Students Recognized for Commitment & Practice

Written by SA-Worker18 student
May 21, 2015

Each year, Seattle University?s School of Theology and Ministry recognizes students who have exemplified exceptional commitment to their field of study and practical application of scholarship and values of inclusivity, equity, and social justice.

Congratulations to this year's Dr. Leo Stanford Leadership Award winners and their exceptional commitment to inclusivity and courage--translating theology into ministry and relational contexts: Nindyo Sasongko, Leigh Weber, and Kenneth (Ken) Riley. Congratulations are also due Francisco Bujanda, our 2015 Rev. Dr. Clinton McNair Award Winner, for exceptional clinical practice. (Pictured left: Dr. Tito Cruz, Leigh Weber, Ken Riley, Nindyo Sasongko & Francisco Bujanda)

Master of Divinity student, Kenneth (Ken) Riley, has followed his call as a pastoral leader and Navy Chaplain to form a new congregation. Ken is committed to the support and healing of veterans, and is committed to valuing and fostering diversity in his congregation?while intentionally building a community of support, inclusion, healing, and reconciliation.

Throughout her academic career, Divinity student Leigh Weber has revealed her strength of character and commitment to the Way of Jesus in some of life?s darkest times. Leigh is prepared for ordination as a Presbyterian minister, and has secured a part-time position at REACH (Renton Ecumenical Association of Churches). Her discerned call at this time is to serve as a pastor to the homeless individuals and families that REACH supports through its services.?

Pictured right: Dr. Leo Stanford Leadership Award winners with Dr. Valerie Lesniak, Dean Markuly & Dr. Christie Eppler.

Nindyo Sasongko, having studied in the Master of Arts in Transforming Spirituality, is an insightful and creative scholar on subjects relating to justice for marginalized peoples. He has presented papers at academic conferences nationwide, while also publishing relevant works both in the United States and his home country of Indonesia. Throughout his academic work and service, Nindyo weaves together his Indonesian cultural heritage, his Mennonite faith tradition, and his ministry experience among Ethiopian Orthodox, evangelical Christians, and secular members of the Seattle community.

Francisco Bujanda aligns with Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry?s vision of training therapists who are rooted in spirituality, faith tradition, holism, and health. Francisco demonstrated exceptional community service by providing competent, ethical clinical treatment to underserved communities at the sites of his clinical practice. Francisco has additionally collaborated with Campus Ministry to provide premarital counseling in the Seattle University community. Additionally, Francisco consistently encouraged many classroom discussions on topics relating to relevant social justice issues throughout his time in the program. (Pictured left: Dr. Becky Cobb, Dean Markuly, Francisco Bujanda & Dr. Eppler)

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About The Leo Stanford Award
The Leo Stanford Award is reserved for a Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry graduating student who exceeded the school?s high norms of community service and academic excellence. This award is presented when a graduating student demonstrates exceptional service to the community and academic scholarship merits recognition. This award will be conferred at Seattle University?s Commencement ceremony and named in the Commencement program.?

Awarded on occasion to an outstanding student who closely realizes the school?s vision. The awardee is recognized to be a competent and compassionate minister who is also:

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  • Inclusive and courageous,
  • Rooted in the Gospels, and is
  • Able to translate Christian theology into ministry and relational contexts.

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The award honors the memory of Dr. Leo Stanford, founding director of the Institute of Theological Studies. Dr. Stanford pioneered a vision for lay ministry within the church that became a model for other lay ministry programs in the United States. In this model, students learn to integrate academic theology, pastoral skill training, and spiritual formation leading toward personal and global transformation. The Institute of Theological Studies transitioned to become Seattle University?s School of Theology and Ministry in 1996.

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About The Reverend Dr. Clinton McNair Award
The Reverend Dr. Clinton McNair Award is reserved for a graduating Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry student in the Master of Arts in Relationship and Pastoral Therapy, a couples and family therapy program, who moved beyond the program?s high norms of community service through clinical treatment and academic excellence. This award is presented annually to a graduating student who has demonstrated exceptional service to the community and achieved academic excellence that merits recognition. This award will be conferred at Seattle University?s Commencement ceremony and named in the Commencement program.

Awarded to an outstanding Master of Arts in Relationship and Pastoral Therapy student who:

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  • Identifies as a couples and family therapist, integrating effective, competent clinical education and practice with theological studies and spiritual formation,
  • Demonstrates a commitment to justice and to the well-being of individuals, families, and communities, and is
  • Rooted ethically and philosophically in holistic health and healing practices.

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The award honors faculty emeritus Rev. Dr. Clinton McNair, founding director of Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry?s Pastoral Counseling degree program. Dr. McNair pioneered a vision to bring healing, hope, and wholeness to individuals, families, and underserved communities by training therapists who competently, effectively, and ethically infuse spirituality into their clinical services. Building on his founding work, the program has since evolved to more formally prepare students to become Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT), with the degree name shift to the Master of Arts in Relationship and Pastoral Therapy.