Two Alumni Honored for Distinguished Service, Fellowships Awarded to Five Outstanding Graduating Seniors
Posted 02/08/2012 01:00AM

Austin Seminary Honors Two Alumni for Distinguished Service, Awards Fellowships to Five Outstanding Graduating Seniors

AUSTIN (February 8, 2012) – Rev. Ruben Armendáriz and Rev. Judith Henderson were honored as the 2012 Austin Seminary Association’s (ASA) Award for Service recipients for their dedication and outstanding service to the church and community. This honor is bestowed on outstanding Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary alumni each year during the ASA Banquet. Award recipients are nominated by their peers and community and selected by the ASA Awards Committee and Board. In addition, five senior fellowships were awarded to graduating seniors.

The Reverend Ruben Armendáriz served in the U.S. Navy before earning a Bachelor of Arts from The University of Texas at Austin and then a Master of Divinity from Austin Seminary in 1961. After seminary, he served as the organizing pastor of Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church in Dallas, then as the Priest-in-Charge at St. Martins Episcopal Church in Corpus Christi. Ruben was also on the staff of Presbytery Del Salvador in Corpus Christi, as well as the executive director of Hispanic American Institute in Austin.

His list of accomplishments also include teaching as a visiting professor, lecturer, and adjunct professor for the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Austin Seminary, and then McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, Illinois, where he served from 1975-1991. His tenure at McCormick included professor of ministry, the director of Hispanic Ministries Program, and then vice president for Seminary Operations and Relations.

Ruben returned to Texas in 1991 to lead the Divine Redeemer Presbyterian Church in San Antonio, where he retired. He is currently a church development consultant for Mission Presbytery in San Antonio.

Rev. Judith “Judy” Henderson, a 1997 graduate of Austin Seminary, was also honored as a 2012 DSA recipient for her service to the church. She served in both installed and interim pastor positions after graduating seminary. Now honorably retired, she still preaches and teaches, and serves on Eastern Oklahoma’s Presbytery’s Committee on Ministry.

In 2006, Judy started a new chapter in her ministry when she began teaching at the University of Livingstonia in the southeastern African country of Malawi. In 2008, she was installed as associate pastor of Livingstonia Mission Station Church. As moderator of a partnership between Eastern Oklahoma Presbytery and the University of Livingstonia, she organized delegations from Malawi to Oklahoma in 2007 and 2009.

Last winter, she coordinated the on-site distribution of the contents of a transoceanic container filled with goods for Livingstonia Mission Station and the University of Livingstonia, a mission project of Olympia Presbytery (Washington) Malawi Mission Committee. She currently serves on the Planning Team for the Malawi Mission Network of the PC(USA).

Fellowship Winners

Five Austin Seminary seniors were honored with Seminary Senior Fellowships, selected by the faculty for their Christian character, academic achievement, and promise for ministry. Recipients were Anna Bowden, Kyle, Texas; Mary Ann Kaiser, Pensacola, Florida; Naomi Ingram, Temple, Texas; John Stanger, Austin, Texas; and Sudie Neisen, St. Louis, Missouri.

Sudie Niesen is the recipient of the David L. Stitt Fellowship, which this year carries an award of $12,000. This fellowship was established by the Austin Seminary Association for a recipient’s continued studies; selection is made on the basis of scholarship, Christian character, personality, and ability. Sudie is a member of Glendale Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, Missouri. She plans to pursue a pastoral call in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, area where her fiancé will also serve as a pastor. Eventually, she hopes to pursue graduate studies in Hebrew Bible.

John Stanger is the recipient of the Pile-Morgan Fellowship, which carries a prize of $8,000. This award was endowed in 1984 in honor of Leo V. Pile and Helen Porter Pile of Harlingen, Texas, and Edmund Hollland Morgan and Estella Martin Morgan of Dallas, Texas, and is granted to a member of the MDiv graduating class for the purpose of advance studies. The selection is made by the faculty on the basis of Christian character, scholarship, and ability. John is a member of Central Presbyterian Church, Austin, Texas. He recently began the ordination process in Mission Presbytery and plans to pursue a call to a local church or to work in the area of gender, identity, and diversity concerns.

Anna Bowden is the recipient of the $3,000 Alsup-Frierson Fellowship, which was established by the families of John and Carole Alsup of Georgetown, Texas, and Clarence and Betty Frierson of Shreveport, Louisiana, in recognition of the long-standing tradition of excellent in biblical studies at Austin Seminary. This award is granted annually to a MDiv or MATS student deemed to have demonstrated excellence in the field of biblical exegesis and hermeneutics. She is a member of The Sanctuary in Austin, Texas. Anna plans to pursue doctoral work in biblical studies, with specific interest in Hebrew Bible.

Mary Ann Kaiser is the recipient of the Janie Maxwell Morris Fellowship, which carries a prize this year of $3,000. This fellowship was established in 1953 by a bequest from the will of Mrs. Milton Morris of Austin, Texas. This fellowship was given in the spirit of aiding a Master of Divinity student who desires to pursue further studies. Mary Ann is a member of Cokesbury United Methodist Church in Pensacola, Florida. Mary Ann plans to pursue graduate studies in religion and society after graduation in May.

Naomi Ingram was selected as the 2012 recipient of the W.P. Newell Fellowship, which carries an award of $3,000. This fellowship was endowed in 1946 by W.P. Newell of Albany, Texas, as a memorial to her late husband, W.P. Newell. This fellowship honors a student who is training for Christian ministry. Naomi is interested in preaching and worship, pastoral care, and missions. She is seeking a call to serve as a solo pastor or an associate pastor. She is a member of Grace Presbyterian Church in Temple, Texas.

Founded in 1902, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary is an institution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) whose mission is to educate and equip individuals for the ordained Christian ministry and other forms of Christian service and leadership. For more information and ways to support Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, visit