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Six PTS Faculty and Administrators

by Barbara A. Chaapel
Photos by Carolyn Herring
P.gif (199 bytes)rinceton Seminary bade farewell to the six beloved faculty and administrators who retired last summer with the sound of music.

Gathering at a festive banquet in the Mackay Campus Center Dining Room in May, colleagues entertained Jane Dempsey Douglass, E. David Willis, Elizabeth Edwards, Fred Cassell, Carolyn Nicholson, and James Irvine with song parodies performed by a quartet of faculty colleagues who toasted and “roasted” them to the delight of all.

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Jane Dempsey Douglass received a crystal vase to hold flowers from her new California garden.

Conceived by PTS’s own Rodgers and Hammerstein — speech professors Chuck Bartow and Bob Jacks — the musical revue called on the singing talents of Bartow, Old Testament professor Katharine Doob Sakenfeld, and early church history professor Kathleen McVey, with Jacks on the electronic keyboard. The four captivated their audience with songs that honored careers and poked fun at foibles.

McVey lauded her fellow church historian Jane Dempsey Douglass’s achievements as the first woman president of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, the first woman president of the American Society of Church History, a world-renowned Calvin scholar, and an elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA), comparing Douglass to the Renaissance and Reformation giants she studied and taught about. “Jane showed that a mere woman can do all these jobs with one hand tied behind her back,” McVey said.

After which Seminary colleagues serenaded Douglass, who has moved to Claremont, California, with her husband, Gordon, with a light-hearted version of “California, Here I Come.”

“Robert Schuller, here she comes,
better make her feel at home!
She’s bringin’ a Calvin you’ve never known.
But listen, you’re missin’ what the Institutes insist on,
Have a super rendezvous!
Robert Schuller, here she comes!”


For vice president for Seminary relations Fred W. Cassell, an Irishman who visits Dublin almost every summer, the group sang “When Irish Fred Is Smiling.”

“There’s a tear in your eye, and I’m wondering why
for it never should be there at all.
You should feel “peachy keen” when you’re wearin’ the green
so there’s never a teardrop should fall.
In your Santa Claus suit, you sure look mighty cute
and your eyes twinkle bright as can be.
When Irish Fred is smiling
sure it’s like the morn in spring.”

Cassell was renowned in Princeton for donning a Santa suit every year during the week before Christmas, standing at the curb in front of his Mercer Street home, and waving to cars passing by.

Bartow reminded colleagues, too, of the 35,000 miles Cassell logged every year (350,000 during his tenure as vice president) to raise money for the Seminary. Now at home in Denton, Texas, Cassell has volunteered to help his denomination raise money for theological education as a PCUSA regional representative for the Theological Education Fund.

When New Testament professor Betty Edwards’s turn came, Kathie Sakenfeld honored her Biblical Studies Department colleague’s commitment to city life and to urban ministry. Unlike most of her faculty colleagues, who live in Princeton, Edwards lived in Trenton, New Jersey, during her tenure at the Seminary. She also pastored a church in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and was the only member of the faculty who, believing her ministry would be enhanced by a degree in pastoral counseling, earned a Th.M. from PTS after she earned her Ph.D.

But, according to Sakenfeld, who led the group in a rendition of “East Side, West Side,” “the real Betty Edwards came alive in New York City!” Sakenfeld recalled not only Edwards’s role as tour guide for students in

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Dr. Gillespie (left) bids farwell to his longtime friend and colleague Fred Cassell.

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Copyright 1998 Princeton Theological Seminary
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