The LSTC Board of Directors Announces Dr. Kristi Ferguson as the 2023 Distinguished Service Award Recipient

Headshot of Dr. Kristi Ferguson

The LSTC Board of Directors is proud to announce that the 2023 Distinguished Service Award recipient is Dr. Kristi Ferguson, MSW, PhD, a long-standing leader in the LSTC community. The Distinguished Service Award is conferred annually by the LSTC Board of Directors to an individual who exemplifies service supporting the mission and ministry of the seminary.  

Dr. Ferguson began her service to LSTC in the fall of 2015 when the Southeastern Iowa Synod selected her to serve the Church as a board member. Since 2015, she has at various times served on the Academic Affairs Committee (now called Academics and Community Committee), the Development Committee (now called the Governance Committee), and the Finance and Operations Committee. As a longtime leader on the Board, she was directly and actively engaged in establishing and testing the institutional metrics by which the seminary monitors its work.

She served as the LSTC Vice Chairperson on the Board of Directors from 2018-2020, Chairperson from 2020-2022, and currently serves as Chairperson of the Academics and Community Committee and is a member of the Review Committee. Much of her work has directly shaped the trajectory of LSTC students. “The best evidence we have [for how LSTC makes a difference in the lives of those we serve] is the students themselves. As graduates of our Public Church curriculum, our students are well-equipped to serve congregations and communities, advocate for others, and spread the Gospel worldwide,” Ferguson says.

A long-time supporter of financial sustainability, Dr. Ferguson also currently serves on LSTC’s Sustainability Working Group. She is also a keen strategic leader, has been an invaluable addition to ATS Self-Study Subcommittees, and has forged a path in managing two LSTC Strategic Plans (2017-2020, 2021-2023). “It has been my privilege to work with dedicated and skilled faculty, staff, students, and board members,” says Ferguson of her work in sustainability. “Together, we have helped define and measure LSTC’s path to sustainability so the school can continue its mission of preparing leaders for the church now and in the future. Coming to campus to meet students, faculty, and staff and to see firsthand how LSTC carries out its mission has been a great joy.”

More recently, Dr. Ferguson’s crucial interventions have centered on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice work, and she has developed key initiatives that support the Board of Directors in assuming an active role in making LSTC genuinely anti-racist. She used valuable tools she developed at the In Trust Center’s Wise Stewards Initiative and has applied them here at LSTC. Even more excitingly, she has recently integrated her climate-focused work into her DEIJ work; Dr. Ferguson analyzed the data collected by the ELCA seminaries Racial Climate Survey and better understood the data at LSTC. She continues to be actively engaged in the work of DEIJ by promoting IDI training and Antiracism training for the members of the Board.

“Our seminary has been a direct and ongoing beneficiary of [Dr. Ferguson’s] gifts of personal commitment, resources, diligence, care, and faithfulness,” LSTC President James Neiman said in a letter regarding the Award. “Indeed, [she has] been a gift to LSTC, a model for our students, and a witness in our church and the wider world.”

Dr. Ferguson will be honored on Monday, May 22, 2023, at a private reception where she will receive her well-deserved award. “To be honest, I have received as much from my experience at LSTC as I have contributed. To be recognized this way is truly an honor,” says Ferguson.

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