Notes from the Quad April 2003

Notes from the Quad

April 2003


  • What is this?
  • Acceptance Rate Down
  • Alumni/ae of Color Reunion
  • 1st Annual Summer Preaching Institute
  • Dean’s Spring Break in Florida Tour
  • Call for Nominations for Alumni/ae Board & Awards


“Notes from the Quad” is a new, e-monthly for the YDS alumni community. The goal is to keep you apprised of what’s going on these days at YDS. Each month, we’ll e-mail you this note with a brief summary of four or five updates from the School. At the end of each summary, there will be a link you can click on that will take you to the full version of the story on the YDS Web site.

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The YDS acceptance rate shot from 67% last year to 49% for next Fall’s entering class. The total number of applications will end up being somewhere in the neighborhood of 475. As a means of comparison, in 1995 the School received 283 applications. One hundred students were in the entering class in 1996, the lowest number since World War II. In the 1980s, the acceptance rate hovered around 85%.

Following is a reprint of a story by Stephanie Teng in the March 28 Yale Daily News.

Div School admit rate drops

After receiving a record number of applications, the Yale Divinity School accepted less than half its applicants this year, marking the lowest admit rate in recent history.

This year’s 49 percent acceptance rate represents a substantial drop from last year’s rate of 67 percent. Both numbers reflect decreases from the 70 and 80 percent figures the school maintained throughout the 1990s. Divinity School administrators attributed the lower admit rate to changes in the admissions process, campus renovations and the political and economic climate.

The Divinity School received about 500 applications, a record high, Associate Dean of Admissions Anna Ramirez said. Officials admitted 230 applicants, according to Ramirez.

Ramirez said two revised admissions policies contributed to the increase in applications. The process has become more competitive since the elimination of both the rolling admissions policy, which allowed applicants to apply without a single deadline, and the deferral program, which gave admitted students the opportunity to postpone enrollment, Ramirez said.

Ramirez said the five year renovation project completed last year is one significant student draw for the Divinity School.

“The old buildings were crumbling, but have now been rebuilt. Our facilities are fantastic,” she said.

Ramirez said other attempts to boost application numbers, such as rebuilding the faculty and adding the presence of Dean Harold Attridge have also made the Divinity School a more desirable place to attend.

“Dean Attridge represents a whole new era, and he brought an enormous amount of energy with him,” she said. “He represents stability in leadership that wasn’t here before.”

Attridge attributed the rise in applications to the desirability of the campus, and said he thought this factor would only increase in the future.

“This place has a good rep right now – we try to provide the best theological institution we can,” Attridge said. “We are doing it and we are doing it well, and I think numbers will boost actively.”

Ramirez and Attridge also both cited the current political and economic situation in increasing the Divinity School’s number of applicants. Ramirez said the instability has driven a lot of people back to school and many of them are considering alternative careers and social work, getting their master’s degrees along the way.

Ramirez said the Divinity School’s Office of Admissions, though not currently actively recruiting applicants, will still be making road trips next year to attract prospective students. At the moment, the office is busy planning events for the open house on April 7, to which all admitted students are invited.

People will gather from around the country between Thursday, May 1 and Saturday, May 3 at Yale Divinity School to celebrate the school’s first joint convocation of African-American, Asian-American, and Hispanic-Latino alumni and friends.

The keynote address will be given Thursday evening by noted civil rights leader, U.S. Congressman and pastor, Walter E. Fauntroy, a 1958 YDS alumn. Other speakers and preachers over the three days will include Delois Brown-Daniels, Joseph E. Lowery, Roberto Goizueta, Charles Brown, Robert M. Franklin, W. Franklyn-Richardson and Wonhee Anne Joh.

The convocation will also feature a number of receptions, worship services, presentations, teas and tours, panel discussions, live-music social hours and dinners. A panel discussion titled, “Impact of Racial-Ethnic Minority Presence in Theological Education and University Life” will take place on Friday, May 2. Another panel, on Saturday, will look at the “Challenges and Opportunities of Faith in Public Life.”

The Parks/King Lecture will be given on Friday afternoon by Dr. Joseph E. Lowery, hailed by the NAACP as the “dean of the civil rights movement.” On Saturday morning, Dr. Roberto Goizueta will give a presentation entitled The Future of Theological Education in a Multi-Cultural and Multi-Lingual Context.”

An Awards Dinner on Friday evening will also feature the unveiling of the Portrait of Leon Watts, a former YDS professor, painted by Otto Neals, an acclaimed African-American artist from Brooklyn. The portrait of Rev. Dr. Watts will be the first of a person of color to be displayed at the school.

