2023 Divinity Commencement Awards and Certificates

Academic and Service Awards

Lauren Danielle Garrett, Founder’s Medalist for the Divinity School (Harrison McClary/Vanderbilt)

The Founder’s Medal for first honors in the Divinity School’s Class of 2023:
Lauren Danielle Garrett

The Academic Achievement Award:
Natalie Sarrett

The Umphrey Lee Dean’s Award for exemplifying the mission and vision of the Divinity School:
Travis Chavis and Taqiyyah Elliott

The Florence Conwell Prize for accomplishments in preaching:
Sarah Levy

The Saint James Academy Award for composing the outstanding sermon:
Taylor Ballard

The Frederick Buechner Prize for excellence in preaching:
Jordan Griffin

The Frederick Buechner Prize for the Master of Theological Studies thesis:
Keiko Rachel Cooper-Hohn and Mary Elizabeth Maczka

The Frederick Buechner Prize for the Doctor of Ministry project in integrative chaplaincy:
Aaron Fuller and Michelle Kirby

The W. Kendrick Grobel Award for accomplishments in Biblical studies:
Chinyere Erondu

The J.D. Owen Prize for accomplishments in New Testament studies:
Mary Elizabeth Maczka

The John Olin Knott Award for scholarly writing:
Peyton Chandler, Madeleine Lewis, and Megan Wade

The Elliott F. Shepard Prize for accomplishments in church history:
Joshua Colson

The Wilbur F. Tillett Prize for accomplishments in the study of ethics:
Lauren Danielle Garrett, Josefine Parker, and Royal Steven Todd

The Nella May Overby Memorial Award for honors in field education:
Elizabeth Welliver Hengen

The William A. Newcomb Prize for exemplifying the idea of minister as theologian and for receiving honors on one’s Master of Divinity degree project:
Jemima Chingnenka Suwa

The Liston O. Mills Award for academic distinction in pastoral theology and the study of religion, psychology, and culture:
Isaac Edward Ackerman

The Disciples Divinity House Scholar Award for academic distinction by students representing the Christian Church, Disciples of Christ:
Jemima Chingnenka Suwa

The Robert Lewis Butler Award for service and ministry in the African American Church:
Jordan Thomas Griffin

The United Methodist Student Association Award for exemplifying the Wesleyan ideals of Christian servant leadership:
Allison Koehler

The Doctorate of Ministry Award for distinction in integrative care practices:
Alicia Po Ching and Andrew Turner

The Bettye R. Ford Graduate Student Service Award for significant contributions to Vanderbilt University’s Graduate Department of Religion:
Francisco Garcia

The Student Government Association Service Awards presented to the students and to members of the administration, faculty, and staff for significant contributions to the Divinity School community:

Student: Josefine Parker
Staff: Nonie Bennah
Faculty: Stephanie Budwey, Luce Dean’s Faculty Fellow Assistant Professor of the History and Practice of Christian Worship and the Arts; Director, Religion in the Arts and Contemporary Culture


The Carpenter Program in Religion, Gender, and Sexuality:
Yujin Ahn, Natalie Sarrett, Mary Elizabeth Maczka, and Jemima Chingnenka Suwa

Religion and the Arts in Contemporary Culture:
Peyton Chandler, Kimberly Dillard, Mary Elizabeth Maczka, Josefine Parker, Megan Wade, and Shannon White

The Kelly Miller Smith Institute in Black Church Studies:
Jordan Griffin, Kearra Marche Haynes, Morris Cameron Mitchell, Jemima Chingnenka Suwa, Royal Steven Todd, Shannon White, and Brandon Wooley

The Center for Latin American Studies:
Jacob Gambrell

The Graduate Certificate in Global Health:
Citlali Padilla

Learn more about Vanderbilt Divinity School awards here.