We Are Called - The Campaign for Yale Divinity School
We Are Called - The Campaign for Yale Divinity School

We Are Called - The Campaign for Yale Divinity School

We all have a calling.
Yale Divinity School Shield

Callings from above and within inspire and guide us in service to our communities and world. Our callings vary, but our purpose is shared.

We pursue our callings for humanity. Wherever we find ourselves and whatever we are called to, the Yale Divinity School community rises to the challenge and the opportunity to serve. To care. To sustain. To uplift.

Now, when our good work matters more than ever, we seek to extend our reach and impact.

Annual gifts, endowment gifts, capital gifts, and planned gifts—gifts of all sizes—are welcome as we work to fulfill our mission in a rapidly changing time.

for 200 years and for tomorrow
For 200 Years and For Tomorrow

Since our beginning two centuries ago, Yale Divinity School has been driven by a dedication to the church and world. Today, as a vital part of one of the world’s premier academic institutions, we pursue our work from a solid foundation. Generations of donors and a strong home institution are the cornerstones of our success.

Thanks to philanthropic support, we have made great progress in implementing our most recent strategic plan. Over the past decade, donors have made it possible for YDS to meet the needs of students, foster transformative leadership, forge a more diverse learning community, and plan for a new residential complex that honors our commitment to living in balance with the natural world.

But we have further to go. And to address the world’s pressing challenges, we have more that we must do.

Commemorating our Bicentennial, we are launching a global campaign to advance our mission to prepare thoughtful leaders who bring forward knowledge and love of God in service of a better world. Our fundraising efforts are part of the larger Yale campaign, “For Humanity,” launched in fall 2021.


for God and Humanity:
Dean Gregory E. Sterling

We Are Called focuses on four critical goals. By bolstering YDS’s already considerable strengths in the following areas, we will ensure we are the brightest beacon of hope and progress:

  • Student Support
  • Academic Programs
  • Justice Initiatives
  • The Living Village: A Sustainable Living-Learning Community

Our good work begins with our students as they pursue their essential callings—the kind that only rarely provide generous remuneration. Our graduates move on to serve humanity with academic, moral, and religious leadership that ripples across geography and through time. So we must ensure they have the funding they need to fully commit to YDS and their vocations.

We need more leaders trained for a new reality, leaders who will bridge faith and sustainability, leaders who will bring communities together in the face of instability and injustice. We must do more to support our faculty and students as they research, teach, learn, and influence the communities they lead and serve.

YDS is both a literal and figurative home. We must do more to forge community and to promote stewardship and an equitable world for all. Our innovative Living Village project will enhance campus social and educational life, ease students’ housing costs, and make an important eco-theological statement that will resonate well beyond the Yale community.

We are now in the phase of our fundraising campaign where we shout from the rooftops and widen the circle of philanthropy.

I invite you to learn more about our plans. If they resonate with you, please join us in creating a flourishing future for all.

With my gratitude,
Dean Sterling's Signature
Gregory E. Sterling
The Reverend Henry L. Slack Dean
Lillian Claus Professor of New Testament

By the Numbers:
Goals for Success

Raised to
A photo of flagstones
A photo of flagstones

By the Numbers: Goals for Success


RAISED TO DATE$120 million


The Living Village:
A Sustainable Living-Learning Community$85 million

Student Support

YDS Annual Fund for Student Support  $5M

Endowed Student Support Funds  $30M

Academic Programs

New Testament and Early Christianity Professorship:  $3M (funded)

Asian Christianity Professorship:  $6M

Latinx Christianity Professorship:  $6M

Environmental Ethics Professorship:  $3M (funded)

Justice Initiatives

Black Church Studies Program:  $3M

Native American Programs:  $350,000 (funded)

Social Justice Internship Funds (2):  $500,000

Samuel Dewitt Proctor Conference Travel Fund:  $150,000

Prison Ministry Program:  $3M

Inclusion and Belonging Community Impact Fund:  $500,000



Student Support

Fully funding student financial need is critical to the Divinity School’s capacity to train students for leadership in the academy, church, and society. Major gifts, along with ongoing giving to the Annual Fund, have made it possible for YDS to begin covering the full cost of tuition for students with financial need, beginning in the 2022-23 academic year.

However, tuition is only 56 percent of the cost of attending YDS. Our campaign aims to raise the funds necessary to meet more of students’ living costs and other expenses.

Financial aid represents our commitment to an inclusive community of leaders and scholars. We must ensure that our students have the funding they need to commit fully to study and service, to set their paths on the basis of calling, not financial constraints. Scholarships and stipends provide vital support to tomorrow’s leaders for church and world.