The convocation is open to the public, and registration is $125, which includes all lectures and meals.

A separate event will take place on Sunday, May 4. The extended program features a worship service with Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson preaching, followed by a dinner and reunion with local pastors and community leaders. Dr. Robert M. Franklin will be the speaker at this reunion. Registration for this event is $25.

Please call the YDS Alumni Office at (203) 432-3871 to register.

“Ordinary” time moves toward Advent, our study of Mark leads us toward Luke, one of Mark’s first and most insightful interpreters. The Old Testament speaks its own word but also helps us to read the New Testament more imaginatively. Sunday follows Sunday and people wait for the word. Our hope is that, led by Professors Wilson and Bartlett and by Shelly Copeland, an outstanding preacher, we can think together about how to prepare the word for God’s people.

With this summer’s “Preaching Conference: Preparing for the Preaching Year” from June 23rd to 27th, YDS begins its Summer Institute Series. Professors David Bartlett and Robert Wilson will be joined by The Reverend Shelley D.B. Copeland for a week of study, reflection and preparation for the coming preaching year.

Professor Bartlett’s areas of research include homiletics, biblical exegesis and interpretation for preaching, and New Testament theology. He has contributed articles to such journals as Interpretation, The Christian Century, Journal for Preachers, and Lectionary Homiletics, among others. An ordained minister of the American Baptist Churches, U.S.A., Professor Bartlett has served congregations in Minnesota, Illinois, and California, and taught at Union Theological Seminary, Richmond, Virginia; the Pacific School of Religion; the Divinity School of the University of Chicago; the United Seminary of the Twin Cities; the American Baptist Seminary of the West; and the Graduate Theological Union.

Professor Robert Wilson, Hoober Professor of Religious Studies and Professor of Old Testament, YDS. A former chair of the Yale University Department of Religious Studies, Professor Wilson’s areas of academic interest include Israelite prophecy, the Deuteronomistic history, and ancient Israelite religion in its social and cultural context. His scholarly articles have appeared in the Journal of Biblical Literature, among others, and he has been a contributor to the Encyclopedia of Religion, the Harper Collins Study Bible, and the Anchor Bible Dictionary. He has been actively involved in the Society of Biblical Literature, serving as chair of the Social Roles of prophecy in Israel Group, and as the Old Testament editor of the Society of Biblical Literature dissertation series.

The Reverend Shelley D.B. Copeland, Executive Director of the Capitol Region Conference of Churches, Hartford, Connecticut. She is the seventh executive director and the first woman to head the century old ecumenical organization. Since 1995, Reverend Copeland has been the pastor of Workman Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church in Torrington, CT. In addition, she currently serves as the Assistant Director of the Black Ministries Program at Hartford Seminary, is a lecturer in clergy professional ethics at Yale Divinity School and is the executive director and co-founder with her husband, Michael A. Copeland, of the non-profit Faith Community Development Institute, Inc.

The conference will be limited to 25 and will be concurrent with the New Haven Festival of Arts and Ideas, a superb week of theater, music and the arts.

Please contact the Alumni Office for more details (203) 432-3871. Or e-mail James Ebert.

Dean Harold Attridge spent his spring break in Florida this year - part of his mission to tour the country and meet with as many alumns as possible in his first year on the job.

On his latest jaunt, the Dean met with about 120 alumni in four locations - Vero Beach, Miami, Tampa and Chapel Hill, NC. In Vero, Dean Attridge gave a sermon at the Community Church that, as The Vero Beach Press Journal wrote, was “about trying to bring peace into daily life”.

Dean Attridge is traveling this month to visit the Yale Club of Chicago. He’ll give a speech at the University Club lunch entitled: The Bible and a Just War: Christian Pacifism and Political Responsibility.

Click here to find out if Dean Harry Attridge is coming to your town.


The Awards Committee of the Alumni Board is seeking nominations for the 2003 awards. The Board is looking for the best and brightest, those alumns who truly represent the spirit of YDS. If someone you know fits such a description, please consider nominating them.

Nominations are sought in the following five categories:

Distinction in Ordained Ministry Within the Church
Distinction in Lay Ministry Within the Church
Distinction in Service to the Community
Distinction in Theological Education/Scholarship
Distinguished Service by a Recent Graduate

The School is also looking for nominations to the Alumni Board.

Click here to nominate alumni for the board. And here to nominate alumni for an award.

April 10, 2003