May 82019

Carole Browe Segal to Receive Honorary Degree From Chicago Theological Seminary; Rev. Susan B. Thistlethwaite, PhD Named Commencement Speaker

CHICAGO – May 8, 2019 – Chicago Theological Seminary’s (CTS) 2019 Commencement exercises will introduce the next generation of leaders, thought provokers, pastors, religious scholars, and community leaders. Crate & Barrel co-founder and CTS Trustee Carole Browe Segal will receive an Honorary Degree, and Rev. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, PhD, professor emerita and past president of CTS will be the keynote speaker at the ceremony on Friday, May 17 at 2pm at Trinity United Church of Christ.

2019 Honorary Degree recipient, Carole Browe Segal is the co-founder of Crate and Barrel, the founder and former CEO of Foodstuffs, and the president of the Segal Family Foundation. Ms. Segal is a trustee of Rush University Medical Center and chairs the Board of Governors at Rush University. She is a trustee emeritus of Bates College, a life trustee of Illinois Institute of Technology, a trustee of Chicago Theological Seminary where she co-chairs the InterReligious Institute Advisory Council and serves on the Board of Overseers of Colorado Mountain College. Segal is a graduate of Northwestern University, is the past president of the NU Women’s Board, and serves on the NU Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences visiting committee. She is a member of the Board of Directors of Crow Canyon Archaeological Center and is also a co-chair of the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition (IBIC).

“Carole has been a tremendous asset to our seminary,” vice president of academic affairs and academic dean Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder said. “From her work with our InterReligious Institute to her years of support for our students, our work, our mission, we are proud to recognize all of Carole’s accomplishments and tireless work for humanitarian causes and take great pleasure in granting her an honorary degree.”

It is Segal’s tireless work for all of humanity and her desire to help others that the seminary recognizes in bestowing this Honorary Degree. Segal is especially devoted to her work on behalf of immigrants as co-chair of the IBIC.

“I am thrilled to receive this honor from an institution that means the world to me,” Segal said in a statement. “CTS is doing important work in theological education and specifically in interreligious engagement and research which is critical to our world today and more so to the future. It’s been my pleasure to serve as a Trustee and to play a part in making a positive change in the world.”

Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite has a long history with the seminary. She arrived at CTS in 1984 as a member of the faculty, having served as an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ. When she was appointed president in 1998, Thistlethwaite made history as the first woman to hold the position. During her tenure, she built upon the legacy of her predecessor, Rev. Dr. Kenneth B. Smith, Sr., hiring world-class faculty and leading the seminary during the negotiations and construction of the new CTS building in 2008. In 2008, she returned as full-time faculty after serving two five-year terms as president.

“Susan has left her mark on this institution,” CTS president Rev. Dr. Stephen G. Ray Jr. said. “From being the first woman to occupy the position of president to seeing the seminary through the transition to a new building and being a tireless advocate for justice and mercy, Susan exemplifies everything about CTS. She has been a tremendous asset to us, and we will miss her presence, but wish her the best in the next phase of her journey.”

“I have never felt as free to speak my mind and teach on the edge as I have in my 30 plus years at CTS,” Thistlethwaite said. “The spaces to do this kind of work, to break stained glass ceilings and resist effectively, are being attacked precisely because they bring about effective change. I will ask all our graduates, as I have for so long, ‘speak up and act for justice.’ And I will try to continue to do that as long as I live.”

Thistlethwaite is the author and editor of numerous books and has been a translator for two different versions of the Bible. She has written a weekly column for the Washington Post’s On
section and is a frequent media commentator on religion and public events.  Her book, Dreaming of Eden: American Religion and Politics in a Wired World, was published in October 2010 by Palgrave-Macmillan.

Thistlethwaite has a PhD from Duke University, a master of divinity (Summa Cum Laude) from Duke Divinity School, and a bachelor degree from Smith College.