On February 29, 2024, the Pauli Murray Scholarship Committee will host the Pauli Murray Scholarship Reception at Christ Church Cathedral in Houston, TX. This important fundraising event will not only raise critical funds to support Pauli Murray scholars at Seminary of the Southwest, but it will also honor the Very Rev. Cynthia Briggs Kittredge, dean and president, for the work she has done to increase diversity in theological education in The Episcopal Church. Under her leadership, Southwest’s commitment to Beloved Community has resulted in an increasingly diverse student body and faculty. Dean Kittredge announced in October she will be leaving her post this June.
“The establishment and growth of the Pauli Murray Scholarship at Seminary of the Southwest has been a creative and effective collaboration from its very beginning,” said Kittredge. “Seeing it bear fruit is a blessing for me. I am touched to be honored at the celebration this year and very grateful to the committee for its work.”
Created in Fall 2018, the Texas Pauli Murray Scholarship began when St. James’ Episcopal Church in Austin and Seminary of the Southwest began a collaboration to expand opportunities for African American students and other students of color to attend Southwest in preparation for priesthood in the Episcopal Diocese of Texas. Now including many parishes throughout the diocese of Texas, the scholarship provides financial support for living expenses for these seminary students, in addition to a full tuition grant and other assistance provided directly by the Seminary.
The scholarship’s namesake, The Rev. Pauli Murray (1910-1985), was a woman of truly remarkable energy, vision, and accomplishment. She was a pioneer and groundbreaker in many different fields of endeavor, and her life included many “firsts” – including the first African American woman ordained to the Episcopal clergy, a co-founder of the National Organization for Women, and the original author of legal arguments later used to desegregate public schools in the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision. The Episcopal Church celebrates her feast day on July 1.