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John W. Sanderson Award Given to Professor Stephen Kaufmann

Professor Stephen Kaufmann

Covenant College President Niel Nielson presented the John W. Sanderson Award to Professor Stephen Kaufmann at Covenant's 55th annual commencement on May 8, 2010.


The John W. Sanderson Award is given biannually to a faculty member who exemplifies the spirit of gracious Christian scholarship, which was characteristic of Dr. Sanderson.


John W. Sanderson, Jr., professor of philosophy at Covenant College from 1963 to 1976, academic dean from 1963 to 1968, and adjunct professor on several occasions after his retirement, probably had more to do with the development of Covenant's educational philosophy than anyone else. He was known as a lucid thinker and a master teacher, but what colleagues and students are most likely to remember are his humility and his kindness.


Dr. Sanderson was a wise man as the Scripture defines wisdom. He insisted that all our learning and teaching be done in the light provided by the Bible. Based on a lifetime of never ostentatious but often surprising knowledge of the Bible, he demonstrated his commitment to "the supreme judge by which all controversies of religion are to be determined...the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture."


Dr. Sanderson was for students and colleagues a model not only of Christian thinking and Christian teaching, but of Christian living. He was one of God's best gifts to Covenant College, and though it may appear that the College honors him in naming an award for him, the truth is that most of the honor goes in the other direction.


 Professor of Education Stephen Kaufmann is known for thoughtfully and comprehensively grounding his scholarship in the truths of Christian faith. He has contributed in significant ways to Covenant's core educational program and the development of his department. He has led student trips multiple times to Eastern Europe and to New York City. 


Dr. Kaufmann has written numerous articles and book chapters over the years and served on various committees of the College. He is known for his scholarship regarding Charlotte Mason and has brought Christian principles to bear in the development of Christian schools in Europe, having published a book that has been translated into Romanian and French. Although he has taught many courses at Covenant College, he is probably best known for his treatment of the history and philosophy of American education. He served for six years as the inaugural moderator of the faculty, and with wisdom and thoughtfulness helped to provide leadership during those years. He has also served beyond Covenant's campus on various Christian school boards in Tennessee, Iowa, and New Jersey and is an elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.  


Dr. Kaufmann received his bachelor's degree in history from Covenant College, studied at Covenant Theological Seminary, and received a master's in history and a Ph.D. in education from the University of Iowa. He and his wife, Mary, have seven children who are all alumni of Covenant College.