Alumni Board thanks Carol Rose Ikeler for service on Board

It is not often that a nonagenarian has an opportunity to step down from service on the Yale Divinity School Alumni Board.  But that is what happened when Carol Rose Ikeler ’50 B.D. said her good-byes to fellow members of the Board during Convocation and Reunions 2011, after two full terms on the board.

Carol“It’s been a part of my life.  I mean, I can’t imagine not commuting to New Haven any more,” quipped Ikeler during a meeting of the Board on Oct. 11. A resident of Louisville, KY and long-time Presbyterian minister and ecumenist, KY, Ikeler has frequently stayed in one the octagonal YDS guest cottages during her trips to New Haven.  In honor of her service to the Board, Ikeler was given what is believed to be one of the original cottage keys.

In presenting the key, Director of Alumni Relations Gail Briggs described it as one “that we think may actually have been used by some of the luminaries of this place.”

In some cases, those luminaries may have been people Ikeler studied with or worked with.  She referenced a few whose portraits hang in the Common Room.

“The Common Room means so much, all those beautiful people,” she said.  “Richard Niebuhr, who introduced me to Barth, Letty Russell, with whom I worked at the East Harlem Protestant Parish, Roland Bainton, who brought some money for me from One Great Hour of Sharing for the Waldensium church in Italy, and on and on...”

BanksAlumni Board Chair Jerry Henry ’80 M.Div. said he met Ikeler at her first Board meeting in 2005.  Recalling her presence at  subsequent Board meetings, Henry said,  “Every time she helped to bring us back to the reality of the great history of YDS and the people that we’ve had the pleasure of...learning from.

“You know, it’s almost like when Rollie Bainton used to give the lecture in the Refectory where he talked about the portraits and he would trace the history, and before we knew it we were learning from the people who had learned from Jonathan Edwards.

“Well, in our own way, Carol Rose has been our Rollie Bainton, reaching us back to the 1950s and all the wonderful things of what happened in those decades but also, more importantly, helping us to realize how much and in how many wonderful ways this place has changed and its ministry has changed over the years, and especially for women.”

Said Ikeler, “Those of us who were here in the 1950s reaped the wonderful harvest of the new World Council of Churches...the cutting edge in Protestantism and ecumenism, and many of us really profited by that because the whole faculty was into the World Council of Churches.  I mean, we had never been this global before.”

During the course of her lifetime, Ikeler was active in the Student Christian Movement and attended WCC work camps in Italy and Puerto Rico, and participated in World Mission seminars in Greece, Italy, Cuba, Russia and Bossey, Switz.  She served churches in Honolulu, Glastonbury, NY, and Philadelphia and was on the national staff of the Presbyterian Church (USA) for 20 years in Philadelphia and Louisville.

SpaldingSucceeding Ikeler on the Board is Richard Spalding ’76 B.A., ’81 M.Div., chaplain and coordinator of community service, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.  Matthew Banks ’01 M.A.R., assistant vice president of Development and Alumni Relations at George Washington University, is filling the unexpired term of Ann Hallisey '75 M.Div.  The appointments of both new Board members were approved later in Convocation and Reunions weeks during the Annual General Meeting of the Alumni.

Members of the Board also listened to an update from Henry on the search for a new dean. Dean Harold Attridge is stepping down from the deanship this summer, at the end of his second five-year term, and  a faculty search committee headed by Holmes Professor of Old Testament John J. Collins is in the process of identifying and interviewing candidates.

The committee plans to present a “short list” of names to Yale President Richard Levin before Christmas, and Henry encouraged input from alumni.

“It’s come back to us already,” Henry said, “that they (the search committee) want to hear more from us, as alums, what is important.  I think they have the academic side covered—you know, they’ll figure that one out.   But, really, what are those other aspects of the dean that we feel are important for Yale Divinity School?”

Posted: 11/06/2011