Dr. Debra J. Mumford Named GTU Alumna of the Year

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GTU Communications

Dr. Debra J. Mumford Named GTU Alumna of the Year

Rev. Dr. Debra J. Mumford, 2019 GTU Alumna of the Year

September 3, 2019 – Berkeley, CA   The Graduate Theological Union is pleased to announce that the Rev. Dr. Debra J. Mumford (PhD, ‘07) has been selected as the GTU’s 2019 Alumna of the Year. Dr. Mumford is the Frank H. Caldwell Professor of Homiletics at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, where she has taught since 2007. Since 2014, Dr. Mumford has also served as Director of the Money Matters for Ministry program at Louisville Seminary, a Lilly funded effort that seeks to help seminary students, pastors, and congregations learn to manage their money more wisely and effectively. She is the author of two books, Envisioning the Reign of God: Preaching for Tomorrow (Judson Press, scheduled for October 2019) and Exploring Prosperity Preaching: Biblical Health, Wealth, and Wisdom (Judson 2012), as well as dozens of journal articles and book chapters.

In addition to receiving her PhD in Homiletics from the GTU in 2007, Mumford earned a Master of Arts in Biblical Languages from the GTU, and a Master of Divinity from the American Baptist Seminary of the West in Berkeley, a member school of the GTU. She is an ordained pastor of the American Baptist Churches USA, with clergy recognition by the Alliance of Baptists.

“The GTU helped me learn to think critically about the Bible, my faith, and the world in general. . . . As a result, I take every opportunity to teach others to challenge the status quo and transgress any boundaries that seek to oppress or marginalize.”

--Dr. Debra Mumford, 2019 GTU Alumna of the Year

Dr. Uriah Kim, Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the GTU, celebrated Debra Mumford’s selection. “In her scholarship, teaching, ministry, and service, Dr. Debra Mumford has amply demonstrated the new model for theological educators of the twenty-first century. The work of contemporary religious educators not only must be characterized by rigorous thinking and passionate action, but also must be infused with an entrepreneurial spirit and an interreligious sensibility. Debra embodies all these qualities so central to the GTU, and we are proud to name her alumna of the year.”

Upon learning of her selection, Dr. Mumford shared briefly about the role the GTU played in her journey as a scholar and pastor: “My time at the GTU was transformative. I was blessed to have excellent teachers such as Mary Donovan Turner and Jana Childers and mentors such as LeAnn Flesher and J. Alfred Smith Sr. who equipped me well to be a teacher and scholar in my field of Homiletics, but also helped me learn to think critically about the Bible, my faith, and the world in general. The GTU also opened up my ability to see God or goodness in many other traditions, and to listen more closely to my sisters and brothers of other faiths. As a result, I take every opportunity to teach others to challenge the status quo and transgress any boundaries that seek to oppress or marginalize. The GTU helped me find my prophetic voice. In turn, I try to help others find their prophetic voices for preaching in particular and ministry in general.”

Dr. Debra Mumford will be honored at the GTU Alumni Reception at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion / Society for Biblical Literature in San Diego, CA, on Saturday, November 23, 2019.