Trailblazers Celebrated at UPSem Banquet

Union Presbyterian Seminary’s Black Alumni/ae Association (BAA) will host its third annual Trailblazers Award Ceremony and Banquet on Friday, February 21, 2014, at 6:00 pm., at C.N. Jenkins Memorial Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. Senior Pastor Rev. Dr. Jerry Cannon will be the keynote speaker.

“Each of this year’s honorees has forged new paths in education and ministry,” said Director of Alumni/ae Development Lynn McClintock. “They have inspired all of us to claim visions, to see challenges as opportunities, and to celebrate God’s good grace.”

Earlier on Friday February 21, at 10:00 a.m., Dr. Rodney Sadler, associate professor of Bible, Charlotte campus, will present “From Seminary to Service.” This educational opportunity is free and open to the public, however, registration is encouraged. For more details and registration on both of these events, please visit:

The honorees for the 2014 Trailblazers Award Ceremony and Banquet are as follows:

The Genesis Award honoring the first two African American graduates from UPSem’s Charlotte campus will be given to Rev. Veronica Cannon (M.Div.’06) the interim pastor to First Presbyterian Church of Lincolnton, as well as Ms. Brenda Foster (M.A.C.E.’06) retired educator with Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools.

The Vanguard Professorship Award will be given to Katie Geneva Cannon, the Annie Scale Rogers Professor of Christian Ethics. The first African-American woman ordained in the United Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Cannon focuses her work in the areas of Christian ethics, Womanist theology, and women in religion and society. She has lectured nationally on theological and ethical topics and is the author or editor of numerous articles and seven books including Katie’s Canon: Womanism and the Soul of the Black Community and Black Womanist Ethics.

Samuel K. Roberts, the Anne Borden and E. Hervey Evans Professor of Theology and Ethics, will receive the Faithful Servant Award in celebration of his near 13 year tenure at Union Presbyterian Seminary as well as his outstanding contributions in the fields of methodological approaches to ethics, theological ethics, public theology, church and state issues, Christian virtue ethics and the theological ethics of Martin Luther King, Jr. Roberts will retire from UPSem in May with a conference  held in his honor: "Faith Seeking Virtue: Contexts, Commitments, Causes” on the seminary’s Richmond campus.

This year’s Trailblazer Award will be given to Dr. Ophelia Garmon-Brown (M.Div. ‘08),who after serving as Vice President of Business & Community Partnerships with Novant Health (Presbyterian Hospital), as well as Novant’s Community Benefit Department, became the  Senior Vice President of Physician Services in 2012. She is currently the chair of the Presbyterian Hospital Ethics Committee and a member of the Executive Committee of Presbyterian Hospital as well as Novant Medical Group.