Carolyn Cranston Wins Calian Award

The Rev. Carolyn Cranston has been a part of the Pittsburgh Seminary community since 1996. In that time she’s earned her M.Div. degree, become director of alumnae/i and church relations, and now has been honored with the Seminary’s Calian Award for Campus Community Service. This award is given to an exemplary member of the Pittsburgh Seminary community who demonstrates excellence in carrying out responsibilities and volunteer assignments and also expresses a caring spirit of good will and hope essential in life together as a community. The award is given in recognition that all members of the community are an important part of the success of the Seminary.

“As director of alumnae/i relations, Carolyn cares deeply about each of our graduates. She has the capacity to remember important details about each alum’s life and each call as ministers in Christ’s mission,” says the Rev. Brenda Barnes ’07 past president of the Seminary’s Alumnae/i Council. “Carolyn models the connectional and relational aspects of ministry that Pittsburgh Seminary is striving to instill in our community. She values and honors the God-given gifts in others and provides encouragement to them to use those gifts for the glory of Christ. Plus, Carolyn is joyous in the Lord and that makes all the difference!”

Prior to serving as director of alumnae/i and church relations at Pittsburgh Seminary, Cranston worked for 25 years in retail management and owned her own clothing store. Before enrolling at the Seminary, she was serving on the board of South Hills Interfaith Ministries and says she was “looking to do something different.” At the urging of a friend (and PTS student at the time), she visited campus and says, “I knew I was supposed to be here.” After receiving a full scholarship from the Seminary, Cranston was diagnosed with breast cancer and had related surgery the day she should have been at new student orientation. After graduating from Pittsburgh Seminary, Cranston completed the clinical pastoral education residency program at West Penn Hospital with plans to become a hospital chaplain. She then interviewed and eventually received a call from the Seminary to serve in the Alumnae/i Office, but not before having surgery for uterine cancer. For nearly 20 years, Cranston has served part-time at various Pittsburgh churches, and presently is a pastor at Pleasant Hills Community Presbyterian Church. She has one daughter and three living grandchildren. 

Cranston said, “One of the greatest joys I experience in my call is the opportunity to build relationships with our alumnae/i through the common bond of PTS. I love the diversity of age, gender, ethnicity, denomination, and every other characteristic that makes us unique human beings. It is a blessing to experience the magnitude of God’s magnificent creation through the eyes of our alumnae/i.”