Timothy Lee, and Iain Torrance Named Distinguished Alumni at Bicentennial
Princeton, NJ, October
26, 2012–The Princeton Theological Seminary Alumni/ae Council
honored the Reverend Dr. Marvin McMickle, Class of 1983, the Reverend Dr.
Timothy Lee, Class of 1961, and the Reverend Dr. Iain Torrance, the Seminary’s
sixth president, as Distinguished Alumni on October 22, 2012 at the Alumni/ae
McMickle is the president of Colgate
Rochester Crozer Divinity School, and was for twenty-four years the pastor of
Antioch Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio. He was honored for his commitment to
the cause of social justice and the betterment of the human condition both in
Cleveland, and in Montclair, New Jersey, where he also served as pastor,
evidenced in his work with the NAACP, the Shaker Heights School Board, and the
Urban League. He was also recognized for his scholarship and his books on
preaching, on African American history, and on the African American church.
In accepting the award, McMickle recounted
a story from his high school years, when a guidance counselor told him that he
“did not have the mind for college,” and suggested that he instead become a
carpenter. In 1983, when he received his Doctor of Ministry from Princeton
Seminary, McMickle said his mother whispered in his ear: “Where is your
guidance counselor today?” McMickle told alumni/ae and guests gathered at the
reunion, “I gratefully receive this award on behalf of every student who was
ever told their lives wouldn’t amount to anything. You never know what you can
do when God gets hold of you.”
Timothy Lee was born in North Korea in 1930 and left his
village to flee to South Korea as a teenager, barely escaping with his life,
never to see friends or his homeland again.
“By the power and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, I was able to come to
America,” he said, “and to study at Princeton Seminary. I have known God’s love
through prayer and provision in times of great loss, and here I am back at my
beloved alma mater for the first time in fifty-one years! I have been carrying
my Princeton Seminary Directory [an annual picture book of all students and
faculty] since I graduated.”
Lee was honored for his ministry in two cultures, having
been the first Korean ordained to ministry by the Presbyterian Church (US), in
1961, when he was called as pastor of Poolesville Presbyterian Church in Maryland,
and five years later being the first Korean minister sent back to Korea as a
missionary of the Presbyterian Church in the United States. The award also
recognized Lee for his commitment to education in serving as principal of Mokpo
Bible Institute and of Taejon Presbyterian Theological Seminary, where he
taught many who are now leaders in the Korean church.
Not an actual graduate of Princeton
Seminary, Iain Torrance was named an honorary alumnus and recognized for his
leadership as the institution’s sixth president. The award gave tribute to his
prophetic and courageous leadership at the cusp of the Seminary’s third
century, ensuring the school’s stability in a difficult economic time and
setting a vision for theological education that uses the best technological
resources to promote the mission of the church around the world.
Torrance was also honored for his work and
commitment to the global church, where he has represented Princeton Seminary in
church and academy from Ghana to China, from Lebanon to Puerto Rico, and for
his vision for a new theological library at Princeton Seminary that will give
access to the Seminary’s vast theological resources and collections to scholars
and pastors around the world.
Plaques recognizing the three
distinguished alumni will be permanently displayed in the foyer of the
Administration Building on the campus.
Princeton Theological Seminary was founded
in 1812, the first seminary established by the General Assembly of the
Presbyterian Church. Currently celebrating its Bicentennial, it is the largest Presbyterian Seminary
in the country, with more than 500 students in six graduate degree programs.