Hood honors Bill Stanback, Albert Aymer
SALISBURY — The Ninth Annual Bishop James Walker Hood Donor Appreciation Dinner was held May 9 in Lewis Hall at First Presbyterian Church. More than 250 special seminary friends, supporters and alumni gathered to thank the donors of Hood Theological Seminary and for a special tribute to Dr. Albert J.D. Aymer, who is stepping down as president after 19 years of leadership of the seminary.
Aymer surprised Bill Stanback, community leader and longtime friend of the seminary, as the recipient of the highest award given by the school, the Bishop James Walker Hood Award. Later in the evening, the tables were turned on Aymer with the unexpected announcement of a challenge gift to the seminary of $100,000 from Stanback and his wife Nancy for the Aymer Endowed Scholarship Fund.
This scholarship will now be able to provide the first totally funded scholarship for a seminary student. Obviously surprised by the announcement of the donation, Aymer, who usually is not at a loss for words, was speechless. Margaret Kluttz, development officer at Hood said, “This is a shining example of the extraordinary generosity of the Stanbacks to this seminary and their enormous respect for Dr. Aymer. The entire evening was a proud night for Salisbury and a proud night for Hood Theological Seminary.”
Born in Spencer, Stanback is a lifelong resident of the area and a longtime member of First United Methodist Church in Salisbury. An alumnus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he earned his degree there in business, and later continued his education at Harvard Business School.
A veteran of the U.S. Navy, he served during World War II on a destroyer escort in the North Atlantic. Following his military service, he returned home to Salisbury to work in the family business, the Stanback Company, serving as a partner in the company for more than 35 years.
In addition to his business career, Stanback was mayor of Salisbury from 1973 to 1975. Some of his community activities include serving as a board member of the Salisbury Community Foundation and as past president of the Kiwanis Club. He has quietly worked behind the scenes on many fronts throughout this community to open doors for minorities and to help those less fortunate. He is known for his avid interest in the environment, and has been a generous benefactor to the local community, to other educational institutions and to Hood Theological Seminary for many years.
Among the special guests in attendance was the chairman of the Board of Trustees, Bishop Richard K. Thompson, members of the Board of Trustees of the seminary, area ministers, and family and close friends of Dr. Aymer from Antigua, London and Granada.
Hood Theological Seminary, located at 1810 Lutheran Synod Drive, is a graduate and professional school where intellectual discourse and ministerial preparation occur in tandem within the framework of a community of faith. Its student body comprises persons from many different denominations. Hood’s purpose is to educate and prepare its students for leadership in various ministries and vocations to which they feel called of God. As a theological seminary, it provides for the church an educational community in which Christian maturity and ministerial preparation take place together.
Hood is the only theological seminary in the U.S. sponsored by the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church and is approved for the preparation of United Methodist clergy by the University Senate of the United Methodist Church. Hood Seminary is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) in the United States and Canada.