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Awards and Prizes

Check out the 2016 Fellowships and Awards at a Glance.

Get your questions answered with the 2016 Fellowships and Awards Q&A

Apply now! Here's the 2016 Fellowships and Awards Application.

Awards are given annually to stimulate scholarly study and ministerial development and to recognize excellence of achievement. A student must be in good academic standing at the time he or she applies for or is nominated for an award. The faculty reserves the right in any year not to grant one or more of the awards. Recommendations regarding the recipients in each case are made by the faculty of the respective fields.

All submissions should be made to Alicia Rhine by March 30, 2015, and inquirers should contact Alicia with questions on eligibility or the application process. 

The information on awards and prizes is organized by subject area and by method of competition as follows:

Competitions in Preaching

Candidates may apply or be nominated for the following awards. All application materials should be submitted to the Convenor of the Ministry Field by March 1. The sermons should be submitted with the liturgy of the service and should be integrated with the liturgy, faithful to its scriptural text, sensitive to its audience and persuasive in expression. Sermon manuscripts submitted (one per contestant) must include a cover page stating a description of the preaching situation, the particular need of the congregation that the sermon addresses, the theme or purpose of the sermon, a bulletin of the service, and an audio cassette of the scripture reading and sermon.

The Ellen and James Taylor Awards in Preaching

First and second prizes with appropriate monetary stipends are given for the best sermons submitted.

The Jesse Halsey Award for Imagination in Preaching

A prize, with monetary award, is made annually to the student who has demonstrated a gift for imagination in preaching. Any student in the M.Div. program is eligible.

The Martin D. Kneeland Award for Sermon Delivery

A prize, with monetary award, is given annually to the student who has demonstrated particular gifts in sermon delivery. Any student in the M.Div. program is eligible.

The James W. Angell Award for Preaching with the Congregation

A prize, with monetary award, is offered to the student who has best demonstrated an understanding of the corporate dimensions of preaching: an awareness of the dynamics of the congregation’s life, its needs, its hopes, and the means of realizing its corporate calling.

Competitions by Essay

Candidates may apply or be nominated for the following awards and prizes. Application materials should be submitted to the convenors of the respective fields by March 1.

  • The Nettie F. McCormick Award in Old Testament
  • The Isabella Blackstone Award in New Testament
  • The Isabella Blackstone Award in Church History
  • The Henry P. Crowell Award in Systematic Theology

These four awards, with monetary stipends, are offered for the best essays in the respective fields of study. Candidates for these awards should consult with a professor from the field to which the essay will be submitted. Recommendations for the recipient of each award will be made by the faculty of each field. Seniors in the M.A.T.S. program, and middlers and seniors in the M.Div. program are eligible.

The Henry W. Andersen Award in Pastoral Ministry

This award, with monetary stipend, is offered through the generosity of the First Presbyterian Church, La Grange, Illinois, in honor of their beloved pastor, to the graduating senior in the M.Div. program who composes the best essay on the parish ministry and on his or her reasons for entering it. The essay is normally written for a course in the field of ministry. The candidate for the award is recommended to the faculty by professors in the field.

The Floyd V. Filson Prize

This award was established to honor the memory of Floyd V. Filson, longtime McCormick professor of New Testament, and Faculty Dean. Two prizes may be awarded annually for the best essays in the field of New Testament by students completing their junior year.

Competitions by Examination

The Hugh McBirney Awards in English Bible

First and second awards, with monetary stipends, are given to the students who have earned the highest and second highest scores on the PC(USA) Bible Content Examination.

The Samuel Robinson Awards

Through the generous provision of Mr. Samuel Robinson, 10 monetary awards can be given each year to the 10 members of the student body who are candidates for the ministry and who best pass the memory examination on the Shorter Catechism of The Westminster Confession of Faith. Interested students should contact the Convenor of the Theology/Ethics Field.

Awards by Nomination

The Arthur R. McKay Prize in Theology

This award, established by the family in honor of the president of the Seminary (1957-70), may be awarded annually, with a monetary stipend, to a senior in the M.Div. program who has demonstrated outstanding theological ability. A nominee for the prize is recommended by the faculty in the field of theology. The prize is awarded solely on the basis of a judgment concerning theological ability.

The Marshall Scott Urban / Labor Ministry Award

This award was established by the alumni/ae of the Presbyterian Institute on Industrial Relations (PIIR) in honor of PIIR’s director. The award may be granted annually, with monetary stipend, to a senior in the masters program who has demonstrated excellence, commitment, and promise to urban and/or labor ministry. Nominated students will have a strong academic record (especially as demonstrated in research or analysis in urban ministry courses), give evidence of outstanding work in a ministry site related to urban and/or labor ministry, and provide a brief paper on her/his vision for urban and/or labor ministry.

Awards for International Travel and Study

John Hayes Creighton Fund for Graduate Study in the Holy Land 

This fund provides for two awards enabling students to visit and stay in biblical lands for a period of up to three months. The grants are made on the basis of student proposals submitted to the Committee on Fellowships and Awards. Students who receive grants must have completed one year of seminary (transfer students are eligible), and be intending to enter parish ministry. A student’s plans for travel and study should be connected with one of the many educational programs available in the Middle East. A student receiving an award (including graduating seniors) should anticipate opportunities to share the experience in written and oral reports to the McCormick community. Proposals must be submitted to the Convenor of the Bible Field by the first day of the spring semester.

The George L. Robinson, Ovid R. Sellers, and Ernest Wright Archaeological Awards

These awards, established at the initiative of Mrs. Katherine Sellers, honor three alumni who subsequently became McCormick faculty members in the field of Old Testament. All were internationally recognized for their contributions to biblical archaeology. The income from this fund is to be used to assist in underwriting the costs of one or more students’ participation in an archaeological expedition related to lands associated with the scriptural narratives. Applications should be submitted to the Convenor of the Bible Field by the first day of the spring semester.

The Robert and Jean Boling Memorial Fund for International Travel and Study

This fund honors the life and work of two longtime members of the McCormick community. Through the lens of their faith, Bob and Jean saw the world as a global community in which they lived joyously and worked with determined hope for peace. Over a span of nearly 40 years, Bob and Jean traveled and lived on and off in the Middle East in conjunction with Bob’s ministry as Professor of Old Testament at McCormick. Their life commitments were shaped in large part by relating that region’s rich history and troubled present to biblical hopesfor peace. The Robert and Jean Boling Memorial Fund upholds McCormick’s commitment to global and cross-cultural theological education.

Recognizing the value of firsthand experiences of global community in theological education and leadership formation and acknowledging the need to equip both laypersons and clergy for leadership in ministries of reconciliation, the Boling Memorial Fund was established. The Fund supports international travel and study for theological students and laypersons who seek to enhance cross-cultural understanding and peace. Proposals for travel/study to the Middle East will be given priority consideration. Proposals should be submitted to the Academic Programs and Policies Committee through the Vice President for Academic Affairs by March 1.

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