Scholarship Recipients In Their Own Words

Scholarship Honors Pathbreaking Couple

Letty Russell and Shannon Clarkson
Shannon Clarkson and Letty Russell

Wilma Reichard and Shannon Clarkson

Shannon Clarkson and Wilma Reichard

Funded by Wilma Reichard ’77 M.A.R, ’79 M.Div., a new scholarship honors Letty Russell, a pathbreaking feminist theologian, and her wife, the Rev. Shannon Clarkson ’78 M.Div.

“I wanted to start this scholarship because I believe it is a way to honor these two amazing women and their multiple ministries,” Reichard said, “and to continue their commitment to and support of YDS students.”

Noting her wife’s struggle to make ends meet during her own divinity school days, Rev. Clarkson said, “Letty would be thrilled to know that funds were being raised for student scholarships.”

Letty was a leader in the ecumenical movement and served on the YDS faculty from 1974 to 2001. She was also an early advocate for the LGBTQ community and one of the first openly gay faculty members. Ordained in the United Church of Christ, Rev. Clarkson is an accomplished pastor, educator, linguist, and activist.

Wilma Reichard served for more than two decades at Stanford Medical Center, where she was Director of Clinical Pastoral Education, Director of Chaplains.



Students singing in Marquand Chapel



Academic Programs

We trace the birth of our school to the establishment of a professorship in theology and a new theological department—at the behest of Yale students. Two hundred years later, recruiting and retaining faculty leaders is no less critical to our success. Faculty strength and scholarship are at the core of the YDS experience. Our faculty pursue transformative research and induct new scholars into the theological disciplines. Our professors are at the top of their fields and in high demand.

Endowed professorships attract and retain renowned scholars, teachers, and mentors, just as they draw the most promising students to our campus. The establishment of named chairs demonstrates a steadfast commitment to our academic program.

Currently, 16 of our faculty members hold endowed professorships. Our goal is to add three more chairs, in key areas of scholarship: Latinx Christianity, Asian Christianity, and Environmental Ethics.

YDS Faculty
Willie James Jennings, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology and Africana Studies
Jennifer Herdt
YDS Professor Investigates Humanity from Diverse Perspectives
Almeda Wright
YDS professor launches young adult ministry project with Lilly Endowment grant
Teresa Morgan
$3 Million Gift Supports the Creation of an Endowed Professorship

How, amid our differences, can we come together to work for a better world? This is the question that drives Jennifer Herdt, Gilbert L. Stark Professor of Christian Ethics at YDS.

Born in India and living as a child and adolescent in the Philippines, Professor Herdt grew up among a variety of religious traditions and ways of seeing. Her parents were part of an international community of agricultural scientists who were Hindus, Christians, Muslims, atheists, and more. “This upbringing,” says Herdt, “set me on the path of asking theological and ethical questions of people who were committed to making a positive difference in the world.”

Herdt is a senior member of a research team that in 2020 received a $3.9M, 3-year grant from the Templeton Foundation to pursue collaborative inquiries in theological anthropology. She is looking at whether evolutionary biology leaves room for a theological account of human uniqueness and dignity.

Widely published on virtue ethics, moral thought, and political theology, Herdt served as the President of the Society of Christian Ethics in 2020. Her most recent book, Assuming Responsibility: Ecstatic Eudaimonism and the Call to Live Well, was published by Oxford University Press.

Herdt, who previously taught at Notre Dame, recently served for eight years as Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at YDS.

Supported by a $1.5 million grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc., Professor Almeda Wright has launched the Young Adult Ministry Innovation Hub at YDS, a project aimed at connecting congregations with emerging adults who are spiritual but unchurched.

“Many young people are thinking about ways of cultivating relationships with God, the Spirit, and each other that may or may not be as institutionally tethered as these kinds of undertakings have been in the past,” says Wright, Associate Professor of Religious Education and an expert on the spiritual life of young Black people.

During the five-year grant, young adult coaches and leadership teams from Christian congregations will work together to study the relationship between churches and young adults and to design, implement, and assess new ways of doing ministry.

“Our hope is that young adults and congregations can learn together how to build better communities around shared experiences of worship and working towards justice, with attention to the complexities and diversity in our lives together,” Wright says.

With donor support, Yale Divinity School has established the McDonald Agape Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity. Teresa Morgan, who joins YDS from the University of Oxford, is the inaugural holder of the new chair.

“This gift from the McDonald Agape Foundation promises to have a catalytic effect on our work to fulfill our mission of service to church and world,” said Dean Greg Sterling, who also holds the title of Lillian Claus Professor of New Testament. “The McDonald family, as well as the Foundation’s trustees, have our deepest gratitude.”

