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Rev. Dr. K. James Stein Honored for Unyielding Commitment to the Academy and the Church

August 18, 2014

Rev. Dr. K. James Stein, professor emeritus of church history and senior scholar in church history at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, was honored with the Eliza Garrett Distinguished Service Award for his five decades of service to the academy and the church. President Lallene Rector presented Stein with the award on July 31st at a special reception commemorating his final course at the Seminary.

Stein has a long and profound history with Garrett-Evangelical. He attended seminary at Evangelical Theological Seminary and began his teaching career there in 1960 as professor of church history. Stein would go on to serve as dean and president. When the Methodist Church and Evangelical United Brethren Church merged in 1968, Stein was a key leader in planning and implementing the merger of Garrett Theological Seminary (Evanston, Illinois) and Evangelical Theological Seminary (Naperville, Illinois). When the two seminaries merged in 1974, Stein was the first dean of the newly formed institution, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, where he continued as professor of church history.

Though Stein officially retired June 30, 2006, he has continued to teach courses at Garrett-Evangelical, in particular for the Seminary’s Course of Study program. In 2006, Stein was presented with the Distinguished Alum Award at the Seminary’s 149th commencement. With more than 50 years of service as a teacher and administrator, Stein continues to be revered, admired, and endeared by colleagues and students.

President Rector exclaimed, “Dr. Stein has been a true treasure for both Evangelical Theological Seminary and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. His administrative leadership during the merger of the schools, his academic leadership of the new Garrett-Evangelical, and his reformation expertise in teaching and scholarship all combined to make an exceptional contribution to the formation of spiritual leaders. We remain profoundly grateful for God's call upon his life and for the faithful dedication he has embodied in following it. He has blessed several generations!"

Born in Grand Forks, North Dakota, Stein earned his bachelor's degree at Westmar College in Iowa before attending seminary at Evangelical Theological Seminary. He earned a master of sacred theology degree and a Ph.D. from Union Theological Seminary in New York. As a major scholar of pietism and Evangelical United Brethren history, Stein was given the 2008 Distinguished Service Award by the General Commission on Archives and History of The United Methodist Church. He is the author of four books and numerous articles.

The Eliza Garrett Distinguished Service Award is presented in the name and spirit of Eliza Clark Garrett, who was the inspiration and chief benefactor/founder of Garrett Biblical Institute. Founded in 1853, the school has grown and evolved into Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. The award is given to honor persons who, by their imaginative acts of communal restoration and healing, reflect God's mission and purposes for our world.