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Alumni Spotlight

Class of 2002

For the first alumni spotlight, we want to recognize the members of the class of 2002, the pioneers who walked through the doors of Wingate Hall when the School of Divinity opened in 1999! 

We asked class members to describe their time at Wake Div and their responses revealed a diversity of experience.  But all were held together by a thread of gratitude for the chance to pave the way in a new and exciting venture.  Here are a few of the comments.

Susan Parker, Pastor for Pastoral Ministry at Wake Forest Baptist Church (Winston Salem, NC)

Going to Wake div was the best decision I’ve made.  I learned a tremendous amount while a student, learning that came through books, yes, but also through amazing professors, and stellar classmates.  But it would not have been possible for me to come if the school had not determined that it would have an open admissions policy.  There were many divinity schools where I would have had to be “in the closet” in order to be admitted.  Some contributors were not happy about this admissions policy, but the decision was a good one, and opened the way for a lot of talented LGBT students to be part of the school.

Linda Browne, Chaplain and Spiritual Director at Salemtowne (Winston Salem, NC)

I waited for ten years for the divinity school to be opened and was so pleased to enter with the first class.

At the divinity school, we were intellectually challenged, and did all we could to wrestle with our callings and pastoral voice. Then we were let loose!  Like many students, we had mixed feeling at graduating – glad to be done with deadlines and assignments to write (so we thought!) yet so sad at saying good-bye to dear friends.  

Along with a first-class foundation for ministry that I received from the faculty, I gained lifelong friendships with fellow pastors, upon whom I call for personal support, and professional consultation.

Ann Brinson, Minister at Pink Hill Presbyterian Church (Pink Hill, NC)

One of our professors compared the theological education experience to “removing your heart from your body, examining it closely, and replacing it in a very different position.”  The Divinity School provided a safe place to examine my personal theology and adjust it to my own pastoral identity. I’m very grateful to Wake Div for this experience as I pastor a church, thinking and acting theologically within the daily lives of my parishioners and the community. 

To all ’02 alumni, thank you for your courage, enthusiasm, and sense of adventure.  We’re also very grateful to the class for establishing the Masters of Divinity Inaugural Class scholarship fund.  The fund became fully endowed last year thanks in large part to the generosity of ’02 alumni.  Congratulations!


Wake Forest University School of Divinity Class of 2002

 Ann Brinson

Robin Brooks

David Brown

Linda Browne

Carl Cross, Jr.

Amy Finkelberg

Jennie Hemrick

Joanne Henley

Elizabeth Horton

Cynthia Hoots

Brandon Jones

Margaret Matthews

Jeanette Quick

Susan Parker

Megan Reynolds

Brad Tharpe

Kristin Vaughn

Elinor Wilburn

Stephanie Wyatt

Nathan Yoder