Meet Our Donors

The Rev. Dr. Hilary Cooke
Doctor of Ministry in Psychotherapy and Faith, 2012

Do you have a favorite CTS memory? HC: The cohort experience in the CTS Counseling Center was a highlight of my experience at CTS. The deep and wonderful friendships I formed with the six women in my cohort will sustain me in the future as I continue my ministry.

What makes the community at CTS unique?

HC: There is a very strong sense of community, even for a campus that attracts a significant number of commuters. I love the “ministry of the cafeteria” at CTS and the table fellowship it enables. I’m so delighted that President Boulton brought back the campus cafeteria. From an academic perspective, the diversity of programs differentiates CTS from other seminaries, particularly the rich integration of the counseling and ministry programs. Finally, the professors are very dedicated. As a native of the East Coast, I sometimes think the Midwest is unfairly overlooked in the higher education community. CTS is a hidden bit of gold in the Midwest.

Why do you choose to give to CTS?

HC: My education at CTS will allow me to impact many people in my community and through my ministry. My time at CTS fostered a deeper gratitude, sense of community and openness of spirit. Quite honestly, I sometimes worry about the future of theological education in the U.S. As an Episcopalian, I’ve seen some seminaries close their doors and that’s very sad. I’m very grateful for how CTS impacted my life and see my giving as a wonderful opportunity to give back.

You’re a recent graduate. How long have you been giving to CTS?

HC: I just started giving in the past year. While I wasn’t able to give as a student, I always knew that I wanted to begin giving to CTS as soon as I graduated. Even though I wasn’t a scholarship student, I am aware that the opportunities I had at CTS were dependent upon the generosity of others. Paying the gift forward to help other students is a wonderful opportunity.

John Mutz
Former CTS Board Chair, Honorary Doctorate

How has CTS touched your life?

JM:  CTS has touched me and my family in different ways over the years. My wife Carolyn enrolled in a pastoral counseling program at CTS and became fascinated by Carl Jung’s writings. Her work at CTS and the study of Jung’s writings strengthened our marriage. My son Mark chaired the CTS Board and is presently working with CTS leadership to explore the relationship between religion and the law.During my tenure as president of Lilly Endowment, CTS provided insight into theological issues impacting the future of mainline Protestantism. My work in politics and the non-profit community led me to become involved with the CTS Board of Directors. Dick Petticrew and J. Irwin Miller were good friends and mentors who engaged me in discussion and service. Over the decades, the opportunity for me to be involved with CTS programs has continued. Most recently, I was a panelist at the 2012 Petticrew Faith-in-Action Program.

What makes the CTS community unique?

JM: CTS is one of the best kept secrets in Indiana. It is the largest theological seminary in Indianapolis and it is very distinct in its interpretation of diversity. Although CTS is a Disciples of Christ sponsored seminary, its faculty and students represent a tremendous breadth of religious beliefs. There is much said in the academic world today about diversity, but the most important kind of diversity is not focused on ethnicity or nationality, but is instead focused on ideas.

Former CTS President T.J. Liggett established a legacy of grassroots work that emphasizes the value of connecting ministry with pressing social concerns throughout the community. This form of ministry with community organizations and non-congregational entities continues at CTS today.

Why do you choose to give to CTS?

JM: Three reasons come to mind. First, I give because of the gifts CTS has given to me; gifts like inspiration, insight and education. My giving is a way of saying thank you for how CTS changed my life.

The second reason I give to CTS reflects my belief that it is important for any metropolitan area to have a spiritual underpinning. Thriving communities need a central place where people of diverse beliefs can come together to talk in an open, community-based context.

Finally, I think we have an opportunity at this moment to figure out the future of theological education in America. CTS’s new leadership is actively working on that very issue right now. We have a wonderful opportunity to examine how theological education should function, how it should teach and even how it should be financed. Now is an unusual and opportune moment to study both intellectual and theological issues surrounding theological education in our nation.

The Rev. Jean Smith
Masters of Divinity, 1999

What is your relationship to CTS?

JS: I earned a Masters of Divinity from CTS in 1999. I was aware of CTS earlier in my career through my work with Lilly Endowment. I still try to stay involved with CTS as it is such a wonderful, giving community.

Do you have a favorite CTS memory?

JS: There are so many, but some of my best memories involve classroom conversations. Ron Allen was a fantastic teacher who was incredibly supportive and also knew how to push me so that I could do more than I thought I could do. He is also great fun to be around!My first Old Testament class was led by Gerry Janzen and set the tone for my time at CTS. The class swept me up in Bible study as I learned how to make sense of intricate texts. Rufus Burrow’s ethics class was also quite amazing and encouraged me to find my prophetic voice. Bernie Lyon taught me so much about how to provide pastoral care. I also loved the experience of serving as a teaching assistant for Raymond Sommerville’s class on church history.

How long have you been giving to CTS?

JS:  I began giving when I was still a student, as a means of expressing my gratitude for the very rich theological education I received.

What makes the community at CTS unique?

JS: I came to CTS for a very practical reason—because it was the seminary in Indianapolis and I needed an educational environment close to my home and work. It simply wasn’t practical for me to attend an Episcopal seminary. Being in an ecumenical seminary was a growing experience because I was exposed to so many other faiths during my time at CTS. For example, I was asked a lot of questions about Episcopal worship and its rich tradition of liturgy. I never would have had those conversations if I’d gone to a single-denomination seminary.

Why do you choose to give to CTS?

I give out of gratitude. My desire to give back to CTS really comes without thought. Not giving is simply not an option I would consider.