McMurry Religion Major Lands Full Scholarship to Boston University


McKinney to Abilene to Blackwell to Boston is quite journey, but it’s one that has paid off beautifully for Kenna Bartholomew.

The McMurry University senior brought her talents from McKinney to Abilene to study religion at McMurry. She currently also serves as pastor of Blackwell United Methodist Church, which is located south of Sweetwater, about 50 miles from Abilene. Next fall, she will leave Texas behind and head to Boston University to begin work on a master of divinity degree, with hopes of becoming a children’s hospital chaplain. 

Kenna Bartholomew at her home church, Creekwood UMC in Allen.

Thanks to her diligence at McMurry, Kenna will be attending Boston University’s School of Theology at no cost to her. Her tuition will be paid in full, and she will receive a $10,000 stipend each year for three years. It’s something for Kenna and McMurry to be proud of, said Bryan Stewart, chair of the Department of Religion & Philosophy at McMurry.

“This is the highest award Boston University School of Theology offers,” Stewart said, “and one of the highest awards any or our religion graduates have ever received.”

In May, Kenna will earn a bachelor’s degree in religion, with minors in interfaith studies and Greek, in May before heading off for Boston. Her goal is to be ordained in the United Methodist Church, with a chaplaincy endorsement. One of the reasons she applied to Boston University is because of a chaplaincy focus in the master of divinity degree program. And, Boston will provide an entirely new experience that she couldn’t get in her home state.

“I have lived my whole life in Texas,” she said, “and I wanted to find a place that would expand my worldview.” 

In the pulpit at Blackwewll United Methodist Church (Submitted photo)

Kenna has been busy while at McMurry. Besides being an excellent student, she is a member of Theta Chi Lambda social club, the university’s Better Together Alliance, and Theta Alpha Kappa, the national honor society for religious studies and theology. She also participates in A Moxie Movement, which is a community empowerment organization, McMurry Religious and Spiritual Life, and McMurry Residence Life. Before becoming pastor of Blackwell UMC, she was part of the children’s ministry staff at Aldersgate UMC in Abilene. 

Kenna expects to thrive at Boston University, thanks to her professors at McMurry and the Department of Religion & Philosophy. John Miller, Mark Waters, and Jori Sechrist all served as advisors for her thesis. Because of them and other professors at the university, Kenna feels well prepared for the next phase of her life.

“They have all be amazing mentors throughout my time at McMurry,” Kenna said. 

Loretta Fulton is creator and editor of Spirit of Abilene

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