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New Scholarships at Ashland Theological Seminary

In our quest to make theological education more affordable, Ashland Theological Seminary is pleased to announce the creation of five new scholarships. Established to honor the extensive service of five exceptional pastors, each of these scholarships will provide financial support to men and women pursuing their calls to ministry. Three of these scholarships will support those pursuing pastoral ministry, and one is specifically intended to support those from the Detroit area pursuing theological education. We’re honored to affirm the expansive ministries of these individuals and their families, and blessed to support those men and women responding to God’s call to His service, both now and in the future.

Owen A. and Doris L. Doggett Smith Endowed Scholarship

In the early 1920's, Node and Zelma Doggett made the long trek from Kansas to Ohio so that Node could study at Ashland Theological Seminary. Their daughter, Doris, was just two years old at the time. Times were very difficult then, and after a few years Node had to leave the seminary to work in the shop. Eventually Node purchased a farm in Clear Creek Township, moving his young family northwest of Ashland. 

Little Doris grew up and eventually returned to nearby Ashland College to earn her teaching degree – teaching for more than 30 years, first in the Akron area and later in the Mansfield City schools. When Doris eventually met and married Owen Smith, their union resulted in a daughter, Patti, and son, Fred. Patti, too, attended Ashland College, gaining a BS in Education and later adding a Masters degree. She recently retired after spending her last 15 years as a high school special education teacher. Meanwhile, John Steiner's family was actively involved in the Smithville (Ohio) Brethren Church. John met Patti at a youth retreat in 1969, and  after a long courtship, they were married in 1976. Together with John's family, they have been the owners of Steinhurst Farms near Creston, Ohio. They continue to be involved in the Smithville church and for the past ten years John has been a part of the Seminary trustee board. 

The relationship with AU and ATS has continued, as John and Patti's son, Jeffrey, also attended Ashland University and briefly, Ashland Theological Seminary, too. Ashland College (now Ashland University) and Ashland Theological Seminary have played an important part of the lives of the Smith and Steiner families. Four generations have been impacted by these two fine institutions, and Ashland Theological Seminary and Ashland University have had a dramatic effect on those involved.

For sixty years the Smith family lived Northwest of Ashland on the family farm and this fall, when the farm was sold, Doris was determined to contribute to the lasting legacy of education. And so it is with great joy that we announce the Owen A. and Doris L. Doggett Smith Endowed Scholarship, which will play a role in supporting students for years to come. As John humbly stated, "God has been good to us and we are just passing it on to others in need." On behalf of ATS and the future students who will benefit from your generosity and commitment to education, Doris, thank you and bless you!

The Reverend Dr. Edward L. and Lanell Branch Endowed Scholarship

Dr. Branch is pastor of Third New Hope Baptist Church (Detroit, MI), a congregation that has grown under his leadership from 20 members in 1977 to over 3,000 in 2013.Detroit is very special to the Branch’s, and this scholarship has been established in their honor to support men and women living in the greater Detroit, MI area attending Ashland Theological Seminary. Pastor Branch has served Ashland Theological Seminary as Chair of the Detroit Advisory Board, advisory member to the Seminary Committee of the Ashland University Board of Trustees, and Adjunct Professor in Practical Theology. His influence for God’s Kingdom has been national and international, as well. Some places of travel include: Israel, Jordon, Zimbabwe, South Africa, China and many more. He is an active participant on numerous Community Boards of Directors, including Detroit Youth Foundation, Education Freedom Fund, The Michigan Arts League, United Way for Southeast Michigan and National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. Pastor Branch and his wife Lanell have one adult daughter, Nikkiya.

The Dr. Fred and Pam Miller Endowed Scholarship

Dr. Miller heard God’s call to ministry at 18 years of age. Even though he had other dreams, Fred entered Penn State University to begin preparation of answering God’s call, receiving a BA in Religious Studies. He continued his education, earning Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Ashland Theological Seminary. Following graduation he accepted the pastorate at Brush Valley Brethren Church, where he served for two years. For the past 23 years Dr. Miller has been the senior pastor of the Mt. Olive Brethren Church. Through his leadership the congregation has experienced substantial growth, having baptized over 700 people. He has served in leadership roles on the district and national level of the Brethren Church. Ashland Theological Seminary has been blessed to have Dr. Miller serve as a Pastor of Excellence mentor for the past 8 years. Dr. Miller and his wife Pam have two sons, David and Andy. The Miller scholarship will support students pursuing pastoral ministry.

The Dr. Brian and Amanda Moore Endowed Scholarship

Established in support of students pursuing pastoral ministry, the Moore scholarship honors Dr. Brian and Amanda Moore. Dr. Moore is a graduate of Ashland Theological Seminary, having received both Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees. For 46 years, he has faithfully served as pastor in  Brethren congregations in Pittsburgh, PA; Derby, KS; South Bend, IN; and St. James, MD. His leadership has extended well beyond his local congregations, serving as Moderator for the Brethren Church National Conference, filling leadership roles in the various districts in which he pastored, and teaching as an adjunct professor for Ashland Theological Seminary. Dr. Moore and Amanda have three sons: Eric (Cindy) Lancaster, PA; Alan (Jackie) of Chambersburg, PA; Brad (Sara) of Williamsport, MD, and six grandchildren.

Dr. Arden and Roberta Gilmer Endowed Scholarship

The Gilmer scholarship has been established in support of students pursuing pastoral ministry. Dr. Gilmer received a BA degree from Ashland College, and Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Ashland Theological Seminary. His pastoral ministry spanned 45 years, including 2 years as youth pastor, 2 years as student pastor, 7 years at Pleasant View Brethren Church (PA) and 30 years at Park Street Brethren Church (Ashland OH). Dr. Gilmer also served as Director of Home Missions and Evangelism for the Brethren Church National Office (7 years). His leadership for the Brethren Church included serving on the National Missionary Board, Denomination Executive Committee, Moderator of the General Conference, writing for the Brethren Bible Class Sunday School Quarterly, and publishing a book on Romans (chp 1-8) entitled The Gospel According to Paul. Dr. Gilmer currently serves on the Ashland University Trustee Board, dedicating time to the Ashland Theological Seminary Committee. He also serves as a coach for Brethren pastors. Mrs. Gilmer received Bachelor and Master degrees in education from Ashland University. The Gilmers have three sons, eleven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.