Alumnae/i Days 2024

Join us May 16-17, 2024, for this year's Alumnae/i Days!

Grounded by Faith, Formed by Community

“so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth . . . ” – Ephesians 3:17-18 (ESV)


Registration Closed


Schedule of Events

Thurs., May 16

11:30 a.m. – Worship – Hicks Chapel and Livestream

12:00 p.m. – Lunch on your own

2:00-3:30 p.m. – “Can Theology Still Talk about God?” – The Rev. Dr. John P. Burgess, James Henry Snowden Professor of Systematic Theology – Knox Room, Long Hall and Livestream

5:00 p.m. – Reception – Rotunda, Long Hall

5:20 p.m. – Pictures for Award Recipients and Families; 25, 40, 50-year Classes – McNaugher Lounge, McNaugher Hall

6:00 p.m. – Banquet – Kadel Dining Room, McNaugher Hall 


Fri., May 17

7:30-9:30 a.m. – Continental Breakfast – Basfield Dining Room (inside Kadel Dining Room), McNaugher Hall

10:00-11:15 a.m. – Presentations by Distinguished Alumnae/i – Knox Room, Long Hall and Livestream

  • Pastoral - The Rev. Dr. Sheila L. Johnson ’10
  • Specialized - The Rev. Dr. N. Graham Standish ’88
  • Academia - Dr. Kenneth H. Yount ’72

11:30 a.m. – Worship – The Rev. Kendra Buckwalter Smith ’12/’13 – Fred McFeely Rogers Award for Creative Ministry – Hicks Chapel and Livestream

12:00 p.m. – Community Lunch – Kadel Dining Room

1:00-3:00 p.m. – “Mary the Mother of Jesus, ‘After the Angel Departed’” – The Rev. Dr. Bonnie Thurston, Former Professor of New Testatment – Knox Room, Long Hall and Livestream

3:00 p.m. – Reception and Book Signing


Meet the 2004 Awardees

Sheila L. Johnson (Hunt) ’10

The Rev. Dr. Sheila Johnson (Hunt) is an ordained Baptist minister, accomplished musician, and college professor and administrator. She is the executive pastor and minister of music at First Baptist Church of Penn Hills, and serves as president of the Baptist Ministers’ Conference of Pittsburgh and Vicinity—the first woman to hold that role. For 14 years, Sheila led the New Choices/New Options Program at the Community College of Allegheny County, assisting more than 1,500 women in crises to become emotionally and economically self-sufficient. As a musician, Sheila has been a conductor, director, and composer/arranger in residence for numerous citywide and convention choirs. She earned a bachelor’s in music and an M.A. in counseling from Western Kentucky University, a Ph.D. in higher education from the University of Pittsburgh, and a D.Min. with urban focus from PTS.

N. Graham Standish ’88
Specialized Ministry

The Rev. Dr. Graham Standish is an experienced pastor, spiritual director, teacher, speaker, and writer. Since 2017 he has been the executive director of Samaritan Counseling, Guidance, Consulting, and directs Samaritan’s Caring for Clergy and Congregations program. Prior to 2017, Graham was senior pastor of Calvin Presbyterian Church in Zelienople, Pa., for 22 years, leading the congregation in a spiritual approach to congregational revitalization. Graham earned his B.A. in psychology from Roanoke College, M.Div. from PTS, M.S.W. from the University of Pittsburgh, and M.A. and Ph.D. in formative spirituality from Duquesne University. He has taught in PTS’s Doctor of Ministry and Certificate in Spiritual Formation programs, and for Tyndale Theological Seminary (Toronto). Graham and his wife, Diane, established scholarships at PTS and the University of Pittsburgh to support students in the schools’ joint M.Div./M.S.W. program.

Kenneth H. Yount ’72

Dr. Kenneth Yount is a retired professor of political science and history and former provost and vice president for academic affairs at Alderson Broaddus University. He is a graduate of Alderson Broaddus (bachelor’s); University of Pittsburgh (master’s); PTS (master’s in religious education); and West Virginia University (Ph.D.). He taught at Alderson Broaddus from 1974 to 2012, during which time he received numerous awards and honors for his teaching. In 2023, he was named Poet Laureate of Barbour County, W.Va., and in 2014 was named Poet Laureate of Antarctica after winning a poetry contest on an Antarctic expedition. As a religious educator, Kenneth has volunteered as a Sunday school teacher, fill-in preacher, moderator for the Union Baptist Association in his area of West Virginia, and president of Baptist Theological Fellowship. He is an accomplished writer of history, travel, and government, with many published books and academic articles.

Kendra Buckwalter Smith ’12/’13
The Fred McFeely Rogers Award for Creative Ministry

The Rev. Kendra Buckwalter Smith has served since 2012 as the director of the Worship Program at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. In her role, she equips students for Christian ministries as faithful, thoughtful, and hospitable worshipers and worship leaders through weekly chapel services and additional seasonal worship services. Since 2019, she has also been the associate pastor of discipleship at Shadyside Presbyterian Church, where she provides spiritual care to youth and families and participates in worship leadership. She is a leader in the PC(USA), where her expertise in liturgy and worship makes her a sought-after speaker, workshop leader, worship planner, and liturgist for large gatherings and conferences in the PC(USA). Kendra earned her B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh, and M.Div. and Th.M. from PTS.



Alumnae/i Days 2023

“Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” – Colossians 3:14 NRSV

The 2023 alumnae/i awardees were Daniel Corll ’80/’01 (pastoral), Michael Ludwig ’09 (mission), Nichelle Nelson ’05 (specialized ministry), Ralph Watkins ’93 (academia), and Joanne Spence ’18 (The Fred McFeely Rogers Award for Creative Ministry).

Check out photos from the festivities.


Alumnae/i Days 2022

It was so wonderful to see our grads during Alumnae/i Days 2022! Together we envisioned the future.

Check out photos from this year's gathering.


Theological Education as Speech Therapy: Forming Graceful Deliberators in Polarized Times

In this recorded conversation, Professor Angela Dienhart Hancock addresses “Theological Education as Speech Therapy: Forming Graceful Deliberators in Polarized Times.” Many these days are concerned about the future of democracy in the U.S., noting the way citizens are ill equipped to participate in reasoned debate. Seminaries have a unique opportunity to bring diverse people together to practice deep, passionate, and generous discussion. Professor Hancock discusses her work on deliberation as a Christian practice and how it informs the ethos of the classroom and campus of Pittsburgh Seminary. Watch the video.