The Woods Leadership Award is presented annually to a middler seminarian at the School of Theology who has successfully assumed a leadership role in the class during their junior year. This year’s award was given to M.Div. student Kellan Jo Day, T’19, from the Diocese of Western Michigan.
The award’s recipient is decided by the dean and faculty of The School of Theology. The announcement was made at the University of the South’s Founders’ Day Convocation on Oct. 6, 2017.
Day is a graduate of Calvin College, where she studied religion and gender studies. After college, she worked for the Diocese of Western Michigan as their young adult missioner while doing a ministry internship at Grace Episcopal Church in Grand Rapids.
“I am deeply grateful to The School of Theology, the dean, and the faculty for giving me this award. I am thankful for my classmates who model thoughtful leadership daily and who will be my colleagues and friends for years to come,” Day said in response to receiving the award. “I am indebted to the communities of the Diocese of Western Michigan and Grace Episcopal Church for their support, prayers, and for naming gifts in me that I couldn't initially see. Lastly, I want to express my gratitude to the Woods' family, for their generosity and commitment to seminarians.”
The Woods Award defines leadership as the ability to bring people together into a cooperative community to accomplish assigned tasks and to identify and implement strategies, goals, and programs. Established by Granville Cecil Woods and James Albert Woods, the award recognizes students of the School of Theology who make a significant contribution to the quality of the community’s life.
Day, a member of the School of Theology’s Diversity and Reconciliation Committee, has invested her efforts in the University of the South’s Slavery Project which examines “Sewanee’s history with slavery and the influence of race on the institution.” “She jumped in with both feet,” fellow middler Marion Sprott-Goldson says of Day. “One of the things she has exceled in is bridging the gap between the college and the seminary communities.”
Originally from Wayland, Michigan, Day connects to a deep spirituality through community life on the Domain. “I love gardening in our seminary’s community garden and hiking the many trails that Sewanee has to offer.” (The University of the South sits on 13,000 acres of natural forest on the Cumberland Plateau) She is passionate about theology that connects people to the places and communities in which they live, and theology that grapples with the intersection of gender, theology, and the Church.