I'm from Alabama, and I grew up on a farm outside Montgomery. Then when I was about to start high school my family moved to Mobile.
I came to Salem because I had been teaching at a seminary in Richmond when I married Diane Lipsett, who is Asst. Prof. of New Testament at Wake Forest Divinity School. Teaching at Salem means we get to live in the same city!
The most obvious strengths of a women's college are the focuses on women's leadership and on how gender affects learning. I've been struck by how women in my classes both challenge and support each other.
If a student wanted to go into the ministry, I'd say she ought to get some experience being a volunteer in a church and in some kind of non-profit organization, to learn what it's like to work in those contexts. She should then do a seminary degree in a school connected with whatever denomination she is most likely to want to ordain her. If a student wanted to do religion strictly as an academic pursuit, I'd say she ought to gather information about the qualifications necessary to be admitted to the top 5 or 6 PhD programs, and then make a plan for getting those qualifications.
I have three sons, two step-sons, a daughter-in-law, and a 4-year-old grandson. My two oldest live and work in Richmond; my youngest is a student at App State. My older stepson is a senior at Davidson, and my younger stepson lives at home with us. We have a brindle-colored dog--some sort of pit-bull mix, we're told--and a white cat.