Elijah Parish Lovejoy, Class of 1834, was an American Presbyterian minister, journalist, newspaper editor, and abolitionist. He studied at PTS and later became an ordained Presbyterian preacher. He settled in St. Louis, where he set up a church and worked as a newspaper editor. His editorials supported the abolition of slavery. In 1837, he was killed by a pro-slavery mob, but was hailed as a martyr by abolitionists across the country.
James Reeb, Class of 1953, served as a Presbyterian chaplain in a Philadelphia hospital and later went on to serve as an assistant pastor for a Unitarian Universalist church in Washington, D.C., before finding his place as a Quaker working with a low income housing project in Boston. His efforts in the voting rights campaign had not even spanned one day when white assailants attacked him. He was beaten to death in 1965 while marching with Martin Luther King Jr. for civil rights in Selma, Alabama. His death seemed, in part, to be the motivation for President Lyndon Johnson’s introduction of the Voting Rights Act.
Muriel Van Orden Jennings, Class of 1932, was the first woman to graduate from PTS in the Th.B. (M.Div.) program. In 1932, she was simultaneously awarded her Th.B. and Th.M. degrees. She went on to serve congregations in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maine for eighty years. She directed much of her energy to youth ministry and became director of Pennsylvania’s Montrose Bible Conference in 1940. She served in that position until 1966. PTS honored Jennings with its Distinguished Alumna Award in 1982.
Theodore Wright, Class of 1829, was an abolitionist and minister. He was the first African American to graduate from Princeton Seminary and the first African American to be awarded a degree from a theological seminary in the U.S. He was a pastor of the first Colored Presbyterian Church in New York City, a founding member of the American Anti-slavery Society, and a leader in the Underground Railroad.
Eugene Carson Blake, Class of 1932, was a pioneer of the modern ecumenical movement and a prominent Presbyterian leader in the 1950s and, 60s. He served as president of the National Council of Churches USA, and was general secretary of the World Council of Churches. He was a leader in the church-unity movement and an advocate of the civil rights movement. He was credited with bringing thousands of whites into the movement.
Samuel H. Moffett, Class of 1942, was a missionary and educator in Korea. He is recognized by many as the world’s leading authority on the history of Christianity in the Far East. He served on Princeton Seminary’s faculty as a visiting lecturer from 1953-1955. In October 1955, he returned to Korea as professor, dean of the graduate school, and copresident of the Korean Presbyterian Seminary. He also served as director of the Asian Center for Theological Studies and Mission from 1974 to 1981. Moffett was appointed the Henry Winters Luce Professor of Ecumenics and Mission at Princeton Theological Seminary from 1981-1986.
Samuel’s father, Samuel Austin Moffett, began his pioneer work in Korea in 1889 and founded Korea’s first advanced theological school in 1901.
A Christian scholar and leading figure in Korea’s higher education, Sang Chang, Class of 1977, is president emerita of Ewha Womans University in Seoul, Korea, the largest women’s university in the world. She also served as a trustee on the board of the Korean Research Foundation and as vice president of the Committee to Develop Cooperation, National Council of Churches in Korea. She is the first woman appointed prime minister-designate of South Korea.
William H. Gray Jr., Class of 1970, served as president and chief executive officer of The College Fund/United Negro College Fund and represented Philadelphia in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1979 to 1991. While in Congress, he was the first African American to chair the House Budget Committee, and became chair of the Democratic Caucus. He was the first African American in the twentieth century to become Majority Whip of the House of Representatives.
Abuna Paulos (Classes of 1970 and 1998) is the patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, which has a membership of forty million. He has been instrumental in encouraging interfaith dialogue in Ethiopia, and has participated in many international meetings, including the World Economic Forum and the World Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders at the United Nations. In recognition of his outstanding contributions to the protection and welfare of refugees, he was awarded the Nansen Medal for Africa by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in 2000.