While commencement for the Class of 2020 has been postponed until May of 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Princeton Theological Seminary has celebrated this year's graduates on social media throughout the summer. We recognize their hard work and accomplishments here as well, and share where just a few of Princeton Seminary's newest alums are headed, as well as what they'll miss about their time as seminarians.
Congratulations to the Class of 2020!
Jocelyn Mann, MDiv '20, will continue to serve at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Brooklyn, New York, where she ministered throughout her studies at Princeton Seminary. Upon her graduation, Mann was awarded the 2020 Bryant M. Kirkland Award for Excellence in Practical Theology. "I will miss the people that I've met here, both my student colleagues and many faculty and staff members," she says.
Michael Anthony Evans, Jr., MDiv '20, was awarded the 2020 John Alan Swink Award in Preaching. Reflecting on his time at Princeton Seminary, he says, "I'm going to miss my friends, but we are connected for life." Evans currently serves as the Director of Public Policy for the Baptist General Convention of Texas' Christian Life Commission.
Upon her graduation, Kelly Spencer, MDiv '20, moved to Indianapolis to serve as a Lake Fellow Resident at Second Presbyterian Church. Spencer, who was awarded the 2020 David Hugh Jones Award in Music and the 2020 David B. Watermulder Award in Church Leadership, says that she will greatly miss the Princeton Seminary community. "I think I grew most in my time here as a pastor, a friend, and a person through conversations in Mackay, on the quad, at the library, and during class breaks," she says.
Terry Stokes, MDiv ’20, currently serves as the associate pastor of youth and community engagement at the Reformed Church of Highland Park in New Jersey. He says that his Princeton Seminary experience was particularly shaped by campus traditions: “What I’ll miss most about Princeton Seminary is daily chapel, the Rat Dance, and playing with the ultimate frisbee group on Fridays!” Upon his graduation, he was awarded the 2020 David Allan Weadon Award in Sacred Music and the 2020 Aaron E. Gast Award in Urban Ministry.
Yale Alice Wilberforce, ThM '20, says that she will miss both Princeton Theological Seminary and the wider Princeton community. "I will miss Martin Tel's worship coordination skills," she says. "And the Delaware Raritan Canal in West Windsor!" Wilberforce is preparing for future academic studies.
Ashley Hamel Sutherland, MDiv/MACEF ’20, says that Princeton Seminary’s residential community helped her to grow. “I am incredibly thankful for the ways that Princeton Seminary has led me to be expectant of how God is at work in the world,” she says. “I am also thankful for the classmates who showed up to live life with me – whether that be spaces that challenged me to acknowledge my own privileges and bias, or spaces of play and fellowship.” Sutherland, who was awarded the 2020 Friar Club Award, is currently serving as associate pastor to youth ministry at Flower Mound United Methodist Church in Flower Mound, Texas.
Nii Addo Abrahams, MDiv '20, says that he will miss unexpected encounters with friends in the Princeton Seminary Library's Brick Café. "I could always count on folks coming in and out," he says. "Plus, Dennise makes a killer latte." Abrahams, who was awarded the 2020 Robert Boyd Munger Award in Youth Ministry, the 2020 Jagow Award in Homiletics and Speech, and the 2020 Samuel Wilson Blizzard Award, is the associate director of campus ministry at Pres House, a ministry at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.
In August, Evan Hansen, MDiv '20, will be ordained and installed as the pastor of North Presbyterian Church in Elmira, New York. "I will miss many things from my time at Princeton Theological Seminary," he says. "But I think I will miss going to the daily chapel services in Miller Chapel the most."
As she prepares for a pastoral position, Margaret Poteet, MDiv '20, says that she will deeply miss joining the Princeton Seminary community in Miller Chapel. "The diversity and care shown in all of our chapel services, and the opportunity to stop in the middle of the day to worship together, has shaped my three years at Princeton and has contributed to my own faith in more ways than I can describe," she says. "The music, the preaching, the prayers, and all of the shared laughter and tears in that space will stay imprinted on my heart." Poteet was awarded the 2020 Wilbur R. and Mae Closterhouse Award in Church History and Pastoral Ministry and the 2020 Gerald R. Johnson Memorial Award in Speech Communication in Ministry.
After five years of studies, Hector Herrera, MDiv/MACEF '20, was awarded the 2020 Arthur Paul Rech Memorial Award in Theology and Pastoral Ministry. "I will miss the community and friendships that I cultivated as a Masters student," he says. Starting in September, Herrera will serve as the Associate Pastor at Tokyo Union Church in Tokyo, Japan.
Daniel Heath, MDiv '20, is currently serving as Student Life Resident at Princeton Theological Seminary. Although he remains active on the Seminary campus as an administrator, he says that he will miss many aspects of his student life, the most central being gathering and worshiping with his peers.