Anonymous donor gives Columbia seminary $1 million gift

Columbia Theological Seminary is pleased to announce the creation of The Rev. Dr. Thomas W. and Jan C. Walker Presidential Scholarship. The new scholarship was made possible by an endowment gift of $1 million from an anonymous donor in honor of the lifetime of Christian service by the couple.

“We are excited about this award which recognizes the pastoral and lay leadership of Tom and Jan at Palms Presbyterian Church in Jacksonville Beach, FL,” said Dr. Leanne Van Dyk, president of Columbia Seminary. “Columbia Theological Seminary was formative in Tom’s pastoral leadership. This endowment gift will provide a permanent way to recognize their ministry and continue to support the development of future ministerial leaders at Columbia Theological Seminary.”

The gift is one of the largest received in recent years. It supports a new level of scholarship for a three-year Master of Divinity degree. The Rev. Dr. Thomas W. and Jan C. Walker Presidential Scholarship will be awarded for the full cost of attendance plus a stipend for students from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) who show outstanding promise for pastoral ministry with a preference for recent college graduates.

The Walkers have shared pastoral ministry in a variety of places for over thirty years, most notably at Palms Presbyterian Church in Jacksonville Beach, Florida for the past 17 years. Tom Walker, a 1989 graduate of Columbia Theological Seminary, also serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees of Columbia Seminary.

Leanne Van Dyk

“I am humbled and honored that such a significant gift would be made on our behalf,” said Tom Walker. “It is my hope that The Walker Presidential Scholarship will be a gift to seminary students for generations to come.”

The gift represents a trend for donors of Columbia Seminary who are giving in appreciation of pastoral ministry rather than in their own name. These gifts reflect the important role that pastors have in the lives of the people of their congregations. Two buildings on campus carry a similar honor for pastors from the Greater Atlanta area: the W. Frank Harrington Center and the Vernon S. Broyles Jr. Leadership Center.