Class of 1959 Gives Fund for International Field Education
In honor of its fiftieth anniversary in 2009, the Class of 1959 created the John A. Mackay Memorial Endowment Fund for Overseas Field Education. “The gift is in appreciation for the ministry to us of President John Alexander Mackay, who retired the year we graduated,” said Donald Steelberg, chair of the class’s steering committee. “His distinguished presence was that of a foremost church leader who had not only confronted the narrowness of America’s political vision, but who also won the right to speak because of his ecumenical work and his concern for the Hispanic and Portuguese people he had served much of his life. The fund is dedicated to strengthening the education of students for ministry—particularly Hispanic and Portuguese students, who represent a growing part of the American church. The steering committee thanks the class members for their gifts.” Mackay served in the mission field in South America for twenty years before becoming president of the Seminary in 1936.
The income from the fund will be used to support full-time students who are preparing for or engaged in field education outside of the contiguous United States, including underwriting transportation costs, student stipends, language studies, and housing at the placement site. Preference will be given to students placed in areas where the primary language is Spanish or Portuguese.
“Through this fund students will learn how God’s call to ministry can be and is being expressed throughout the world,” said Chester Polk, the Seminary’s associate director of field education. “They will explore and learn how context shapes communities, ministry, and individuals as they gain in-depth understandng of themselves and others by being immersed in a cross-cultural context in an international setting.”
During the summer of 2009, thirteen students completed a field education requirement abroad, including in Ghana, Japan, Puerto Rico, the Republic of India, South Africa, and South Korea. In academic year 2008–2009, three students were in international field education placements, one in Brazil, one in Ghana, and one in Northern Ireland. Students have also done field education in Cambodia, the Dominican Republic, England, Germany, Haiti, Israel, Jamaica, Kenya, Mexico, Scotland, and Switzerland.