The Rt. Rev. Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows ’97, bishop of Indianapolis, will speak at the 125th commencement of Church Divinity School of the Pacific on May 24 at 10:30 a.m. in the St. Margaret’s Courtyard at CDSP.
In 2016, Baskerville-Burrows became the first black woman to be elected a diocesan bishop in the Episcopal Church. She received an M.Div. degree from CDSP in 1997 and was CDSP’s director of alumni/ae and church relations from 2002-2004. She holds an M.A. in historic preservation planning from Cornell University and a bachelor’s degree in architecture with a minor in urban studies from Smith College. Before being elected bishop, she served in the Dioceses of Newark, Central New York and Chicago. In 2018, the seminary established the Bishop Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows Scholarship Fund to benefit black and Native American students.
At the ceremony, CDSP will award the Master of Divinity degree to 19 candidates and will also grant the Master of Theological Studies, Certificate of Anglican Studies, Certificate of Theological Studies, Certificate of Study and the Doctor of Philosophy degree in cooperation with the Graduate Theological Union.
During the ceremony, CDSP will also grant honorary degrees to Baskerville-Burrows; West/Southwest Industrial Areas Foundation Co-chair and Executive Director Ernesto Cortés, Jr.; and House of Deputies President Gay Clark Jennings.
Cortés is the co-director of the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) and executive director of the West/Southwest IAF regional network. In 1974, Cortés founded Communities Organized for Public Service (COPS), which now includes organizing projects across ten states. He also founded the Alliance Schools strategy, which trains parent and community leaders to change the culture of their schools and has coordinated regional and national leadership schools for grassroots leaders.
Jennings was elected president of the House of Deputies by her peers in 2012 and was unopposed for reelection in 2015 and 2018. She is the first ordained woman to hold the position. Ordained in 1979, Jennings is a ten-time deputy from the Diocese of Ohio. She previously served for 17 years as canon to the ordinary in Ohio and for nine years as associate director of CREDO Institute, Inc. She is a graduate of Colgate University and Episcopal Divinity School.