Ramona Spencer Wins Calian Award for Campus Community Service
As assistant to the academic dean, Ramona Spencer has been cherished by the tightly knit community of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary not only for her work but also for her positive spirit and personal engagement with students and colleagues alike. Earlier this summer, PTS presented Ramona with the Calian Award for Campus Community Service, given to “an exemplary member of the Seminary community who demonstrates excellence in carrying out responsibilities and volunteer assignments and expresses a caring spirit of goodwill and hope essential in life together as a community.” As PTS student Ashley Ashley puts it, “she is love and peace and compassion.”
“You can do administrative ‘stuff’ anywhere,” says Ramona, but “what sets PTS apart is God’s particular people here.”
In her official role, Ramona has often been the first face students see in the Dean’s wing and, in turn, the first to hear their questions and concerns. So besides assisting in the daily operations of the Dean’s office, Ramona has run an unofficial “student support office”—work for which she’s dearly cherished by students and alums. Clearly focused and deeply rooted in her call to be caring and loving, she understands her role as a supporter of seminarians—people who set their lives apart to serve and teach God’s people in the larger community.
And students gratefully remember the times Ramona has “been there,” whether to engage in a deep theological conversation about God’s purpose or, as it was for Christopher Taylor ’19, a weekly chat about Game of Thrones and the NFL. For Ramona, those opportunities are “holy time.” “Her willingness is something we can all learn from,” shares Chris, and, like him, the broader community at PTS appreciates Ramona’s sharing in their times of struggle and of joy.
When asked about how it feels to receive the Calian Award, Ramona responds, “I’m beyond grateful,” then adds that it feels both “honoring and weird.” Why? Because “at PTS, so many people go above and beyond. If you were to put on a blindfold and throw a dart at a group picture that includes every staff member, wherever it landed would picture someone who deserves to win this award.”
Having supported both the Dean’s office and the Doctor of Ministry Program since 2014, Ramona has recently become full-time administrative coordinator for the latter—an expanded role in which she will continue to serve the vibrant community of PTS with joy and skill.
Written by Nato Rivera Vargas, Miller Summer Youth Institute Intern