In United News

United receives Lilly Endowment grant to support Houses of Study

Dr. Rosario Picardo named to new position to facilitate expansion of Houses of Study

DAYTON, OHIO, April 23, 2021 — United Theological Seminary has received a $50,000 planning grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., through its Pathways for Tomorrow Initiative. The initiative is encouraging theological schools to explore how they can become more effective in preparing church leaders for congregational ministry.

“We thank God for this amazing gift and know that it will enable us to prepare to provide better educational opportunities for faith-based groups, denominations and other communities of faith,” says Dr. Kent Millard, seminary president.

United will use the planning grant to further develop and research the effectiveness of Houses of Study at the Seminary. According to Dr. Scott Kisker, Associate Dean and Director of the Houses of Study, United’s Houses of Study provide an approach to specialized theological education and formation, designed to leverage leadership and support from partnering religious organizations and prepare students for the unique ministry needs of the communities, movements and denominations in which they serve.

Rosario PicardoDr. Rosario Picardo has been named Director of External Partnerships. In this new role, Dr. Picardo will foster relationships with organizations who desire to equip church leaders with specialized education through Houses of Study at United.

“I’m excited to see how God can use this new initiative to further United’s vision and God’s Kingdom,” says Dr. Picardo. “United’s openness to entrepreneurship and working collaboratively with other groups and institutions sets it apart in theological education.”

Dr. Picardo will continue as an affiliate faculty member and Director of United’s Pohly Leadership Center, which supports the lifelong education of church leaders and clergy of all denominations through continuing education. Since 2018, he has served as Dean of the Chapel at United. Rev. Tesia Mallory, Director of Worship, will succeed Dr. Picardo as Dean of the Chapel.

Tesia MalloryDr. Picardo shares, “I can think of no better or passionate person to be United’s next Dean of the Chapel than Rev. Tesia Mallory. Her desire for renewal in the Church, in students’ lives, and as a resource for alumni/ae is an excellent match with her skillset.”

Rev. Mallory is a provisional deacon in The United Methodist Church. She is completing her doctoral work on Wesleyan Eucharistic theology and practice and anticipates graduating from United with her Doctor of Ministry in May 2021.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly, Sr. and his sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. Although the gifts of stock remain a financial bedrock of the Endowment, it is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion and maintains a special commitment to its founders’ hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana. The Endowment also funds significant programs throughout the United States, especially in the field of religion. The primary aim of its grantmaking in religion focuses on strengthening the leadership and vitality of Christian congregations in the United States.

United Theological Seminary is one of thirteen United Methodist seminaries in the United States. With 446 students from more than 30 denominations, United prepares students from diverse backgrounds to become faithful and fruitful Christian leaders who make disciples of Jesus Christ. On-campus and online learning options provide access to master’s and doctoral theological degrees or continuing education. Founded in 1871 by Bishop Milton Wright, father of aviation pioneers Wilbur and Orville Wright, United has continued in that spirit of innovation to equip the Church for the past 150 years.

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