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Tributes to an Anglican Communion pioneer of “service-learning”

Posted on: August 9, 2019 12:59 PM
Dr Linda Chisholm receiving her Distinguished Fellowship award earlier this year
Photo Credit: CUAC

[ACNS, by Rachel Farmer] Tributes have been paid to Dr Linda Chisolm, founder and former General Secretary of the Anglican Communion network, Colleges & Universities of the Anglican Communion (CUAC), following her recent death.

Dr Chisholm, former President of the Association of Episcopal Colleges, was a pioneer of service-learning or experiential education and co-founded the International Partnership for Service-Learning, of which she later became president. Her passion for service learning brought together academic study and volunteer service abroad, within the context of higher education.

In March she became the third recipient, and first from the Episcopal Church, of CUAC's Distinguished Fellowship, awarded to “individuals who model exceptional and active service to Anglican higher education globally”. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, also expressed his gratitude in writing to Dr Chisholm for her contributions to the Anglican Communion.

Retired Bishop of Newcastle, Martin Wharton, a long-standing CUAC director, said: “Without her vision, energy, hard work and consummate skill it was doubtful that CUAC would have ever existed.”

Canon James Callaway, the current General Secretary of CUAC, paid tribute to Linda Chisholm. He said: “Over the 35 years that I knew her, Linda was the most outspoken, intense listener I have known.  As General Secretary, I am awed to follow in her footsteps, knowing that I could rely on her counsel and friendship.  She rose in the morning with a clear sense of purpose to learn and to contribute.  She always set the bar high for herself and others, and leaves for all who knew her a mighty legacy to follow.”

Originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Linda attended Vassar College, where she met her husband Alan as he was completing his training and then setting out in ordained ministry.

After marrying in 1962 they ministered in various parishes around the Diocese of New York while bringing up their family and then felt drawn to further education and new vocations.

Linda continued studying and received a PhD in history from Columbia University. In 1980, she began a career in higher education, as Executive Assistant to the President of Rockland Community College. In 1985 she became Executive Director at the Association of Episcopal Colleges (AEC). During her 16-year tenure, she founded and became the first General Secretary of CUAC, a worldwide network of mutual flourishing in higher education across the Communion.

One of her books on service learning was ‘Charting a Hero’s Journey,’ which taught students the art of writing a journal while studying and serving abroad.

She was awarded four honorary degrees, three fellowships, and the National Service Award of Jamaica.

In her retirement, Dr Chisholm combined a lifelong love of history and gardens, becoming a Master Gardener and teaching the history of landscape design at the New York Botanical Garden for nearly a decade. Last year she published her latest book, ‘The History of Landscape Design in 100 Gardens’.

Dr Chisholm, who was married to the Revd Alan Chisolm, died at home in Nyack on July 24, surrounded by her family, after living for a few years with lymphoma. The funeral will be held at Grace Church in Nyack, New York, on Monday, August 12.