Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary welcomed thirty new students on August 28 for their orientation. Nineteen students will earn a Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree; seven, a Master of Arts in Youth Ministry (MAYM) degree; two, a Master of Arts (Theological Studies) degree; and two, a Master of Arts in Religion. Three are enrolled in the MDiv/MSSW dual degree program with the Steve Hicks School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin.
The majority of students are from Texas, though nine states are represented in this class. We also welcome five international students from the Philippines, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Malawi. The median age of the incoming class is thirty-five (the youngest is 21 and the oldest is 67), and 39% are persons of color.
The incoming student class brings a diversity of denominations and faith traditions. Those traditions represented by the incoming class are Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), United Methodist Church, African Methodist Episcopal (AME), Episcopalian, United Church of Christ, Hindu, Disciples of Christ, Nazarene, Baptist, Roman Catholic, and Unitarian, contributing to the ecumenical culture at Austin Seminary.
Classes start September 5, highlighted by the Opening Convocation at Shelton Chapel, with an address by Professor Carolyn Helsel. Later in the evening, the Opening Worship with Lord’s Supper will commence at 7:00 p.m. in Shelton Chapel, where our new students will participate in the time-honored tradition of signing the Declaration of Intent, a public affirmation of their commitment to live faithfully in community, a tradition that goes back to the founding of Austin Seminary in 1902. Both services are livestreamed.