Friday, February 8, 2013

Whitworth alumna receives Presbyterian Leadership Award

After a year-long pastoral internship at Whitworth Community Presbyterian Church, Kari Olson, ’11, received the 2012-13 Presbyterian Leadership Award. This scholarship is awarded to a few Presbyterian students entering seminary based upon their strong academic achievement and their potential for pastoral ministry in the Presbyterian Church (USA). This award provides funding as Olson continues her education in pursuit of an M.Div. degree at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, N.J.


The Presbyterian Leadership Award is a merit-based scholarship offered by Princeton Theological Seminary that covers Olson’s tuition annually in addition to a $3,500 annual stipend. The Princeton admissions committee handpicks the student recipients.

“I was thrilled and grateful to receive the award,” says Olson. “I have a deep love for the church and feel a strong calling to study well in order to serve it.

As a Whitworth student, Olson double-majored in theology and communication studies. She also was a member of the mentorship program Weyerhaeuser Younger Scholars and served as a Young Life leader in the Spokane community.

Olson says Whitworth prepared her extremely well for seminary, and she went in with significant knowledge in church history, biblical studies and theology. She says this is because of the combined strength of the theology department and her Whitworth mentors, Professor of Communication Studies Ron Pyle and Professor of Theology Jim Edwards.

“I had more classes with Ron and Jim than with any other professors, so they know me well both in and out of class,” says Olson. “Ron has invested a lot in me and was a significant source of encouragement throughout my time at Whitworth. He was someone who helped me process my experiences in school, ministry and other relationships. Jim was the one who told me that I shouldn’t waste my time applying anywhere but Princeton – and he was right. Both Ron and Jim still know me well and speak truth and encouragement into my life.”

After completing seminary, Olson hopes to serve as an ordained pastor in the PCUSA.
Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.