Trevecca to honor Dr. Carla Sunberg with leadership award

Trevecca Nazarene University officials will honor Dr. Carla D. Sunberg with the Nina Griggs Gunter Servant Leadership Award on Sept. 24.

Sunberg will be recognized during a chapel service set for 9:30 a.m. in the Boone Convocation Center, during which she will also challenge and encourage students, faculty and staff.

“Dr. Sunberg has been a leader in global mission, church administration and theological education,” said Dr. Dan Boone, Trevecca president. “As a friend, I have appreciated her character and commitment to Christ and the church. Our community will benefit greatly from her presence.”

In 2017, Sunberg was elected 43rd general superintendent of the Church of the Nazarene. Just prior, she served as the president of Nazarene Theological Seminary.

Sunberg and her husband, Chuck, spent more than a decade serving as pioneer missionaries to the former Soviet Union. Ordained on the Russia North District, Sunberg also served as the director of Compassionate Ministries and director of theological education for the field while there.

The Sunbergs returned to the United States in 2005, serving as the pastors of Grace Point Church of the Nazarene in Fort Wayne, Ind. In 2011, the couple accepted a call to serve as co-district superintendents of the East Ohio Church of the Nazarene.

In addition, Sunberg has also served as a member of the General Board and on the boards of trustees for both Nazarene Theological Seminary and Mount Vernon Nazarene University. She previously served as a member and chairperson of the USA/Canada Region’s Nazarene Women Clergy Council and as the president of the Wesleyan-Holiness Women Clergy.

Sunberg, who holds a bachelor’s degree from MidAmerica Nazarene University as well as a master’s from Nazarene Theological Seminary and a doctorate from Nazarene Theological College and the University of Manchester, United Kingdom, is the author of numerous articles for church publications. She is the co-author of the books Faxes from Russia, Reclaiming Eve: The Identity and Calling of Women in the Kingdom of God, Reflecting the Image: Our Call to Mirror Christ in the World and more.

The Nina Griggs Gunter Service Leadership Award is named in honor of Dr. Nina Griggs Gunter, a 1958 Trevecca graduate and the first female general superintendent in the Church of the Nazarene. Gunter was the first recipient of the award, which recognizes prominent Christian women who have served as role models of servant leadership.

Previous recipients include Senator Elizabeth Dole, Shirley V. Hoogstra, president of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, and Dr. Jo Ann Lyon, first female superintendent of the Wesleyan Church.

During the chapel service honoring Sunberg, Trevecca officials will also announce the recipient of the Nina Griggs Gunter Servant Leadership Scholarship. A committee comprised of faculty, administrators and a Gunter family representative will choose the scholarship recipient from a field of four finalists.

Nominees for the scholarship must be female students who embody various aspects of servant leadership, including a dedication to following Christ through service, garnering respect among peers and faculty and demonstrating a spirit of service.

About the Nina Griggs Gunter Leadership Award and Scholarship

The Nina Griggs Gunter Leadership Award and Scholarship are initiatives of the Nina Griggs Gunter Leadership fund, an endowed fund established by friends and family of Dr. Nina Griggs Gunter. The fund is designed to recognize her significant impact on the Church of the Nazarene and honor her as a role model for women who are servant leaders. In addition to the award and scholarship, the fund supports initiatives within Trevecca’s Center for Student Development.

About Trevecca Nazarene University

Trevecca Nazarene University is a Christian university in the heart of Nashville focused on preparing students for lives of leadership and service. Founded in 1901, Trevecca is committed to holistic education, encouraging students to grow intellectually, socially, emotionally, physically and spiritually. U.S. News & World Report ranked Trevecca as a national university in the annual “2019 America’s Guide to Colleges,” making the University the only Nazarene institution to receive the national ranking. The Carnegie Foundation has classified Trevecca as a doctoral university, ranking it among the top 7 percent of schools nationwide.

Located just one mile from thriving downtown Nashville, Trevecca offers classes at the main campus as well as four other locations across the Southeast and online classes offered worldwide. With students from 47 states and 25 countries, Trevecca offers 15 associate degrees, 83 undergraduate majors, 20 master’s programs, and two doctoral programs, as well as specialist and certificate programs.

Media contact: Mandy Crow,, 615-248-1695