Dr. Mary Ruth Stone, adjunct faculty instructor for the Lee University’s Division of Adult Learning (DAL), and former international Women’s Leader for the Church of God, is the recipient of the 2016 Faculty Award.
The Church of God, with International Offices in Cleveland, Tennessee, has conferred the Distinguished Educator Award on recipients who have made a unique contribution to education in the Church of God somewhere in the world. The recipients of these awards are selected from a list of nominees submitted by church leaders, faculty and administration from educational institutions, missionary educators, and Ministerial Development Board members internationally.
The recipients of the 2016 Church of God Distinguished Educator of the Year Awards were announced during the International Educators Luncheon on Tuesday, July 19, 2016, at the Omni Nashville Hotel, Legends Ballrooms E, F. The event is being held in conjunction with the 76th International General Assembly in Nashville, Tennessee.
Dr. Charles Paul Conn, president of Lee University, was the guest speaker for the sold-out event that attracted Church of God educators from around the world. While admitting that Church of God higher education faces diverse challenges and problems, Dr. Conn chose to emphasize two specific reasons the Church of God should care about education: first, education is the most powerful way for the church to penetrate our culture; and, second, education is the very best way to secure the future of both the church and our culture.
Before President Conn’s challenging message, the attendees were treated to an exciting rendition of “Amazing Grace” and “Salvation” by flautist José Ruíz, who will be joining the music faculty at Lee University this fall.
Dr. Mary Ruth Stone is the recipient of the 2016 Faculty Award. She began her higher education journey when the Associate of Arts degree was the highest Liberal Arts degree offering at Lee College. From there, she received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Arkansas in Little Rock, a Master of Science from Radford University, a Master of Christian Ministry from the Pentecostal Theological Seminary, and a Doctorate of Education from the University of Alabama. She did postdoctoral studies at the Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary in Fresno, California.
Dr. Stone’s professional career began as a classroom teacher and reading specialist in public and private schools in grades 1-12. In higher education, she served as a college and university faculty member and administrator at the College of Saint Mary, University of Nebraska Omaha, Patten University, and Lee University. Since retiring as the director of Faculty Development at Lee and the on-campus classroom, she has continued to teach online in the Division of Adult Learning.
In addition to her professional career as an educator, Mary Ruth has served the Church of God in the following capacities: one year as the wife of an evangelist; seven years in pastoral ministry with her husband; State Girls Clubs coordinator in New Jersey, Arkansas, Virginia, and Alabama; State Women’s Ministries president in Iowa/Nebraska, the Pacific Northwest, and California/Nevada; and international coordinator of Women’s Ministries at the Church of God International Offices on three different occasions.
While serving as the international coordinator, she was privileged to give the first speech by a female member after the General Assembly was opened to women participants in 1992.
Dr. Stone is the author and coauthor of One Woman Before a King, The Lord’s Definition of Marriage, twelve manuals for the California/Nevada School of Leadership Development, several teachers manuals, and numerous articles for Unique, Church of God Evangel, Women’s Ministries website, and other publications for Christian education.
Of all her accomplishments in life, Mary Ruth is most proud of their four sons. The oldest son, Ken, presently serves as the vice president for Academic Affairs at the Chicago Theological Seminary; Tim is an OB/GYN physician at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama; Dave is the assistant principal at Cleveland High School; and Jon is the lead pastor at the Renovatus Church of God in Charlotte, North Carolina. Of course, that means she is also proud of her three daughters-in-law and nine grandchildren.