Alum E-News
July/August 2012



United's Alum E-News keeps alums connected with one another and highlights happenings at the seminary. Alum E-News includes information from alums, so please send news you'd like to share for the next issue to by August 15.
Welcoming Our New President!


Faculty, staff, students, alums, and others in the United community are excited that Dr. Barbara Holmes begins her post as president of the seminary on Monday, July 2. We look forward to her energetic spirit, fresh ideas, and enthusiastic leadership!


If you missed it (or want to watch it again!) click the image below to see an interview with Dr. Holmes about herself and her hopes and dreams for United.


Also, watch for more information on an alum gathering with Dr. Holmes this fall!


Meet the Rev. Dr. Barbara A. Holmes, new president of United
"In Her Own Words..."
Rev. Dr. Barbara A. Holmes


Congratulations to United's Class of 2012



Congratulations to 37 students who graduated on May 20 during United's 50th commencement ceremony. The class of 2012 included:

  • 8 Master of Arts graduates
  • 1 Master of Arts in Religious Leadership graduate
  • 20 Master of Divinity graduates
  • 5 Doctor of Ministry graduates (the largest D.Min. class in years!)
  • 1 Master of Arts certificate recipient
  • 2 Doctor of Ministry certificate recipients

Jim Nelson honorary doctorate 

Esteemed professor emeritus Rev. James B. Nelson was awarded an Honorary Doctorate.


Jann Cather Weaver 

Retiring faculty member Jann Cather Weaver received emerita status.


Click here to see pictures and read more about commencement.  



Faculty News


United celebrates the promotion of Barbara Anne Keely to Schilling Professor of Leadership and Economic Life of the Church..
Barbara Anne Keely
Barbara Anne will also continue her role as Faculty Officer for Masters Admissions while continuing to teach courses in Christian education and spirituality. She is also doing research in spiritual formation of seminarians.

Recent Alum News


Leslie Neugent recently passed her ecclesiastical council and will work with Frank Bennett '10 in chaplaincy roles at Wayzata UCC.

Frank Bennett was ordained July 1 at Wayzata Community Church. He will work with Leslie Neugent '12 in chaplaincy roles at Wayzata UCC.

On June 14, the Thomas T. Feeney Manor (a first-in-the-nation assisted living/memory care public housing development) was dedicated in honor of alum Lyn Burton's deceased husband. Tom was the regional director of HUD for decades.

Gail Anderson, director of unity and relationships at the Minnesota Council of Churches, was recently interviewed in the Pioneer Press regarding her work with the Respectful Conversations Project. The project will help Minnesotans explore their deeply held convictions regarding the proposed marriage amendment while maintaining respectful relationships with those with differing views. Read the article here.

Rev. Frank Picard retired from ministry on May 6. Frank is currently living in Florida most of the time, with a few months each year spent at his cabin in northern Wisconsin.

Rev. Anita Hill began a new position as regional director of Lutherans Concerned/North America on May 1.

Rev. Dr. Gary Reierson retires July 2nd after 23 years as President of the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches. He will continue teaching part-time at the School of Theology and Seminary at St. John's University, and will be leading (part-time) a new project on pastoral leadership in January in the Twin Cities area for the Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research.

In Memory and with Gratitude

Edna 'Pete' Carlson '80 of Summit Place, Eden Prairie, died mid-June of a stroke. Services are pending. Read the obituary here.

Calvin Helming '54 (Mission House Seminary) died June 18. He lived in Holmen, Wisconsin, and his service was held at First Congregational UCC in LaCrosse, Wisc. Read the obituary here.

Sue Lewandowski passed away in February. "Sue Lew" was the former food service manager for the Context Cafe. Read the obituary here.

Kathleen Plumb, wife of David Plumb '74, passed away on May 18. Among many other things, Kathy was an active and productive volunteer and leader in all settings of the United Church of Christ and founded Progressive Women for Democracy. Click here to read the obituary. 

Rev. Harry Stroessner '55 '84, died of cancer January 9 in an Edina hospice. Harry was a United Church of Christ pastor who founded All Nations Church in Minneapolis. Read the obituary here.

Do you have news you'd like to share? Send it to Kayla at by August 15 to be included in the next edition of Alum E-News.

Join United on a Global Justice Trip to South Africa
January 4 - 24, 2013
Faculty leader: Chris Smith 
 South Africa trip 
Estimated price: $5,500 (with 17 participants) 
First payment ($600) due July 6, 2012 
Course title: Theological reflection: AIDS, Apartheid, and the Arts of Resistance (Alums and guests are invited to audit the course.) 
For more information, see the attached flier or contact Chris Smith at 
In This Issue
Welcoming Our New President
Commencement 2012
Faculty News
Recent Alum News
Travel to South Africa
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