The School of Theology awarded this year’s Freeman Award for Merit to Hannah Pommersheim, T’19, an M.Div. student from the Diocese of Texas. The award was announced and presented by the Rt. Rev. J. Neil Alexander, dean of the School, at the University of the South’s Founders’ Day Convocation on Oct. 6, 2017.
At the beginning of each academic year, the School’s faculty chooses the recipient of the Freeman Award from the members of the middler class. Upon hearing of the award, Pommersheim expressed gratitude for both the Freemans and her formation as a member of the seminary community. “I have learned so much in my first year at Sewanee, both in and out of the classroom, in conversations and debates with my classmates, and in being formed by our worship life.”
Reed Freeman, T’96, T’05, and his wife, Nancy, established the Freeman Award for Merit in 1998 to honor and reward a rising middler student from the School of Theology that has demonstrated outstanding academic performance and promise. Freeman was a recipient of the Woods Leadership Award while he was attending seminary at the School of Theology.
Pommersheim attended Davidson College in North Carolina where she was elected Phi Beta Kappa while majoring in political science and minoring in religion. It is also where she met her husband, Kyle Sanders, who serves the seminary as a visiting instructor in Greek. She is originally from Vermillion, South Dakota.
As a member of the Episcopal Service Corps after college, Pommersheim served as a pastoral assistant at a Boston church. After making the move to Austin, Texas, she worked with AmeriCorps at a day shelter for people experiencing homelessness and later at a men’s shelter. Her sending parish is the Episcopal Student Center at the University of Texas in Austin, where she has served for two years as a program coordinator prior to enrolling in the School of Theology.
Her classmates have made note of Pommersheim’s academic gifts. Fellow middler Marion Sprott-Goldson shares, “Hannah brings a keen intelligence to anything she approaches.” Pommersheim is passionate about the School of Theology’s Diversity and Reconciliation Committee, and the University’s Slavery Project in particular, of which she’s been a member since she arrived.
Through her participation in the School’s Student Exchange Program with Westcott House, Pommersheim is spending the Advent term as a seminarian abroad in Cambridge, England. In addition to taking the required academic courses, Hannah is immersed in the worship and community life of an Anglican seminary.