Professor of religion and former chaplain at Emory & Henry College, Rev. David St. Clair, received the Francis Asbury Award at the Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church’s Holston Conference on June 8 in Lake Junaluska, N.C.
This award honors a person who has made a significant contribution to the fields of higher education and campus ministry at the local, district or annual conference level of the United Methodist Church.
The honor was a complete surprise for St. Clair, who says that it moves him when he considers that Dr. Fred Kellogg, his professor, mentor and friend, is a past recipient of the award. He recalls that on the way to the platform to receive the award, E&H students Emily Ballard and Chase Crickenberger were at the foot of the platform stairs and greeted him.
I think of the honor to have the opportunity to be in the classroom and on the campus with some of the best people anywhere - students at Emory & Henry - and that is the highest honor I will ever enjoy! David St. Clair
St. Clair has a long history with the conference. His father was a conference minister and was active for more than 40 years. During that time his father served as a trustee for Emory & Henry in the 1960s and 1970s. This connection helped lead St. Clair to Emory & Henry where he majored in philosophy and religion and graduated in 1973.
After a short stint as an employee of the College, he was accepted into the Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington. Following graduation from Wesley (Masters of Divinity, 1980), he served churches in East Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia, frequently carrying the responsibility for youth and young adult ministries in the local church, as well as on district and conference levels.
In 1991, he was invited by then E&H President Charlie Sydnor to become chaplain and director of religious life for the college and the first coordinator of the Bonner Scholars program. He served as Bonner coordinator until 1997, and as chaplain and director of religious life until 2000. During that time he earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from Wesley. He returned to serve local churches in Bristol and Chilhowie/Seven Mile Ford until his retirement in 2012. He also taught at Virginia Intermont College, as well as at Emory & Henry.
“I think of the impact the students, employees and community people here at Emory have had on me, and if I could give back just a little of what I have received from them, I would be grateful and feel I had accomplished something,” said St. Clair.
He says he’s learned so much about truth and loyalty, goodness, faith, struggle against the odds, and so many other things from the good people who are a part of this community.
Outside of my family and the church, Emory has been the best part of my life.