March 2, 2011
DALLAS (SMU) — Retired U.S. Deputy Postmaster General Jackie A. Strange is the recipient of the 2011 Woodrow B. Seals Laity Award presented by Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University.
Strange will receive the award at a 1 p.m. luncheon on Saturday, March 5, during the three-day Perkins Theological School for the Laity.
The Seals Award is presented annually to a layperson in the United States who embodies the Christian faith and commitment of service to Christ in the church, community, and world as exemplified by Judge Woodrow B. Seals, a distinguished layperson whose interest and energy were instrumental in establishing the Perkins Theological School for the Laity. Selection for the award is made by a committee of the Perkins Lay Advisory Board.
Strange joined the Post Office Department as a temporary clerk in 1946 while still a student at Georgia Southern University, according to the U.S. Postal Museum. She worked her way up through the system, often as the first women in her managerial positions. Rising from work as a temporary clerk, she was promoted to postmaster, then acting manager of mail operations, followed by a number of regional and district management positions, as assistant postmaster general in procurement and supply, regional postmaster general for the southern region, and finally, as deputy postmaster general in 1985.
Strange served as deputy postmaster general of the United States Postal Service from 1985-1987, a position that included responsibility for administering an organization with 800,000 employees and a $32 billion budget.
In recognition of her efforts to advance women, the Australian Postmaster General invited Strange to help improve the status of women in the Australian postal service. Her historic career is prominently featured in the postal museum’s website article on “Women in the U.S. Postal Service.” Her memoir, “Ms. Deputy Postmaster General: How Trusted Leadership, Courage, & Innovations Impacted the Postal Service,” was published in 2010.
In addition to the Seals Award from Perkins, Strange has received numerous honors, including her selection as the first graduate of Georgia Southern University, her alma mater, to receive its honorary doctorate degree. She also received the Benjamin Franklin Award – the U.S. Postal Service’s highest recognition, and the Postmaster General’s Award for Excellence. Additionally, she was accorded the unprecedented honor of having all postal employees and labor leaders celebrate “Jackie A. Strange Day” on her retirement date.
Strange currently resides in North Carolina, where she moved to be near her sons, Dan and Nick, and daughter-in-law, Ellyn, following her retirement.
Rev. William A. Holmes, Strange’s pastor at Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church during Strange’s time in Washington D.C., expresses his appreciation for her as a parishioner who was “a generous supporter of all aspects of the church’s program and mission.”
Karen B. Murray, Executive Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture, lauds Strange, a lifelong United Methodist, as “a humble and faithful servant whose guiding light has been the love of God working in and through her.” Murray adds, “Her motivation was not to bring attention to herself, but to reach out to others and be a servant using her God-given talents.”
Perkins Theological School for the Laity, scheduled this year for March 3-5, is supported by the Howard-Holbert Endowment Fund. The fund was established in 1986 in honor of Virgil P. Howard (1936-2005) and John C. Holbert, who serves as the Lois Craddock Perkins Professor of Homiletics at Perkins School of Theology.
For more information about the Perkins Theological School for the Laity, contact Rev. Gary MacDonald, Director of Advanced Ministerial Studies at Perkins, AdvanceMinistry@smu.edu, 1.888.THEOLOGY (ext. 4). For more information about the Seals Award, contact Roberta Cox, Director of Public Affairs at Perkins, firstname.lastname@example.org, 214.768.2335. For a map of the SMU campus, visit smu.edu/maps.
Perkins School of Theology
founded in 1911 at
Southern Methodist University
, is one of five official University-related schools of theology
The United Methodist Church
. Degree programs include the Master of Divinity, Master of Sacred Music, Master of Theological Studies, Master of Church Ministries, and Doctor of Ministry, as well as the Ph.D., in cooperation with
The Graduate Program in Religious Studies
of Humanities and Sciences.