The Rev. Dr. Clinton (Clint) Cottrell ’00 hasn’t always served God in the pulpit. First, he served God in the control tower. Prior to sensing his call to the church and the pastorate, Clint had a career as an air traffic controller, manager, and executive staffer of the Federal Aviation Administration. In fact, he started classes at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary as a part-time evening student while working at Pittsburgh International Airport. And after graduating with his M.Div. and being ordained, he continued working as an air traffic controller at a smaller airport in West Virginia while he embarked on his first pastoral position at greater Pittsburgh’s Whitehall Presbyterian Church.
“The older I get, the more I appreciate the gift God gave me—and continues to give me—through PTS!” says Clint. That appreciation has moved Clint and his wife, Amy, to become members of the John S. McMillan Planned Giving Society by naming Pittsburgh Seminary in their will. “Annually, we donate a modest amount to the Seminary’s annual fund that can be used where it is most needed at the time, but we will be leaving a much larger sum through our will for the same purpose,” Clint notes.
Clint and Amy’s consistent financial support of our annual fund now and their larger unrestricted gift in the future helps ensure that Pittsburgh Seminary can count on being able to continue providing high quality theological education and practical preparation for leadership in Christ’s church. Clint himself experienced a similar provision for current and future Seminary students when he graduated from PTS as recipient of The John W. and Miriam G. Meister Award in Pastoral Ministry—an annual financial award established by the Meisters’ son to recognize and encourage a graduating senior with exceptional pastoral leadership gifts. “This kind gift from a PTS donor helped me with my expenses as I entered pastoral ministry,” Clint notes. “It also set an example for how I, too, could make a difference in a future seminarian’s life both now and when my time here has come to a close.”
But Clint has also supported Pittsburgh Seminary with more than his finances. He served a three-year term on the Board of Directors as representative of the Class of 2000. He has taught classes for our Continuing Education Program. He heads a Reformed Theology Study Group made up of PTS graduates in a program started by Pittsburgh Seminary’s own the Rev. Dr. John Burgess, James Henry Snowden Professor of Systematic Theology. He’s served as a volunteer caller for our annual alumnae/I Phonathon. And he’s hosted multiple alumnae/i and donor events for the Seminary at Cypress Lake Presbyterian Church in Ft. Myers, Fla.—the church he has pastored since 2005.
To boot, Clint’s legacy at PTS continues through the Cottrells’ son, Christian, a 2013 alumnus of the Seminary’s Miller Summer Youth Institute, and their daughter, current Alumnae/i Council member the Rev. Laura (Cottrell) Strauss, a 2009 PTS graduate who serves a Presbyterian congregation in Clinton, Pa.
Clearly, Clint has furthered the mission of Pittsburgh Seminary in multiple ways and through multiple roles—and as a member of the John S. McMillan Planned Giving Society, he’s ensured that he’ll continue to do so for generations of PTS students well into the future. What an exciting legacy!