Roberto Escamilla and William K. McElvaney
to receive 2013 Perkins Distinguished Alumnus Awards

Roberto Escamilla and William K. McElvaney have been named recipients of the 2013 Distinguished Alumnus Award by the Alumni/ae Council of Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University.

DALLAS(SMU) – Roberto Escamilla and William K. McElvaney have been named recipients of the 2013 Distinguished Alumnus Award by the Alumni/ae Council of SMU's Perkins School of Theology.

The annual award recognizes Perkins graduates who have demonstrated effectiveness and integrity in service to the church, continuing support and involvement in the goals of Perkins School of Theology and SMU, distinguished service in the wider community, and exemplary character.

The Distinguished Alumnus Awards will be presented at 6 p.m. Monday, February 4, 2013, during a banquet as part of Perkins School of Theology’s Ministers Week.

According to Rev. Suzanne Reedstrom, lead associate minister at Memorial Drive United Methodist Church in Houston and chairperson of the Perkins Alumni/ae Council, it is customary to select only one recipient of the Distinguished Alumni/ae Award each year. “However,” Reedstrom explains, “after reviewing the outstanding nominations, it became clear that two exemplary alumni were deserving of this award for 2013.”

Roberto EscamillaThe Reverend Dr. Roberto Escamilla earned the S.T.M. from Perkins School of Theology in 1955, and currently is an instructor in the Perkins School of Theology Course of Study School (COSS), where he teaches classes on Evangelism, Worship and the Sacraments and Preaching. He also serves Perkins as worship coordinator for COSS every summer. Originally a clergy member of the Rio Grande Conference, and subsequently the Southwest Texas Conference, he presently is Minister of Evangelism at First UMC in Ada, Oklahoma. Perkins Dean William B. Lawrence expresses appreciation for the extraordinary scope of Escamilla’s ministries. “Roberto Escamilla has devoted a lifetime to the mission of the church. He has embraced tasks on a scale as large as global Christianity and as small as conversations with individuals across personal boundaries to offer an evangelical witness for faith in Jesus Christ. Whether he was working as a denominational leader or serving as a translator who helped English speaking preachers bring the gospel to Spanish-speaking congregations, Roberto has offered a faithful witness to God’s people.”

William K. McElvaneyThe Reverend Dr. William K. McElvaney is Le Van Professor Emeritus of Preaching and Worship at Perkins. He earned the M.Div. (M.Th.) from Perkins in 1957, after earning an M.B.A. (1951) and B.B.A. (1950) from SMU. Upon graduation from Perkins, McElvaney served for 15 years as pastor of several United Methodist congregations. He then served for 12 years as president of the United Methodist-related Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Missouri, where the William K. McElvaney Chair in Preaching was established in his honor in 1988. He received the SMU Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1980, and the William K. McElvaney Fund for the Advancement of Peace and Justice was established at SMU in 1993. “Bill McElvaney has been an outstanding leader in theological education for decades,” Dean Lawrence observes. “In his career, he has served as a professor, as a seminary president, and as a pastor. He is a model of integrity, with a passion for justice, who is always ready to labor for peace. But, in every step along the way, he acts with decency and respect for all of God’s children.”

Tickets for the Distinguished Alumnus Awards Banquet are available for $49 each by registering at The banquet will be held at 6:00 p.m. Monday, February 4, 2013, in the Great Hall of Highland Park United Methodist Church, 3300 Mockingbird Lane, Dallas. For more information about reservations for the banquet or about Perkins School of Theology Ministers Week, contact Pam Goolsby, associate director of Continuing Education, 214-768-2251, For more information about the Perkins School of Theology Distinguished Alumnus Awards or this year’s recipients, contact the Office of Public Affairs, 214-768-1393,

Perkins School of Theology, founded in 1911 at Southern Methodist University, is one of five official University-related schools of theology of 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., which is offered as a cooperative venture by Perkins School of Theology and the Department of Religious Studies in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences at SMU.

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