Started UPSem 2009: Rev. British Hyrams (MDiv/MACE 2016)
- Started UPSem 2002: Rev. Lori Raible (MDiv 2006)
- Started UPSem 2003: Rev. Dr. Ophelia Garmon-Brown (MDiv 2008)
- Started UPSem 2004: Rev. Nadine Ellsworth-Moran (MDiv / MACE 2011)
- Started UPSem 2005: Rev. Noe Juarez-Loayza (MDiv 2010)
- Started UPSem 2006: Rev. Lorenzo Small (MDiv 2013)
- Started UPSem 2007: Rev. Ken Fuquay (MACE 2011 / MDiv 2015)
- Started UPSem 2008: Rev. Jonathan Davis (MDiv 2014)
- Started UPSem 2009: Rev. British Hyrams (MDiv/MACE 2016)
- Started UPSem 2010: Rev. Charmaine Smith (MDiv 2017)
- Started UPSem 2011: Rev. Vikki Brogdon (MDiv 2016)
- Started UPSem 2012: Rev. Dr. Doug Harr (MDiv 2018)
- Started UPSem 2013: Martin Pruitt (MDiv 2018 / MACE 2019)
- Started UPSem 2014: Rev. William Joseph “Joey” Haynes III (MDiv 2019)
- Started UPSem 2015: Rev. Gail Henderson-Belsito (MDiv 2020)
- Started UPSem 2016: Rev. Eric Tang (MDiv 2021)
- Started UPSem 2017: Rev. Marina Luckhoo (pursuing MDiv)
- Started UPSem 2018: Jason Smith
- Started UPSem 2019: Ryan Atkinson
- Started UPSem 2020: Sedae Slaughter (pursuing MACE)
- 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.
North Carolina Central University
Durham, North Carolina
Rev. British Hyrams (MDiv/MACE 2016) had not initially considered a vocation in ministry.
A self-described Midwesterner and only child, Hyrams grew up in and around Chicago, Illinois. She married her college sweetheart in the late ’80s. Together, they and their three children found their way to the Charlotte area a little more than a decade ago. Prior to arriving in Charlotte, Hyrams earned a degree in industrial engineering from Purdue University and worked in a variety of fields from information technology to education. Before enrolling at UPSem Charlotte, Hyrams emerged from an eclectic religious background, landing in the PC(USA) where she would seek ordination as a Minister of Word and Sacrament.
“Much to my surprise, I was encouraged by my pastor to explore seminary as a ‘next step’ in discovering where the Lord might be leading me in life,” Hyrams said.
Once she began to explore the possibility of seminary, she researched theological institutions in the area and ultimately chose to attend Union Presbyterian Seminary in 2009. She chose UPSem Charlotte, Hyrams notes, for several reasons: 1) high recommendations by respected family and friends; 2) UPSem’s openness to a diversity of thought; and 3) its pursuit of variety in the make-up of the student, faculty, and staff populations. Charlotte’s campus profile, commitments, accessibility, and format made her exploration of a call to ministry move from an idea to a real possibility. Speculating on what makes UPSem Charlotte a special place, she concludes that it comes down to one word: Accessibility.
“The course delivery format gives working adults access to a quality graduate program,” she said. “The financial support and cost structure make paying for seminary reasonable. The supportive community makes completing the program possible. Together, these three give many answering a call to ministry access.”
Like others who have studied on the Charlotte campus, Hyrams values the connections made both inside and outside the classroom, connections that persist well beyond graduation. She reflects, “The individual connections and relationships I made with everyone on campus were priceless. These relationships still impact my personal and ministry life today. In addition, the pastoral and grace-filled approach employed by professors helped me make it through the rough times in my journey of faith and life.”
After graduation, Hyrams initially had no intention of becoming a pastor. But she did just that.
“Twice I served as an associate pastor before accepting my current call as the Presbyterian Campus Minister at North Carolina Central University,” she said. “This current call is the perfect one for me at this point in my life.”