HDS Announces 2004 Alumni/ae Award Recipients


Harvard Divinity School has announced recipients of the three alumni awards that will be presented on its Alumni Day, June 9, 2004. At a luncheon held on the HDS campus, the First Decade Award will be given to the Rev. Cynthia L.G. Kane, a lieutenant in the Chaplain Corps of the United States Navy; the Rabbi Martin Katzenstein Award will be given to the Rev. Elyn Cheney MacInnis, affiliated and former head pastor of the international and interdenominational Congregation of the Good Shepherd in Beijing; and the Preston N. Williams Black Alumni/ae Award will be given posthumously to the late Archie C. Epps, III, longtime Dean of Students at Harvard College.

The First Decade Award was established in 1983 by the Alumni Association of the Divinity School to recognize a graduate of the previous 10 years "whose professional pursuits have demonstrated the values and skills developed at the Divinity School, and who is an inspiration for all graduates."

Kane, MDiv '96, has served as Command Chaplain of the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head, Maryland, since August 2001. She has built a command religious program from scratch, overseeing the $1.2 million dollar budget of the Area Religious Ministry team and serving as the first female military chaplain at Arlington National Cemetery. Kane, who was ordained a Unitarian Universalist minister by the First Parish in Bedford, Massachusetts, in 1996, formerly served as a hospital chaplain, holding positions at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston (at various times from 1992-1999) and at Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu (from 1999-2000), where she completed an advanced clinical pastoral education residency with Pacific Health Ministries.

A cancer survivor, Kane has completed the Boston and Marine Corps Marathons, both times to raise funds and awareness for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Since becoming a naval chaplaincy, one of her longtime dreams, she has received the Navy Achievement Medal, a Meritorious Unit Commendation, the National Defense Medal, and a Tan Belt in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program. At the end of 2004, she will move to Seattle, where she will serve as the first and only female chaplain on the USS John C. Stennis. Although she considers herself a pacifist, saying "I believe violence only begets more violence," Kane also says that she realizes "that conflict and violence have been a part of human history since the beginning of time." "In order for me to do the work of peace," she concludes, "I must understand the workings of war." 

The Rabbi Martin Katzenstein Award was established in 1979 to recognize a Harvard Divinity School graduate "who exhibits a passionate and helpful interest in the lives of other people, an informed and realistic faithfulness, an embodiment of the idea that love is not so much a way of feeling as a way of acting, and a reliable sense of humor." It honors Martin Katzenstein, ThM '58, who died in 1970 while he was the Divinity School's Acting Dean of Students.

The Rev. Elyn MacInnis, MDiv '77, has lived in China for more than 15 years, serving congregations in Nanjing and Beijing. She was head pastor of the Congregation of the Good Shepherd in Beijing from 1995-2003, and proved so adept at initiating and bringing to fruition much-needed service projects that her role recently shifted to that of an affiliated pastor in charge of outreach projects. MacInnis has aided and collaborated with a wide range of individuals and groups on various projects, among them, building a school for poor, mentally challenged children in Jiangsu Province; teaching deaf mothers weaving skills, raising money for the Golden Key Foundation (which integrates blind children into local schools); creating resources and curricula for teachers and doctors to communicate across language barriers; mentoring Chinese orphans; and encouraging and promoting local Chinese artists. Meanwhile, she has also written and filmed various television segments on cultural differences and helped produce a three-CD set of Chinese traditional and minority music which introduces Chinese music and instruments to the West. Fluent in Chinese and Japanese (she also lived in Japan in the late 70s), MacInnis likes to see herself as a "bridge" between East and West. She is married to another HDS graduate, Peter MacInnis, and they have two daughters: one is a graduate student at Brown University and the other is host for a Chinese television show.

The Preston N. Williams Black Alumni/ae Award was created in 2002 by the HDS Black Alumni Network to honor "one who has demonstrated a concern for the religious experience of the African Diaspora … (and) has likewise demonstrated a commitment to scholarship at Harvard Divinity School, and has been an inspirational model of brotherhood and sisterhood by empowering others in the pursuit of truth and justice." 

The late Archie C. Epps, III (STB '61) was a civil rights pioneer whose Divinity School education inspired a life of faith, scholarship, and service to Harvard undergraduates. In the 1960s, Epps was an outspoken advocate for racial equality at Harvard University, helping to establish a black students organization at Harvard, starting a cultural magazine for African Americans (the Harvard Journal of Negro Affairs), and serving as the regional coordinator for New England for the March on Washington in August 1963.

As the longtime Dean of Students at Harvard College (a post he held from 1971 until his retirement in 1999), Epps sought to bring "wholeness" to the life of the Harvard student, supporting the establishment of extracurricular organizations and initiating a series of conversations on racial and ethnic diversity between faculty and students. And always, he tried to encourage students to tend to their souls as well as their minds and bodies. "[Archie Epps] came to Harvard Divinity School prepared to receive what Harvard had to offer, which was much, and I think he received it all," said the Reverend Peter Gomes (BD '68), Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Minister in the Memorial Church. "He spent his life sharing that and dispensing it to the next generation."