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Search under way for director of alumni relations to succeed Elizabeth Strawn ’04 M.A.R.

Yale Divinity School is embarking on a national search for a new director of alumni relations to replace Elizabeth Strawn '04 M.A.R., who resigned at the end of March to take another position at Yale University. Meanwhile, two new members were officially added to the board during the board's April 19-20 meeting in New Haven.

George NoonanBoard President George Noonan '79 M.Div. said, “We certainly appreciate the time that Elizabeth gave to it and the support she provided to us as various ones of us came on board.”

Looking to the future, Noonan said he hope the Board will be able to help connect alumni to the things Yale Divinity School is doing to address broader issues in the society. He cited the upcoming May 3-4 Faith and Citizenship forum the Divinity School is hosting featuring participants such as Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne and a number of high-profile YDS alumni, including former Colorado Senator Gary Hart, Congressman David Price, and former U. S. Ambassadors James Laney and James Joseph.

“I think people are looking for opportunities of how do we get the Divinity School connected out there in the communities that various of us serve,” said Noonan. “How do we promote YDS and its impact on society?

“It's exciting to see one's divinity school engaged in particular questions of society. While that has probably always continued to happen, I'm not sure that the alums have felt as connected to that as I hope they might become.

Joining the Board are Talitha Arnold '80 M.Div., senior minister at the United Church of Santa Fe, a United Church of Christ Congregation in Santa Fe, NM, and Bert Marshall '97 M.Div., regional director for Church World Service in Northern New England.

In 1996, Arnold was honored with a YDS alumni award for “Distinction Among Recent Graduates.” She has taken leadership roles in interfaith work, resettlement of refugees, Habitat for Humanity, and prison ministries. Arnold is a frequent contributor to The Christian Century and has a forthcoming book from Pilgrim Press entitled Vital Worship in Vital Congregations .

Previous to joining Church World Service in October 2006, Marshall was pastor of the First Congregational Church (UCC) in Lee, MA. A lifelong singer/songwriter, Marshall also is an engaging storyteller and performs a one-man show based on the Gospel of Mark, which he has committed to memory. While at YDS, he was awarded top prizes in “religion and the arts” and “the public recitation of scripture.” He has served as moderator of the Berkshire Association of the Massachusetts Conference of the UCC and as a General Synod delegate.

John Lindner, director of external relations at YDS, said the search for a successor to Strawn is ongoing and that he hopes a new director of alumni relations will be on board by the fall.

Lindner said, “As director of alumni relations, Elizabeth brought a new level of professionalism and organization to the office. We are thankful for Elizabeth's commitment and service to YDS and look forward to her continued involvement as a YDS alum.”

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