[The General Theological Seminary — Press Release] The General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church (GTS) announces The Rev. Davis Given Housing Scholarship Fund to assist matriculated GTS students with the cost of on-campus housing.
The Rev. Given graduated from General in 1949, and was one of the first priests to minister in what is now known as the Episcopal Church in Navajoland, an area of Native American lands in Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. Upon his death in 2007 Davis Given left the seminary a generous bequest, which will be used to honor his legacy as a community builder.
“We strive to provide affordable housing to our students while they are here in New York City,” says Donna Ashley, vice-president of institutional advancement. “GTS is committed to attracting seminarians of academic excellence and true gifts for ministry, regardless of their resources. Legacy gifts such as this ensure those leaders are chosen on their merits.”
General Seminary’s mission, to educate and form leaders for the church in a changing world, has been a central focus throughout its long history. In 1817 church leaders, with a burst of national vision, conceived of a theological institution where students from all parts of the country would come to prepare for ordination.
“GTS treasures the diversity of its community and believes the residential seminary experience is a critical part of formation,” says Ashley. “Grants for housing costs boost our ability to admit truly excellent candidates who, while not wealthy, may not qualify for significant financial aid.”
Father Given served as assistant priest at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Farmington, New Mexico from 1949 to 1954, and then served the parish as the superintendent and vicar from 1954 to 1962. It was during this period that he started driving his Model T the long distance to the Native American lands, committed to the ministry that established St. Joseph’s House Church in the Navajoland Area Mission. Given returned to New York in 1963, serving in several parishes, as well as chaplaincies at Morningside House and Bellevue Hospital. He was the son of William B. Given, Jr., a wealthy industrialist and a trustee at GTS in the mid-20th Century. Drawing on this inheritance, a missionary priest to Native Americans was able to leave a generous legacy of support to future seminarians.