Two of Eastern’s faculty recently attained the title of doctor. Professor of political science Paul Brink earned his from the University of Notre Dame, while youth ministry and Spanish professor Eduardo Ramirez finished closer to home at the Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Brink’s dissertation blended political theory and the Christian faith. He began his journey towards applying his political and philosophical interests to his everyday life and faith in Christ in 1995.
“The word justice has always been an important one to me,” Brink said. “We love our neighbors by showing them justice; it’s biblical.”
As a Catholic school, Notre Dame provided Brink with the theological acceptance his dissertation needed. Brink had only revisions to make once he came to Eastern in the fall of 2001.
Brink said that the dissertation road is long, intimidating and only for self-motivated persons who love school. In defending his dissertation, Brink was brought before a board of four members who threw questions at him for an hour and a half.
After questions came to an end, Brink was left to sit on a hard wood bench while the four board members adjourned. Brink described the actual decision as medieval: the four re-entered the room and approved his dissertation by merely saying, “Congratulations, Dr. Brink.”
“They have been doing it this way for nearly a hundred years,” he said. “It was all very formal.”
Ramirez, on the other hand, attained his doctorate at Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He penned his dissertation on character development in church leaders.
“Achieving this doctorate carries a double meaning for me,” Ramirez said. Roughly 15 years ago, Ramirez had done doctoral work in his home country of Argentina. Because Argentina is a very secular country, Ramirez’s dissertation was rejected due to its theological foundation.
“Secularism forces you to be a person that you’re not,” Ramirez said. “Education is great, but it does not complete you.”
This rejection did not hinder Ramirez from taking a second stab at a doctorate. After a year of research, Ramirez came to Eastern in the fall of 2003 needing only a couple of years of revisions to finish his dissertation. Ramirez will attend a formal graduation ceremony at the seminary in May.
“The doctoral program I went with was attractive because it allowed me to articulate why godly leaders within the church are needed,” Ramirez said.