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Largest class in recent years enters YDS in 2009-10

Student MingleThere is a writer who spent 23 years as a financial journalist with Time Inc.; a ballerina and lawyer who practiced bankruptcy law in New York; a director of communications for the second largest polling firm in the world; a female state trooper who earned an undergraduate Yale degree; and a top project manager and editor at American Red Cross national headquarters in Washington, DC.  Those are just a few of the “second career” students who are members of the 2009 entering class at Yale Divinity School.

And then there are those who have earned their undergraduate degrees in just the past few years.  One describes herself as “a 23-year-old gal born and raised just north of Salt Lake City, Utah” who loves “German shepherds, my Norwegian heritage, and all things bright and beautiful.” Another spent his childhood in West Africa and has an interest in world Pentecostalism, social ethics, and world politics.  A recent graduate of Macalester College worked in publishing, helped organize interfaith festivals, and spent a year and a half in Morocco under a Fulbright grant studying the significance of the natural world in Islam. Another is “passionate about environmental issues, gender rights, and ecumenical relationships.” A student from Kansas wants to work with orphans in the Gaza Strip or West Bank.  A University of Pennsylvania graduate hopes to do LGBT-Evangelical reconciliation ministry and is a triathlete who sometimes trains 15-20 hours per week.

Thus, the entering class is typical in its variety and accomplishments.  And as is often the case, some of the entering students are related to other grads: Incoming student Laura Fitzpatrick-Nager is the daughter of Elaine Fitzpatrick ’85 M.Div., ’88 S.T.M., and new student Megan Holding is the daughter-in-law of Judith Holding ’08 M.A.R.

The entering class is also the largest in recent memory, with a total of 169 new students, including students enrolled through the Institute of Sacred Music and exchange students.  Excluding ISM and exchange students, the class totals 148, and to find an entering class of comparable size one would have to roll the calendar back to 2004.

The new class is composed of 76 candidates for the M.A.R., 64 M.Div. students, 13 pursing the S.T.M., and 16 non-degree students, including 13 exchange students—six from universities in Germany, five from England, and two from Singapore.  The Singapore exchange program is new this year.

The largest contingent of international students, excluding exchange students, comes from South Korea (7), followed by China, with two students. Countries represented by a single student are Ghana, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Sierre Leone, Singapore, and the United Kingdom.  The class includes nine African American students, six Asian Americans, three Hispanic students, one Cuban American, and one Puerto Rican student.

By gender, the class breakdown is 87 men and 82 women.

As usual, a wide range of undergraduate colleges is represented, ranging from independent evangelical schools such as Wheaton College in Illinois, to small secular schools such as Wesleyan University, to church-related schools such as Georgetown, to large public universities such as the University of North Carolina, to Ivy institutions such as Harvard.

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