Graduate Profile: Nancy Jo Clendenin Dederer
The intimate size of Alma College allowed The Rev. Dr. Nancy Jo Clendenin Dederer to be cast in leading theatric roles her freshman year. It is that experience, along with her Speech and Theater major and her Secondary Education preparation, that have her parishioners telling her she “brings scripture to life as she reads it.”
“Comfort in being in front of people and having a ‘dramatic edge’ aids my worship leadership immensely,” says the pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Homewood in Homewood, Ill. “I also use my theatre background as we work on special worship services and dramas. My teacher training has been invaluable since I work with so many different age groups, teaching and leading.”
The College’s size, feel and friendliness, as well as the variety of activities originally drew the 1985 alumnus to campus, and she knew she always wanted to be a teacher. Falling in love with drama in high school, she found a way at Alma to combine the two activities.
While at Alma, Dederer was involved in many organizations, including theatre, Alma College Choir and campus ministry.
“During campus ministry I learned so much about my faith and had great opportunities to design and lead worship, including writing prayers and skits and leading the singing,” she says. “It put me in a position to be able to encourage younger students in their faith and help them in their adjustment to college life.”
Dederer also studied in France in the fall of her junior year, and credits the experience with allowing her to really develop as a person.
“I believe one of the strengths of Alma’s education is it taught me how to think and to appreciate diversity,” she says. “My graduate and doctoral degrees were challenging, but I had a great foundation with which to start. Alma gave me a number of opportunities for leadership that I might not otherwise have had.”