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MC fills chaplain position

September 24, 2010

It has been over a decade since Monmouth College has had to fill the position of the chaplain on campus. With the recent retirement of Reverend Kathleen Fannin, the college found itself with large shoes to fill. Last spring the college began the search for a chaplain to replace Fannin.

After numerous interviews conducted by student chaplains that Student Affairs had appointed, the very last interview made an impression that could not be overlooked. Reverend Doctor Teri McDowell Ott would later be offered the position of chaplain. Senior, and Student chaplain Jim Fry gave McDowell Ott a tour in the spring and knew she would be a great addition to Monmouth College.

“She was very energetic and upbeat about the campus,” said Fry, “She was also very curious about MC and what was important to students.”

McDowell Ott graduated with a degree in Spanish from Alma College in Michigan and further pursued a masters of divinity from Louisville Theological Seminary. It was then that McDowell landed an internship as a chaplain at Monmouth College. At the time, Monmouth had not seen a chaplain on campus for a long time.

Between 1996 to 1997 McDowell Ott served as the chaplain intern while the college hoped to find funding to permanently fill the position. After one year of interning, she left the college to receive a doctorate in ministry from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. It was at this time that Fannin filled the internship position following McDowell Ott, whom the college later was able to permanently fund the position of a chaplain on campus.

“Rev. McDowell Ott really paved the way to reinstating the chaplain position at Monmouth College,” said Dean of Students, Jacquelyn Condon. “We saw how much she contributed to the campus as an intern and fully embraced the value of a chaplain on campus.”

Since receiving her Doctorate, McDowell Ott has held the position of minister in several churches in South and North Carolina as well as a youth pastor. She currently holds the minister position of Cameron Presbyterian Church in Cameron, North Carolina. As well as ministry, she has a history in delivering presentations to a variety of different groups such as Presbyterian women, life of prayer and Presbyterian leadership.

She will also be coming to Monmouth with an exciting opportunity to help aid President Ditzler while he withholds the position of chair elect for the Presbyterian College and Universities branch of the General Assembly of Presbyterian Church.

Within the next year, President Ditzler and other members of the Presbyterian College Universities branch of the General Assembly have been asked to prepare a dialog of what it means to be a Presbyterian and how the relationship between the Presbyterian Church and Presbyterian colleges and universities can be strengthened. Along with working closely with President Ditzler, McDowell Ott will maintain many other duties as chaplain.

The Monmouth College campus will serve as the congregation for the Reverend, therefore helping students practice their faith and spiritual growth is an essential role as the chaplain on campus. According to Dean Condon, the college wants to maintain, and celebrate and honor their Presbyterian heritage but also create a ministry that is very ecumenical.         

McDowell Ott will withhold public duties such as matriculation, commencement and baccalaureate and leading prayers or mediations before a variety of meetings and events on campus. She will also be  the advisor for the student chaplain and will have involvement with organizations on campus such as bible studies, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Ignite and more.

She will also be available as a go-to person for any one on one help that students might need.

“Not only will she be a resource, but she will also be available for students to talk to,” Fry added. “She is very personable and easy to connect with.”

McDowell Ott will make her move to Monmouth this Winter with her husband and two young children. She will officially start her position as chaplain on January 5, 2011. She hopes to continue the good work of Rev. Kathleen Fannin.

“I am very excited to have her on campus. She is going to be a great addition to Monmouth College, not only to spiritual life but to the college as a whole,” said Fry. “She has a lot of new ideas that will hopefully spark interest with spiritual life on campus.”

Co-News Editor

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