Jane Newhall (born October 4, 1913), a generous benefactor to the Graduate Theological Union and GTU member school San Francisco Theological Seminary (SFTS), died July 27 in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, at the age of 97. Newhall suffered a stroke in early July and then contracted pneumonia. A memorial will likely take place at Calvary Presbyterian Church at a date to be determined.
Newhall was an ardent supporter of the GTU and began serving on the Board of Trustees in 1968. She served as the Board Secretary for a number of years and was eventually named a Life Trustee (1995) and a Trustee Emerita (1999).
Through all her support over the decades, perhaps her legacy is most visible in the students of GTU. In 1987, she established the endowment that funds the Newhall Fellows, a program which encourages doctoral students through competitive awards to engage in collaborative teaching or research with a faculty mentor. Since 1995, about 330 doctoral students have been Newhall Fellows and around $1 million has been awarded. The students benefitting from this professional development opportunity to develop and teach new courses, lead research and expand the boundaries of innovative scholarship have become some of our most academically influential alumni.
Newhall joined the SFTS Board of Trustees in 1968 and became a Life Trustee in 1993. She established the Newhall Endowment for Faculty Support Fund, which provided travel funds to allow SFTS professors to attend national academic conferences, and the Almer Mayo Newhall Chair in honor of her uncle who served as an SFTS Trustee from 1917-1933.
She was an active member of Calvary Presbyterian Church in San Francisco where she began attending at the age of 6. She sang in the church choir, served as an ordained elder who was on the church Session multiple times, regularly participated in senior women’s Bible study groups and was a prayer group leader.
Her great-grandfather, Henry Mayo Newhall, founded the town of Newhall, CA, in 1876 and gave his namesake to the Henry Mayo Newhall Foundation, a family foundation based in San Francisco. Jane Newhall served as the foundation’s director from its inception in 1963 until her death. She also served as director of the Newhall Land & Farming Company.