Five scholarships honoring African American heritage fully funded
On the second day of the Middle Passage Conversations conference, at the African American Alumni Reunion Dinner on April 4, Yale Divinity School announced the completion of funding for five endowed scholarships honoring the African American heritage at YDS. In announcing the infusion of some $186,000 from YDS accounts to complete funding of the scholarships, Dean Attridge said the action was in keeping with a commitment he made five years ago to press ahead with YDS diversity efforts.
Attridge’s announcement was met with a large round of applause from the largely African American audience dining in the Common Room. Over the years, a number of African Americans have graduated from YDS, which has a heritage in the African American community dating back to he 1830s and 1840s, when escaped slave James Pennington, known as the “fugitive blacksmith,” unofficially attended classes at YDS.
The five scholarships now fully funded include:
The Mary Eileen Fuget-Hayes Scholarship was established by friends of Mary Fuget (class of 1956) to honor her memory. One of the first black women to attend the Yale Divinity School, she devoted her efforts to the YWCA and social work. Bernice Cosey Pulley ’55 B.D. was instrumental in securing the original funds for this award.
The Adam and Julia Joseph Scholarship Fund, established in 1982, honors the parents of James A. Joseph ’63 B.D. Joseph is professor of the practice of public policy at the Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy at Duke University and executive director of the United States - Southern Africa Center for Leadership and Public Values, a partnership between Duke and the University of Cape Town. Appointed to leadership positions by four U.S. Presidents, he was most recently ambassador to South Africa. An author of two books on philanthropy, he continues to lecture widely to foundation groups around the world. He is president emeritus of the Council on Foundations.
The Ronald B. Packnett Scholarship Fund was established in 2003 in loving memory by African American alumni, friends, and admirers to benefit promising African American students called to ministerial services in African American churches. Ronald B. Packnett ’79 M.Div. is remembered for his leadership, integrity of character, and a life marked by service to the church. In 1980 he was called to serve St. James Baptist Church in New Britain, CT and in 1985 joined historic Central Baptist Church in St. Louis as senior pastor. There, a hallmark of his ministry was establishment of a homeless ministry, and he was engaged in many other St. Louis civic and ecclesial activities.
The Jason Richardson Memorial Scholarship was established to honor Jason Richardson ’03 M.Div., who died suddenly in 2005 while leading worship at Southern Baptist Church in Harlem, where he worked as a youth minister. Richardson, a gifted preacher and musician, showed his devotion to the worship life of Yale Divinity School through the Marquand Gospel Choir and as a Marquand Chapel minister. He was an active member of the Yale Black Seminarians and served as a co-pastor for the Black Church at Yale.
The A. Knighton Stanley Scholarship Fund was established by Tony Stanley ’62 B.D., his friends, and family on the occasion of his retirement from Peoples Congregational Church in Washington, DC. The scholarship will be awarded annually to students from Howard University School of Divinity and Yale Divinity School who exemplify the kind of service to church and world carried forth by Stanley, his father, and his mother. Recipients will be Master of Divinity students at Yale and Master of Divinity and Ph.D. students at Howard who are preparing to serve in minority communities, economically deprived areas, and the developing world.