Rev. Bruce Buchanan, associate pastor of community ministries in Dallas’ First Presbyterian Church, will receive SMU’s 2012 Robert O. Cooper Peace and Justice Fellowship during an 11:30 a.m. lunch and reception Wednesday, April 25, in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom.
He will deliver the Cooper Fellowship Lecture, “The Art of Turning Corners,” at noon.
Rev. Buchanan is responsible for program and policy design and oversight for First Presbyterian’s downtown social ministries, including The Stewpot. He oversees the daily operation of the soup kitchen for the homeless, as well as the church’s community casework services and its year-round educational programs for inner-city children, including a college scholarship incentive program. He has overseen the development of a dental and a medical clinic, supported the creation of an arts program, and developed the annual Stewpot Talent Show.
His service to Dallas and North Texas includes work with The Homeless Consortium for the City of Dallas, the Texas Homeless Network, Interfaith Community Ministries Network, Dallas Area Service to the Homeless, and Shelter Ministries of Dallas.
Rev. Buchanan received a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary and B.A. degrees in history and political science from Wagner College, both in New York City.
SMU senior Shirin Tavakoli will receive the 2012 William K. McElvaney Peace and Justice Award during the event. Tavakoli, who majors in political science, international studies and human rights with a minor in history, helped establish a campus chapter of the Innocence Project, an organization dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted individuals through DNA evidence and reforming public policy to prevent future injustice. The Tower Center Undergraduate Research Fellow’s human rights work includes participation and leadership with the SMU Civil Rights Pilgrimage and the University’s Amnesty International chapter.
The Robert O. Cooper Peace and Justice Fellowship was founded in 1992 upon Cooper’s retirement as SMU Associate Chaplain. It was created with gifts from Cooper’s friends, co-workers in the chaplaincy, The Dallas Peace Center and Northaven United Methodist Church.
The William K. McElvaney Peace and Justice Award was established in 1993 by friends of McElvaney to honor his lifelong commitment to peace, justice and civil rights on the occasion of his retirement from SMU’s Perkins School of Theology. The award recognizes the peace and justice work of one or more SMU students and provides a stipend to be used in the advancement of peace and justice activities.