New Scholarship Honors the First Black Woman Graduate of Yale Divinity School

A new scholarship at Yale Divinity School honors Rena Karefa-Smart, the first Black woman to graduate from the school. An anonymous donor has given funds to establish The Rev. Dr. Rena Weller Karefa- Smart ’45 B.D. Social Justice Endowed Divinity Scholarship. The scholarship will support students who will contribute to the school’s diversity and inclusion commitment and/or pursue careers promoting greater social equity.

A leader in the international ecumenical movement, Rena Karefa-Smart accomplished many “firsts” over the course of her 97 years. In addition to her YDS distinction, she was the first Black woman to earn a theology doctorate from Harvard Divinity School (1976) and the first female professor to earn tenure at Howard University School of Divinity (1979).

In 2017, Dr. Karefa-Smart received the Divinity School’s Lux et Veritas Award, given annually to a graduate who has demonstrated excellence and distinction in applying the compassion of Christ to the diverse needs of the human condition through the wider church, institutional ministries, ecumenical organizations, nonprofit organizations, government, or industry.

The award citation hailed her work as a global champion of ecumenism, a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, professor of  ethics at Howard, and associate at the Center for Theology and Public Policy in Washington, D.C. “Dr. Karefa-Smart’s pioneering presence and subsequent success,” the citation declared, “have paved the way for generations of Black women at YDS.”

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Students at Three HBCUs in New Orleans to Participate in Power of Prosperity Initiative

The Power of Prosperity program will help remove barriers to students’ academic success by providing students and their families with free access to financial support and resources.

Yale University Scholar Wins Early Career Physics Award

Charles D. Brown II, an assistant professor of physics at Yale University, has been selected as the winner the Joseph A. Johnson Award for Excellence from the American Institute of Physics and the National Society of Black Physicists.

Three African Americans Appointed to New Administrative Posts at Universities

Arthur Lumzy Jr. is the new director of student career preparedness at Texas A&M University–Commerce. Sandra L. Barnes was named associate provost for undergraduate education and student success at Alcorn State University in Mississippi and Roberto Campos-Marquetti has been appointed assistant vice president for staff and labor relations at Duke University.

North Carolina A&T State University to Debut New Graduate Programs in Criminal Justice

The university's criminal justice master’s and doctoral programs are designed to provide high-quality graduate education and training in criminal justice with the four areas of specialization: investigative science, digital forensics, research methodology, and social justice.

Featured Jobs