Princeton, NJ, November
10, 2011–Princeton Theological Seminary named two of its graduates
as 2011 Distinguished Alumni. DeForest “Buster” Soaries Jr., Class of 1989, and
Hughes Oliphant Old, Class of 1958, were honored during the Seminary’s annual
reunion on October 24.
Soaries is the senior pastor of the First
Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, New Jersey, and a pioneer in the
work of faith-based community development, including the establishment of a
housing assistance recovery program that purchases homes of families facing
foreclosure and leases them back to homeowners. Soaries was also recognized for
his work in developing the dfreeTM
strategy, which teaches and encourages debt-free living. DfreeTM was
featured on CNN’s Black in America
documentary series. Soaries also wrote a book about the strategy, which teaches
people to live within their means without debt, deficits, and delinquencies.
Soaries was New Jersey’s secretary of
state from 1999 to 2001, the first African American to serve as a
constitutional officer of the state.
Seminary president Iain Torrance told
Soaries that Princeton was grateful for his “faith in and obedience to Christ’s
command to love one’s neighbor as the foundation of his ministry.”
Old was recognized for his lifetime commitment
as a pastor, teacher, and scholar dedicated to the centrality of preaching,
prayer, and sacrament in Reformed worship, and how to worship shapes and
grounds the Christian life and the vitality of the church. His career
culminated in the publication of a seven-volume work, The Reading and Preaching of the Scriptures in the Worship of the
Christian Church. Torrance said that Old “single-handedly gathered
comprehensive information about the Reformed tradition with tremendous
Old was honored with a Lifetime
Achievement Award for Liturgics at the Calvin 500 Commemoration in Geneva,
Switzerland, in July 2009. He is currently dean of the Institute of Reformed
Worship at Erskine Theological Seminary.
From now through the end of 2012,
Princeton Seminary will be celebrating its Bicentennial. Plan to join us as we
begin the celebration of our 200th year! Bicentennial event
information can be found at www.ptsem.edu.
Princeton Theological Seminary (www.ptsem.edu) was founded in 1812, the
first seminary established by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church.
It is the largest Presbyterian Seminary in the country, with more than 500
students in six graduate degree programs.