When the Rev. Clinton McNair, left, was putting the foundation in place for a master's level pastoral counseling program at Seattle University's School of Theology and Ministry, he sought out the knowledge of Rev. Eugene Kidder.
Eugene Kidder, right, a graduate of the Yale University Divinity School and the University of Washington, is a highly regarded pastor and counselor in the Seattle area. Today, along with his wife Barbara, Kidder does counseling in private practice. In the early 1960s, he was one of only two pastoral counselors in Seattle.
To this day, McNair draws from the wisdom Kidder imparted on him during that first meeting before the launch of SU's program in 2006.
"He spoke of the challenges of starting a program like this and how he would meet those challenges," says McNair, who directs STM's program. "He gave me the confidence that I can do this. …I left there that day and began to put the pieces into place. When I thought I would go under I would see Gene's face and it kept me going."
In his mentor's honor, McNair initiated a new endowed scholarship to be awarded to incoming students who pursue a master's degree in pastoral counseling. The Reverend Eugene Kidder Pastoral Counseling Endowed Scholarship aims to support the work of future pastoral counselors who follow in Kidder's footsteps.
"With this scholarship, we want students to go out across the world and do this work so Dr. Kidder's work lives on," says McNair. "I could think of no one to name it after other than Eugene because of his pioneering work."
Kidder's work as a pastoral counselor has proven to be a guide for many who seek to merge and integrate spiritual values with the behavioral sciences. His methods fit with the mission of STM's program: "Central to pastoral counseling is the conviction that mental and emotional illness are best met by incorporating both the wisdom of religious teachings and the knowledge and skills of the human behavioral sciences."
The establishment of this endowed scholarship is an "institutional marker for STM," noted Dean Mark Markuly at an event announcing the scholarship. "We now have a student scholarship program for each of our five-degree programs at our school. These institutional moments of maturity are essential to the growth of any organization."