this photo shows Justala Simpson posing on the Huntingdon College campus on a bright spring day.

Sullivan Award Winner Justala Simpson of Huntingdon College Prepares for Career in Ministry

By Su Ofe

Justala Faith Simpson, a 2020 graduate of Sullivan Foundation partner school Huntingdon College, was honored with the prestigious Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award in May. The award is presented annually to a Huntingdon College senior who exemplifies the definition of “nobility of character” as established by the Sullivan Foundation.

Simpson, a religion major from Montgomery, Ala., was active in and held leadership roles for Huntingdon Campus Ministries and the Huntingdon Leadership Academy. She was also active in her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., and served on the executive council of Huntingdon College’s Student Government Association, as a Huntingdon Ambassador and Student Recruiter, and as a member of the Huntingdon Concert Choir, among other organizations. Passionate about youth and teaching ministries, she interned with the Huntingdon Leadership Academy and with First United Methodist Church-Montgomery.

Related: Steffi Kong, winner of the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award at Converse College, “excels at everything she does”

Simpson is a local and denominational leader in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, serving as the youth liaison on the planning committee for General Conference 2020 and as youth president of the AMEZ Church. She also served on the planning committee for the denomination-wide Midwinter Gathering for Christian Education for Youth and Young Adults.

“I have seen that her academic abilities, astute theological reasoning, wide-range of ministry experiences, and gifts for leadership demonstrate the nobility of character and fine spiritual qualities recognized by the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award,” said Huntingdon religion professor Dr. Diane Abernethy.

The daughter of two pastors, the Reverends Harold and Lessie Simpson, Simpson also feels called to ministry as her vocation. She will enter seminary study at Candler School of Theology at Emory University this fall, where she received a full-tuition Presidential Scholarship to continue her education, discernment and development as a leader in the church.

Simpson is a 2017 graduate of Brewbaker Technology Magnet High School. At Huntingdon, she was inducted into Sigma Sigma Sigma, Theta Alpha Kappa, and Order of Omega honor societies. A summa cum laude graduate, she received the Margaret Read Scholarship Medal upon graduation with her Bachelor of Arts degree. This spring, she was also recognized with the Louise Panigot Award as the senior religion major “who holds the greatest promise for scholarly achievement in the field of philosophy and in the academic study of religion.”

This story was edited from the original version appearing on the Huntingdon College website.

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