- Admissions & Aid
- Faculty & Research
- Life at HDS
- News & Events
- Alumni & Friends
HDS Alumni/Alumnae Council
The Harvard Divinity School Alumni/Alumnae Council (AAC) exists to promote a mutually beneficial relationship between Harvard Divinity School (HDS) and its alumni, and between the HDS alumni community and the larger Harvard alumni community. —HDS AAC Charter
The AAC works with alumni volunteers and School leadership to create community among HDS alumni, build bridges between HDS alumni and the HDS campus, and to connect Divinity School alumni the University-wide Harvard Alumni Association (HAA). The AAC also serves as an advisory board to the School, as needed by the Dean or other members of the HDS faculty and administration.
The AAC's mission is to connect graduates with each other, with the Divinity School, and with the larger Harvard community to enhance the lives of its members and support them in their ongoing search for meaning, mission, and value.
To these ends, the AAC shall strive:
- To be models for present and future alumni in their pursuit of justice, compassionate leadership, and service;
- To recognize alumni for excellence in their achievement and contributions toward these ends;
- To create and participate in the Harvard Alumni Association and other appropriate forums for the exchange and expression of alumni views and insights; and
- To be available to the HDS administration in matters of student recruitment and admissions, alumni giving and development, and such other matters as to which the Dean or Dean's designees seek its advice.
The Chairperson shall serve as the convener of the AAC and the chief representative of the HDS alumni community. —HDS AAC Charter
The Rev. Samuel Nixon, Jr., MDiv '91, SLI '01, is the chairperson of the AAC for the 2012-13 year. Nixon lives in Alexandria, Virginia. He is the founder of "humble1," which supports African American churches in the United States, in collaboration with churches in the African diaspora. He has served for 20 years as a member of the Progressive National Baptist Convention (PNBC) Board of Directors, for which he is also the originator and director of the PNBC Seminarian Development Program (SDP), and a member of both the PNBC Missions Ministry and of the PNBC National Prison Ministry Training Certification Resource Team. An experienced teacher and preacher, Nixon has taught at the Harvard University Department of African and African American Studies, Tufts University, and Howard University School of Divinity, among other places. He is also a published writer. Nixon has served on the Alumni/ae Council since 2004.
Membership on the AAC is open to all HDS alumni. A call for nominations will be annually sent to the alumni community when open seats are identified. Following are AAC members for 2012-13.
- Samuel Nixon, Jr., MDiv '91 (Alexandria, Va.)
- Julia Whitcavitch-DeVoy, MTS '94 (Newton, Mass.)
Terms ending on June 30, 2013:
- Richie L. Butler, MTS '96 (Dallas, Tex.)
- Sabrina Knox Cleary, ALB '92, MTS '97 (New York, N.Y.)
- Casely B. Essamuah, MDiv '95 (Crofton, Md.)
Terms ending on June 30, 2014:
- W. Andrew Gantt, MTS '90 (Baltimore, Md.)
- Sarah Taylor Peck, MDiv '07 (Memphis, Tenn.)
- S. Joshua Thomas, MTS '02 (Maplewood, N.J.)
Terms ending on June 30, 2015:
- Philip F. Atkins-Pattenson, MDiv '77 (Oakland, Calif.)
- M. Geron Gadd, MTS '01, JD '04 (Montgomery, Ala.)
- Katerina Lucas, MTS '09 (New York, N.Y.)
- Michael Casey W. Woolf, MDiv candidate, for 2012-13
School-Appointed Directors to the HAA
Ex-officio members of the AAC
- Matthew M. Shakespeare, MTS '90 (Brookline, Mass.), serving an HAA term through June 30, 2013
- D. Douglas Shipman, MTS '01, MPP '01 (Atlanta, Ga.), serving an HAA term through June 30, 2014
- Michael E. Goetz, associate director of development, annual giving, and alumni relations; ex-officio member of the AAC
- Nora K. Lessersohn, AB '09, annual giving and alumni relations coordinator
The chairperson and membership of the AAC are pleased to invite distinguished members of the alumni community to be in conversation with the entire HDS community and that of Harvard University. Chairperson Nixon will explore how an HDS education influences one's notions and lived experience of leadership, service, and giving via a series of conversations entitled "Divinity Dialogues." See the HDS Public Events Calendar for details.
Through the Peter J. Gomes STB '68 Memorial Honors, the AAC seeks to honor distinguished HDS alumni whose excellence in life, work, and service pays homage to the mission and values of Harvard Divinity School. Nominations are accepted with special respect to the following categories, though the categories are not binding. Nominating in more than one category, or between or across categories, is perfectly acceptable.
- Service and Advocacy, to honor exceptional generous acts of local, national, and/or global service or advocacy;
- Ministry, to honor exceptional service in the learned ministry, in a traditional or progressive sense;
- Academics, to honor exceptional scholarship, dedicated and innovative pedagogy, inspired and inspiring classroom engagement, and the advancement of knowledge and inquiry;
- Arts and Letters, to honor exceptional contributions to society through the arts, music, literature, theater, journalism and nonfiction writing, etc.;
- Law, to honor the exceptional and creative accomplishments and service of an individual the legal profession;
- Education, to honor exceptional teachers, administrators, and/or actors in the global education sphere;
- Nonprofit Leadership, to honor exceptional leadership in the nonprofit sector
- Government and International Affairs, to honor exceptional leadership and insight in local, state, or national government, and/or international affairs;
- Business and Entrepreneurship, to honor exceptional and thoughtful leadership or innovation in a business setting;
- Health and Healing, to honor exceptional service and/or innovation in the healing professions, as physicians, nurses, hospital chaplains, hospice workers, etc.;
- Science and Technology, to honor exceptional contributions to society via scientific and/or technological advancements, discoveries, or innovations;
- Philanthropy, to honor exceptional and creative acts of giving.