(PNS) Mary Lee Dayton, wife of the late Wally Dayton — president of Dayton Development Company (Dayton department stores) — has pledged $1 million to the Mission Initiative: Joining Hearts and Hands (MIJHH) to support the Presbyterian Theological Seminary of Cameroon, Africa.
Her gift was announced Jan. 22 during worship at Westminster Church in Minneapolis, Minn., where she is a member and where her father, the late Arnold Lowe, served as pastor. Her gift, which establishes a permanent endowment for the seminary through the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Foundation, also represents an early commitment to the congregation’s 150th anniversary campaign, slated for 2007.
Dayton’s connection to Cameroon is very personal. Her father began his ministry there in 1912 as a Presbyterian missionary. Later, he served as pastor of Westminster Church (1941-1965).
The Presbyterian Theological Seminary of Cameroon, located outside the city of Kumba, has a faculty of 10 and a current enrollment of approximately 70 students. Established in 1952, it offers a four-year bachelor of theology degree program and is one of the few seminaries in all of West and Central Africa to educate both men and women for ordained ministry.
Dayton’s gift will increase the seminary’s annual income by approximately fifty percent. It will be used to supplement the salary of a non-Cameroonian professor, underwrite the salary of Cameroonian professors, provide graduate fellowships for Cameroonian professors to study for masters and doctoral degrees outside Cameroon, offer stipends for student assistants, expand library holdings and strengthen academic planning.