Started UPSem 2013: Martin Pruitt (MDiv 2018 / MACE 2019)

  1. Started UPSem 2002: Rev. Lori Raible (MDiv 2006)
  2. Started UPSem 2003: Rev. Dr. Ophelia Garmon-Brown (MDiv 2008)
  3. Started UPSem 2004: Rev. Nadine Ellsworth-Moran (MDiv / MACE 2011)
  4. Started UPSem 2005: Rev. Noe Juarez-Loayza (MDiv 2010)
  5. Started UPSem 2006: Rev. Lorenzo Small (MDiv 2013)
  6. Started UPSem 2007: Rev. Ken Fuquay (MACE 2011 / MDiv 2015)
  7. Started UPSem 2008: Rev. Jonathan Davis (MDiv 2014) 
  8. Started UPSem 2009: Rev. British Hyrams (MDiv/MACE 2016)
  9. Started UPSem 2010: Rev. Charmaine Smith (MDiv 2017)
  10. Started UPSem 2011: Rev. Vikki Brogdon (MDiv 2016)
  11. Started UPSem 2012: Rev. Dr. Doug Harr (MDiv 2018)
  12. Started UPSem 2013: Martin Pruitt (MDiv 2018 / MACE 2019)
  13. Started UPSem 2014: Rev. William Joseph “Joey” Haynes III (MDiv 2019)
  14. Started UPSem 2015: Rev. Gail Henderson-Belsito (MDiv 2020)
  15. Started UPSem 2016: Rev. Eric Tang (MDiv 2021)
  16. Started UPSem 2017: Rev. Marina Luckhoo (pursuing MDiv)
  17. Started UPSem 2018: Jason Smith
  18. Started UPSem 2019: Ryan Atkinson
  19. Started UPSem 2020: Sedae Slaughter (pursuing MACE)
  20. Started UPSem 2021: Matt Wiedle (pursuing MDiv and MACE)

The following is part of a series of 20 profiles that represent each year that Charlotte has been enrolling students. 

Director of High School and College Ministries
Covenant Presbyterian Church
Charlotte, North Carolina

Born and reared in the Palmetto State, Martin Pruitt (MDiv 2018 / MACE 2019) lived in Anderson, South Carolina, his whole life until traveling north up I-85 to Charlotte after college. Pruitt does not represent the standard demographic for most students enrolling on the Charlotte campus. Rather than coming as a second-career student, Pruitt arrived at 21. Despite his youth, Pruitt was already seasoned in church life. Before Union Presbyterian Seminary, he graduated from Presbyterian College, worked at his presbytery’s Camp Buc, and interned at two Presbyterian churches.

Pruitt felt called to ministry from a young age and clarified that call into ordained ministry as a young adult. For him, the notion to attend seminary was familiar and anticipated. The only question was which one? For Pruitt, that decision was made easier while in college. He confesses, “Honestly, I chose UPSem Charlotte because of the incredible admissions representative that always made a special effort to speak with me whenever she came to my college campus. The personal connection that we made and her dedication to getting me into the right place meant the world to me and made me pursue UPSem above any other seminary.” At UPSem Charlotte, he felt the structure of the educational program was ideal, as it allowed him to study and learn about ministry while working at a church. For him, that link between studying and working turned his seminary experience into a laboratory for learning. “Getting the opportunity to work full time in a church, immediately putting into practice the things I was learning in seminary, was a big selling point for me to enroll in Charlotte.”

This connection between the life in the classroom and that beyond it defines the ethos of seminary, especially the Charlotte campus, for Pruitt. As he sees it, UPSem Charlotte challenges convention. “The Charlotte Campus is so important because it is serving the church in the world in a way that no other seminary quite catches. Being able to live in Charlotte and the surrounding area, work full time, have a family, and pursue education seems impossible, but the campus in Charlotte helps to make that dream a reality.” These altered expectations are what Pruitt thinks would be the most surprising thing for others to learn about UPSem Charlotte. For him, seminary is not what others might presume it is. “I think a lot of folks imagine seminary as a dusty old building where people read theology texts from hundreds of years ago and talk about how important it is to never change. We aren’t studying to serve the church from yesterday. We study to be able to serve the church of today and to keep the church healthy and alive, working to grow and empower the church for the future, serving human need, fighting for justice, and spreading the Gospel.”

When not working at Covenant Presbyterian Church, Pruitt may be found in West Charlotte with his wife, their three cats, and their seven chickens.