Date: June 15, 2022
In the earlier commentaries this week, we mentioned the importance of relationships with those who claim VTS as their Seminary and those who support VTS’ mission and ministry. Much of this relational work goes beyond the Holy Hill. Ideally, it takes the form of in-person visits, parish and diocesan visits, and presence at ordinations and other special events. The pandemic changed our gathering protocols, so we (like so many others) now include a hybrid format (online and in-person) for most events. Shelagh Casey Brown, director of alumni and church relations, is always at the forefront of this external outreach and gatherings with VTS alumni.
Commentary readers might already know that Shelagh organizes events and programs of various kinds, such as alumni Convocation, the “homecoming” for our alumni when classes gather for a keynote and hold reunions. Perhaps less known is Shelagh’s work in placement for our graduating seniors and alumni seeking new calls.
Shelagh introduces herself to each entering class and lets them know she is available to help with placement upon graduation. Placement activity (meaning rectors and bishops contacting Shelagh for help finding a VTS alum) used to be seasonal, from February to May. Placement activity now starts in the fall and runs to (and through!) commencement in May. Our seminarians’ new calls are varied and wide-ranging.
For the past five years, placements in parishes have spread across parish sizes, with the majority in pastoral/program size but also in smaller parishes and larger resource parishes. An increasing number of graduates are moving into chaplaincies, primarily in schools but some in hospitals and the military.
Shelagh believes that the 3,300 VTS alumni whether from the Class of 2022 or 1952 “are the heart and soul of the Seminary, serving throughout the U.S. and in 50 countries around the world,” and says it is “a privilege to work with the remarkable group of individuals who are the VTS alumni.” From what I hear, our alumni consider it a privilege to work with Shelagh and appreciate all she does for them!
Linda L. Dienno
Vice President for Institutional Advancement