Rev. Dr. Kah-Jin Jeffrey Kuan, CST President and Professor of Hebrew Bible
I was delighted to be invited as a guest blogger! CST deeply values its connection to Disciples Seminary Foundationand the sacred work we do together. Since 1885, CST has existed to prepare students to become agents of transformation and healing in churches, local communities, schools, non-profit institutions, and the world at large, and this work continues, in part, through our relationship with DSF.
In a world rife with division, CST/DSF alumni/ae are agents of healing. Every day, I see them modeling peace with justice – as pastors, community organizers, professors, and non-profit workers – and engaging local and global communities ona variety of issues, from environmental justice and immigration reform to confronting Islamophobia and peace-building. Their commitment to making the world more beautiful and just inspires and energizes me to do all I can to ensure CST thrives into its next 100 years.
Although the last few years have had their challenges, 2018-19 also held a significant achievement for CST. Our 2018-19 Fall enrollment of 431 students was the highest in CST history, our M.Div. student enrollment was also our highest in history, and this month we aregraduating our largest and most diverse class in history! You should know that among our DSF students are merit scholars (our top students), including a Trustee scholar. I am so proud of all of our students! And I am eager to see our 106 graduates leave here and put their theologies of love and compassion to work across the globe. These graduates represent thirteen different countries – Myanmar, South Korea, Canada, Indonesia, Sierra Leone, Vietnam, Kenya, China, Pakistan, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Mexico, Taiwan, and the USA. Of these 106 students, 17% of them are Disciples of Christ.
If you know me, you know I love numbers, so here are our 2018-19 Fall enrollment numbers:
Our youngest student is 21, and our oldest is 83
Our student body is 29% Methodist, 14% Disciples, 32% other Christian, 15% non-Christian traditions, 2% non-religious, 8% unaffiliated/undeclared
Nearly 60% of our students identify as people of color (14% black/African American, 17% Asian, 11% international/non-resident, 5% Hispanic, 5% Pacific Islander/native Hawaiian, 3% two or more races, along with 6% undeclared, 37% white)
Our six-decade-long relationship with DSF contributes to these numbers. Still, we do not seek to be diverse for “good diversity numbers.” We seek to be diverse because the world is diverse. Because every voice should be centered. Because we are better together. And because we pray “on earth as it is in heaven.”
Indeed, the years our students spend here (either remotely or on campus) is always mutually beneficial. Our top-notch professors engage open and learned minds and hearts, and our students push boundaries, challenge assumptions, and ask better questions. We know we are who we are because of our students, and I am grateful for the mark they leave on CST. Together, #WeAreCST!
To our friends at DSF, here is to our next 60 years together!