The gift, which supplements an existing faculty budget line, recognizes and helps sustain “the faculty excellence that has long distinguished Yale Divinity School,” said Sterling.

Renowned for her work in New Testament and Early Christian Studies, Teresa Morgan has made major contributions to a deeper understanding of faith in the ancient world, as well as literate education in Hellenistic and Greek culture. The recipient of a fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust, she is currently working on the second and third books of a trilogy on the nature of Christian faith.



Justice Initiatives

Zach Ludwig ’21 M.Div.

The next generation of leaders faces a daunting future. YDS is committed to preparing students to meet challenges head on—whether the issue is racial injustice, economic inequality, warfare, pandemic, or environmental crisis.

Through social justice initiatives ranging from scholarships to research grants to prison ministry, we seek to lift up the voices of people who have been excluded and bring justice to those for whom it has been too long denied.

As we address with urgency the many issues of justice and equality, we recognize the disparate impact the world’s challenges have on people of color and the most disadvantaged.

We accept the important responsibility of preparing leaders who know how to attend to the needs of diverse communities with care and understand how to navigate an era of social divisiveness.

New Social Justice Scholarship Honors Leading Woman

Rena Karefa-Smart
Rena Karefa-Smart

Funded by an anonymous donor, a new scholarship honors Rena Karefa-Smart ’45 B.D., a leader in the international ecumenical movement and the first Black woman to graduate from YDS.

“The new social justice scholarship in Rena Karefa-Smart’s name will infuse students’ work with fresh ideas and an unwavering commitment to access, equity, and influencing a more just world,” says Lynn Sullivan-Harmon, Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

“As someone who spent her entire life and career brilliantly diagnosing the ills of white supremacy and organizing faith and education communities in the fight for human dignity and liberation, Rena would be humbled and joyful to know that this scholarship will extend her legacy,” says her granddaughter Rena-Therese Karefa-Johnson ’09 B.A.

“Thank you for paving the way for future generations of social justice leaders from marginalized backgrounds to carry the mantle of her transformative work at the institution she so loved.”

Family Gift Supports New Scholarships

Jean and Chris WoodGlobe

Jean Wood ’64 M.A.R. and her son Chris Wood ’90 B.A. pledged $250,000 to launch 10 annual social justice scholarships at YDS. Their gift will help cover tuition and living expenses for deserving students.

I’m hoping for a just society. That’s going to take leadership from Yale Divinity School students. —Jean Wood

Inspired and equipped by her YDS education, Jean has pursued a career in Christian service, social justice, and education. Among her many achievements, Jean worked with five other women from Church Women United to create, after the Attica Uprising in 1971, an organization that pushed for fair treatment of Black defendants.

“My dad was a blue-collar worker; my mother never worked,” Jean says. “A full-tuition scholarship made it possible for me to go to Yale Divinity School.

“I hope for generations of YDS students to have a transformational experience like I did.”



Blair Nelsen ’19 M.A.R. at work on Divinity Farm



The Living Village: A Sustainable Living-Learning Community

Living Village
Rendering of the Living Village, to be constructed adjacent to the existing YDS Quad

In this time of climate crisis, YDS is building a regenerative student residential complex. Giving back to the environment more than it takes, the zero-waste Living Village dares to answer one of the most profound theological challenges of our time and sets new standards for sustainability. The Divinity School’s Living Village will be the largest living-building residential complex on a university campus. Designed to meet the Living Building Challenge, the most aggressive standard for sustainable buildings today, it will serve as a key component of Yale’s Planetary Solutions initiative.

Living Village
This enhancement of the YDS campus will not only benefit the Divinity School but serve as a model of sustainability for Yale and for higher education more generally.
—Dr. Dale T. Knobel Ph.D.

More than a building, the Living Village advances multiple goals. It fosters students’ ethical and spiritual formation in community. It strengthens our ability to train students to form and strengthen communities in their careers after YDS, whether those are congregations, schools and universities, nonprofit organizations, or communities of other types.

Living Village
Beyond providing housing, the Village will demonstrate to the world that humanity can indeed live in harmony with God’s creation.
—Dickerman Hollister ’71 B.A.

The Village will serve as a learning destination, widening our own community to include all of Yale and New Haven. Through a design that connects to the existing Quad, it unites residential and academic space seamlessly in a holistic living-and-learning environment. And through a design that respects the planet while maximizing connection and welcome, it advances a vision of the future in which all can flourish.

Living Village
The Living Village will become a new ‘beacon on the hill,’ drawing others across Yale to learn and experience what it means to care for God’s creation.
—Jerry W. Henry ’80 M.Div.

