominicans, in 1980 and was ordained as a priest in 1986. He is a graduate of Aquinas College, Aquinas Institute of Theology, and St. Paul University in Ottowa, Ontario. Formerly chair of the theology department at a Dominican high school in Oak Park, Illinois, he joined the faculty of Aquinas Institute in 1994, most recently serving as professor of moral theology.

Aquinas Institute prepares members of religious orders for ordination and also offers master's degrees in theological studies to lay men and women, including Protestants.

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