Studying at Union Was “a Dream Come True”

Studying at Union Was “a Dream Come True”

Categories: 1836 Legacy Circle, Alums in the World

A conversation with Rev. Susan Sgarlat ’07

Susan Sgarlat, M. Div. ’07, has degrees from several prestigious institutions, but Union Theological Seminary is the only one she has put in her will.

“I’ve attended a lot of different schools—a prep school, Barnard College, and Vanderbilt University Law School, but I have decided to designate Union as the beneficiary of my estate in addition to my children,” Susan said. “The gift to Union is the only gift to a school in my will. The reason? None of the other schools needs the money as much as Union does.”

Susan, who worked for years as associate general counsel for Columbia University, said that studying at Union was “a dream come true.”

“I had known about Union for 20 years or more, but I thought it was out of my reach to attend seminary,” she said. “But I would read the Union catalog and fantasize about studying there.”

She was ordained by the Reformed Church in America in 2009 and now works as a hospice chaplain. She is married to Episcopal priest Charles Wentworth Baker Fels, who also left the legal profession to enter the ministry. They live in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Susan said her gift to Union is unrestricted because “I totally trust Union to use my gift where it’s most needed.”

“Giving to Union is about having a strong relationship with God and then wanting to give others an opportunity to have a Union theological education and go out into the world and make life better for others. Union is a bastion of justice, love, and acceptance. I want to support that!”