The complex of more than 100,000-square-feet and more than 100 residential units will be completed in phases as funding is secured. Phase-one construction begins in 2023.

Learn more and see the most current construction updates at the Living Village website.



Dean Greg Sterling with students

Volunteer and Campaign Leadership

Volunteer and Campaign Leadership

Yale Divinity School benefits from active volunteers–YDS alumni, Yale alumni, and friends–who support, serve, and advance our mission. Composed of diverse members, including national and international faith leaders, as well as luminaries from the business, professional, academic and non-governmental sectors, the following leadership groups are vital to our success.

Campaign Leadership

Elijah Heyward III
’07 M.A.R., Co-Chair

Nancy Taylor
’81 M.Div., Co-Chair

George Bauer
Honorary Co-Chair

Carol Bauer
Honorary Co-Chair

Sam Croll
’75 M.A.R., Co-Chair, Dean’s Advisory Council

Beth Johnson
’84 M.Div., Co-Chair, Dean’s Advisory Council

Dean’s Advisory Council

The Dean’s Advisory Council of Yale Divinity School supports the development of YDS as the world’s foremost center of excellence for preparing responsible Christian leaders for churches, the academy, and the world. It promotes Yale University as a global forum for research and debate on the role of religion and human well-being.


Dwight D. Andrews, ’77 M.Div., ’83 M.Phil., ’93 Ph.D.
Emily Bakemeier (ex-officio)
Ademuyiwa T. Bamiduro ’13 M.Div.
George Bauer
Stephen P. Bauman ’79 M.Div.
William R. Bell, Jr. ’07 M.Div.
Jeffrey D. Braun ’04 M.Div.
Timothy C. Collins ’82 M.B.A.
Samuel W. Croll, III ’75 M.A.R., Co-Chair
James Elrod ‘17 M.A.R. (ex-officio)
Ronald T. Evans ’70 B.D.
Nora Gallagher
Roberto S. Goizueta ’76 B.A.
Jerry W. Henry ’80 M.Div.
Elijah Heyward III ’07 M.A.R.
Geoffrey M. Hoare ’82 S.T.M.
Dickerman Hollister ’71 B.A.
Mateo C. Jaramillo ’04 M.A.R.
Beth B. Johnson ’84 M.Div., Co-Chair
Hannah E. Kane (ex-officio)
Dr. Dale T. Knobel Ph.D.
Linda L. Lader ’08 M.Div.
Kathryn Kibbie Laird ’97 M.Div.
Susan Liautaud, P’14, ’16, ‘25 
Debra L. McLeod ’09 M.Div.
Marylouise Oates ’73 M.Div.
Christopher Sawyer ’75 M.Div., Chair Emeritus
Jake B. Schrum ’73 M.Div.
Rick Spalding ‘81 M.Div.
Nancy S. Taylor ’81 M.Div.
Clyde C. Tuggle ’88 M.Div.
Jason Turner ‘06

Alumni Board

The Yale Divinity School Alumni Board celebrates and promotes a community of active alumni to support, serve, and advance the mission of YDS.


Philippe Andal ’16 M.Div.
Jessica Anschutz ’07 M.Div.
Videen M. Bennett ’08 M.Div.
Horace D. Ballard ’10 M.A.R.
Jimmy Canton ’93 M.A.R.
Gabby Cudjoe Wilkes ’18 M.Div., Vice President
Thomas Ficklin, Jr. ’75 M.Div.
Cece Jones-Davis ’05 M.Div.
Nicholas A. Lewis ’13 M.Div.
Barbara Lundblad ’79 M.Div.
The Rev. Elizabeth Marie Melchionna ’06 M.Div.
Chan Sok Park ’06 M.Div., ’07 S.T.M.
Wilma Reichard ’77 M.A.R., ’79 M.Div.
Craig Robinson ’11 M.Div.
Barbara Rossing ’81 M.Div.
Emily Scott ’06 M.Div.
Jason Turner ’06 M.Div., President
Scott C. Williamson ’91 M.Div.

Class Agents

Class agents support Yale Divinity School and our students through their commitment to the health of the YDS Annual Fund and personal outreach to classmates to encourage their contributions each year. The Annual Fund is the primary vehicle through which alums, friends, and churches donate to support YDS students.

View the class agents list.

How You Can Help

Gifts large and small will serve the students of today and strengthen the Divinity School’s capacity to serve.

To learn more about YDS initiatives and structuring your philanthropic gift to make the greatest difference, please contact:

Barbara Sabia
Senior Director of Alumni Engagement and Development

Rod Lowe
Senior Associate Director of Major Gifts

Or visit divinity.yale.edu/giving

We Are Called Campaign Video