Georgia Harkness Giving Day
Every gift made to the Annual Fund on April 30th will be matched dollar-for-dollar, up to $50,000!
The world needs well-educated faith leaders to proclaim the good news of the Gospel and to lead transformative change in our communities and our churches. You can help by making a gift on April 30th!
Help us reach our Georgia Harkness Giving Day goal of 166 donors—one for each year of our seminary’s historic commitment to form bold Christian leaders for the church, the world, and the academy.
Georgia Harkness Giving Day FAQs
What is Georgia Harkness Giving Day?
Georgia Harkness Giving Day is a 24-hour giving event to support current and future generations of trailblazing students at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary through gifts to the Annual Fund. This year’s Giving Day is taking place from 12:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, April 30, 2019.
Last year, alums and friends of the seminary contributed over $27,000 to the Annual Fund on Georgia Harkness Giving Day. We look forward to building on that success!
How can I make my gift on Giving Day?
There are three ways to make your gift:
Give online on our special Georgia Harkness Giving Day GiveCampus website between 12:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on April 30th.
Give over the phone by calling 847.866.3889 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CDT on April 30th.
Give by check, made payable to Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, and send to:
Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
2121 Sheridan Road,
Evanston, IL 60201
Please include “Giving Day” in the memo line so it can be counted towards our Giving Day total and be matched.
Who is Georgia Harkness?
Georgia Harkness was the first woman to teach theology in an American seminary, first at Garrett Biblical Institute (a predecessor institution of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary) and later at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California.
Harkness grew up attending many religious revivals at churches near her family’s farm in Harkness, New York. Although many of her ancestors were Quaker, her great-grandmother’s red coat and other modern clothing horrified the Society of Friends and caused the family to join the Methodist Church. Harkness was an avid student and passed all her high school exams by age 14. After spending a few more years at home, Harkness went to college at one of the only coeducational schools in American at that time, Cornell University. Here Harkness joined the Student Christian Association and the Student Volunteer Movement which emphasized service as foreign missionaries.
After graduating from Cornell in 1912, Harkness taught high school but stayed involved with Christian education at her church and the local junior league. She found herself drawn to religious education and decided to leave behind her pledge to be a Christian missionary that she made in college. Instead, Harkness enrolled in the School of Religious Education and Social Service at Boston University to study theology. When Harkness began to pursue a PhD, her mentor, Edgar Brightman, was hesitant to take Harkness on as a student. Harkness remembers that Brightman believed she “had the preparation, probably the brains, but that I lacked the stick-to-it-iveness.” Harkness replied, “if that was all, I would see to that.” And she did. (Days of my Years, Harkness, 18)
Harkness went on to work at Elmira College and also travel around the world attending church conferences. Harkness developed a pacifist worldview and even attended the Geneva Conference prior to World War Two to voice her opposition to the impending conflict.
Harkness also pursued ordination within the Methodist Church. She was ordained as a local deacon in 1926, and 12 years later she became a local elder; however, for Harkness and all other Methodist women called to ministry, it was not until 1956 when women obtaining full clergy rights within the denomination that she would have been allowed to serve a church. However, working in academia, this did not seem to stop Harkness from her pursuits.
In 1940, Harkness was invited to Garrett Biblical Institute to serve as the professor of applied theology, becoming the first woman hired to teach theology at any seminary in the United States. While serving at Garrett Biblical Institute, Harkness began experiencing a number of medical problems that led her to write The Dark Night of the Soul. She served at Garrett for nine years before accepting a position at The Pacific School of Religion in Berkley, California.
Harkness spent the last years of her life writing books, collections of poetry, and hymns. She died in 1974 in Claremont, California. Now, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary remembers Harkness through the Georgia Harkness Chair of Theology, currently held by Dr. Nancy Bedford, and through a tradition of students wearing red shoes to graduation, a movement inspired by Harkness’ great-grandmother whose bold red coat forever changed the course of Georgia Harkness’ life.
Why focus on Georgia Harkness?
Dr. Georgia Harkness reminds us of what Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and its predecessor institutions are all about—preparing faith leaders to proclaim the good news of the Gospel and to lead transformative change in the church, the world and the academy.
Garrett-Evangelical remembers Dr. Harkness through the Georgia Harkness Chair of Theology, currently held by Dr. Nancy Bedford, and through a tradition of students wearing red shoes to commencement, a movement inspired by Harkness’ great-grandmother whose bold red coat forever changed the course of Georgia Harkness’ life.
Where is my money going?
All gifts made on Georgia Harkness Giving Day will provide unrestricted support to the Annual Fund at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. The Annual Fund meets the areas of greatest need across the seminary. This includes scholarships, library resources, staff and faculty salaries, and maintaining seminary classrooms and apartments. Unrestricted annual gifts are flexible, immediate, and essential to the day-to-day functioning of Garrett-Evangelical.
The Annual Fund at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary is about so much more than just keeping the lights on though. So far in the 2018-2019 academic year, gifts to the Annual Fund have provided for all this and more:
- More than 2.7 million dollars awarded in financial aid
- Campus visits by 184 students
- Added 1,200 volumes to the Styberg Library's collection
- Created 2 digital collections of letters from John and Charles Wesley and Thomas Coke
- More than 750 participants in our Connectional Learning offerings
- Continuing education for 267 people who are new to Garrett-Evangelical
- 2 faculty members installed as full professors
- 7 students in the newly created master of arts in public ministry program
- More than 75 hours of worship in the Chapel of the Unnamed Faithful
- 16 stipends (over $47,000) for students in field education at sites unable to pay but who provide excellent learning environments
- Placement of 58 field education students at 50 different sites, including churches, campus ministries, non profits, and hospitals.
Making a gift to the Annual Fund on Georgia Harkness Giving Day is as easy as turning on a light and will help us continue to be flexible, innovative, financially strong, and the light of Christ in the world.
How does the match work?
Every gift made on Georgia Harkness Giving Day will be matched dollar-for-dollar, up to $50,000. For example, if you give $25 on Giving Day, our matching donors will also give $25 to the seminary, until the Giving Day total reaches $50,000. Additional matches will be announced by alums and friends on April 30th. Visit the Georgia Harkness Giving Day GiveCampus webpage early and often to participate in the most current matches and set up a match of your own.
Can I give to my scholarship on Giving Day?
All gifts made on April 30th to Georgia Harkness Giving Day GiveCampus webpage will provide unrestricted support to the Annual Fund at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. If you are so inspired by our day of giving that you would like to make a restricted gift to your scholarship or other area of interest, you may do so at Garrett.edu/giving, by calling 847.866.3889 or by putting a gift in the mail. Please keep in mind that restricted gifts are not eligible for matching.
What is GiveCampus?
GiveCampus is the digital fundraising platform supporting Georgia Harkness Giving Day. More than 600 educational institutions use GiveCampus for efforts such as giving days, class gifts and peer-to-peer fundraising. This is Garrett-Evangelical’s first time using GiveCampus, and we are very excited about its interactive features and secure payment processing.
What are the fees?
Garrett-Evangelical has a subscription with GiveCampus that covers all fees, including payment processing, so you don’t have to worry about paying fees when you go to make your donation on April 30th.
Whom can I contact with questions about Giving Day?
You can contact Mary Bowmann Arents, director of annual giving and alum relations, at 847-866-3889 or email@example.com with all of your Giving Day questions.