Dallas (SMU) — Perkins School of Theology has established a partnership with the nonprofit Project Transformation National to provide a preferred pathway for Project Transformation interns and alumni considering a graduate theological education at Perkins. Craig C. Hill, Dean of Perkins, and Eric Lindh, CEO of Project Transformation National, signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Wednesday, September 18 at Perkins.
Project Transformation National’s flagship program is a summer intensive for college students, who live in Christian community, lead summer day camp programs for children and youth held at urban United Methodist churches, and explore vocations in ministry and service. About 400 students are accepted as PT interns each summer; to date more than 2,000 alumni have completed the program. Most interns are undergraduate students who are interested in putting their faith into action and discerning God’s call on their life.
“The young people who emerge from Project Transformation’s intensive summer experience possess a heightened awareness of their unique gifts for ministry and a clearer understanding of what ministry requires,” said Hill. “They are exactly the kind of potential applicants Perkins looks to attract.”
The new agreement provides preferred consideration and early decision for admission to alumni of the Project Transformation program who have completed all the prerequisites for admission to SMU, giving qualified students early consideration for scholarships and other financial aid at Perkins. In addition, Perkins will provide “Friday Experiences” — enrichment opportunities for Project Transformation chapters in the North Texas area to discuss seminary, ministry and ordination paths.
“This agreement capitalizes on the goals that Perkins and Project Transformation share, which is recruiting and equipping more young people for ministry and Christian leadership,” said Lindh. Project Transformation began in Dallas more than 20 years ago; in 2015 the program expanded nationally, with Project Transformation National headquartered in Dallas. Currently there are eight chapters, affiliated with nine United Methodist Annual Conferences around the U.S., including North Texas and Central Texas.
“Early decision and scholarship consideration at Perkins are really attractive features for the young adults in our program,” said Lindh. “Our hope is that this is something that attracts even more young people to Project Transformation and helps more alumni consider Perkins once they come through the summer experience.”
The Perkins/Project Transformation MOU is in addition to the MOUs that Perkins established with nine church-related colleges and universities in the region during the past two years. Three other such agreements are in the works. Memoranda of Understanding to date have been made with Austin College, in Sherman, Texas; Centenary College, Shreveport, La.; Hendrix College, Conway, Ark.; Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas; McMurry University, Abilene, Texas; Philander Smith College, Little Rock, Ark.; Southwestern University, Georgetown, Texas; Wylie College, Marshall, Texas; and Texas Wesleyan University, Fort Worth. Read more about those here.
Perkins School of Theology, founded in 1911, is one of five official University-related schools of theology of The United Methodist Church. Degree programs include the Master of Divinity, Master of Sacred Music, Master of Theological Studies, Master of Arts in Ministry, Master of Theology, Doctor of Ministry, and Doctor of Pastoral Music as well as the Ph.D., in cooperation with The Graduate Program in Religious Studies at SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.
Founded in 1998, Project Transformation is a national, United Methodist-affiliated nonprofit organization that operates through a network of eight affiliated Project Transformation chapters across the country. Approximately 400 college-age young adults are recruited annually to invest in the lives of over 3,200 children and youth from marginalized communities, while exploring a call to ministry and service. To learn more, visit www.projecttransformation.org.