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Hood Seminary gets $100,000 endowment

Hood Seminary News Service 

Hood Theological Seminary has received a $100,000 gift from the Dr. Leon Walter Watts II Memorial Scholarship Fund Inc. to the seminary’s Restricted Endowment to establish a Professorial Chair in Black Theology and the Black Church in memory of Dr. Leon Walter Watts II.

In announcing the endowment gift, Dr. Vergel Lattimore, president of the seminary, said, “We are indeed honored and very blessed to be the recipient of this extraordinary gift. Dr. Watts was not only a distinguished AME Zion pastor, but a scholarly teacher and theologian, a civil and human rights activist, an advocate for authentic theological and culturally dynamic education, a student of homiletics and liturgical excellence, and a caring mentor for the developmental formation of pastors.

A graduate of Livingstone College, Watts received his master of divinity degree from Hood Theological Seminary in 1960 and pursued his doctorate at Union Theological Seminary in New York. He was appointed a professor of theology and practical theology at Yale Divinity School where he taught for seventeen years.

He was a lifelong member of the AME Zion Church and was actively involved, participating on many of its boards and committees. He also continued to be involved in the life of Hood throughout his career.

The Board of Trustees of the Dr. Leon Walter Watts Scholarship Fund Inc., headquartered in Hempstead, N.Y., began this effort 10 years ago in honor of  Watts and plans to continue contributing to this new endowment fund until it reaches $500,000, the point at which it will be fully funded.

In presenting the gift to the seminary, the Board of Trustees said, “Establishing a chair is an ambitious undertaking with many challenges. However, we recognize that this Professorial Chair would seek to honor the distinguished life and works of the Reverend Dr. Watts who served his beloved African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in so many different ways until his death in 2003. Establishing the chair is an affirmation of our faith and a measure of our commitment to ensuring that a cadre of informed and committed clergy will emerge prepared to serve humankind.”

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. Accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada, the seminary is sponsored by the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church and approved by the University Senate of the United Methodist Church. Its student body and faculty are currently comprised of persons from many different denominations. As a theological seminary, it provides for the church an educational community in which Christian maturity and ministerial preparation take place together.

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