Lectures & Awards

Gilberto Castañeda Lecture & Scholarship Award

The Gilberto Castañeda Award was established in 1994 in loving memory of Gilberto Castañeda, the son of Dr. Theodore Jennings and Rev. Dr. Ronna Case. Gilberto first met Case in California, where she was worked to develop mission congregations among undocumented workers from Mexico. Gilberto “found the love of God so compelling that he not only became a member, but also a leader in the new congregations of young people” that were being established by Rev. Case. In 1994, at the age of 29, he died of complications from AIDS. Of his life and this scholarship Dr. Jennings writes, “Gilberto was one of the people it would be easy to overlook … In honoring the memory of ‘one of the least of these,’ CTS also honors our common Lord.”

This annual event brings students, faculty, scholars, activists, faith communities and individuals together to engage in religious and theological reflection, and is an expression of the seminary’s commitment to helping transform congregations from places of hostility and alienation to communities of hospitality and empowerment. The Castañeda Award is presented either to openly gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered students or to those who actively support the LGBTQ student community at Chicago Theological Seminary.

Major support for the Castañeda Lecture is provided by Rev. Dr. Ronna Case (DMin 1977) and Dr. Theodore W. Jennings, Jr.

The 2018 Castañeda Lecture will be on Thursday, May 3, 2018 at 6:30 pm. Dr. Robyn Henderson-Espinoza is our lecturer. Topic and other details will follow.

2017 Gilberto Castañeda Scholar Award Recipients will be announced at the lecture. 


C. Shelby Rooks Lecture & Scholarship Award

C. Shelby Rooks was the first African American to serve as president of a predominately white theological school. He was one of the founders of the Society for the Study of Black Religion. An influential minister in the United Church of Christ and in the African-American religious community, Rooks served as executive vice president of the United Church Board for Homeland Ministries from 1984 until his retirement in 1992. Earlier, he headed the Fund for Theological Education in Princeton, New Jersey, and had been pastor of Lincoln Memorial Temple, United Church of Christ, in Washington, D.C. Rooks died May 19, 2001.

The Rooks lecture launches a series of programs, open to the community, that invites individuals and communities, lay, clergy, and scholars to engage in religious and theological reflection on issues relevant to African-American faith, freedom, and justice. The C. Shelby Rooks Scholar Award acknowledges the outstanding work of a particular CTS student who carries Rooks’ legacy in their commitment to community and uses the lessons from the past to guide the future.

Sponsored by the CTS Center for the Study of Black Faith & Life.

This year’s lecturer Rev. Raphael G. Warnock
October, 12, 2017  |  5:15 pm Reception, 6:30 pm Lecture

2017 C. Shelby Rooks Scholar Award Recipient: Aris Simpson


G. Campbell Morgan Preaching Award

The Rev. Dr. G. Campbell Morgan (Doctor of Divinity 1902) was voted one of the ten greatest preachers of the twentieth century by the Christian Century.  The legacy of Dr. Morgan’s preaching is its emphasis on the great themes of Christian theology – creation, providence, and redemption – directed toward the great social and spiritual crises of the day with prophetic pastoral precision. He was a genius of expository preaching, unfolding the biblical text with rigor, compassion, imagination, and art.

The G. Campbell Morgan Award in preaching is awarded to a current Chicago Theological Seminary Master of Divinity student who excels at this work of preaching.

The cash prize of $1,000 for the G. Campbell Morgan Preaching Award is made possible by an endowment gift from Dr. Morgan’s grandchildren. 

The 2018 Recipient is: Cheryl L. Green


Convocation I and II

Convocation provides an opportunity for the CTS community to recognize the importance of our faculty research. Often following a sabbatical, a faculty member is invited to present current considerations and research in their scholarly work. This tradition of inviting faculty to lecture demonstrates our on-going commitment to theological education and academics. It is a reminder that the journey towards social transformation could not exist if not for the brilliant scholars who have the audacity to push the bounds of our understanding.

Convocation I – The Lecture topic is “Reading Tobit from an Asian-American Perspective” given by Professor Seung Ai Yang
Wednesday, September 13, 2017  |  12:00 pm

Convocation II – The Lecture topic is TBA given by Professor Julia M. Speller
Wednesday, November 1, 2017 |  12:00 pm



CONNECTS and RIOTconversations present continuing education workshops for CTS alumni/ae, students, and friends. The topics for the day-long workshops explore pressing issues of today – like women’s rights, and the current political climate. Here is a list of our upcoming RIOTconversations:

Rethinking Veterans Day with Rev. Dr. Zachary Moon
Friday, November 10, 2017  |  9:30 am – 2:30 pm  

Churches can play a crucial role in supporting our nation’s military veterans and their families. In honor of Veterans Day, Chicago Theological Seminary and the Chicago Metropolitan Association are addressing some of the challenges and issues facing our Vets. Registration is available here.


Distinguished Alumni Award

Prior to Commencement, we honor the recipients of the Distinguished Alumni/ae Award. The annual Luncheon is a CTS tradition where we invite graduates, their families, and members of the CTS community to gather together and celebrate the achievements of the graduates and the recipients of the Distinguished Alumni/ae Award. Award winners have demonstrated that they are pillars within their communities and best reflect our message of love and tolerance.
The 2017 recipients were Rev. Dr. Herman Haller (DMin 1984), Rev. Nathan Dannison (MDiv 2009) and Honorable Emily C. Hewitt (DMin 2011).

The William and Lucille Nickerson Scholarship

Offered in memory of the parents of former trustee, Mr. Robert Nickerson, this scholarship provides significant tuition assistance to multiple students each year based on academic merit and financial need.


The Morgan Ebling Scholarship

Honoring the life of Ms. Kim Morgan Ebling, daughter of former board chair and life trustee Dr. Howard C. Morgan, this scholarship provides significant tuition assistance to female students who demonstrate commitment to community activism and networking.


The Muriel I. Olsen Scholarship

Honoring the life of Ms. Olsen, this scholarship provides significant tuition assistance to female students who demonstrate interest in congregational ministry.