John Campbell Bulow Library

Supporting Columbia Students

Columbia Friendship Circle

Providing Scholarships for Columbia Students and Their Families

Seventy-five years ago, the wives of two seminary professors encouraged other Atlanta area Presbyterian Women Circles to give one dollar apiece to support the students of Columbia, who they realized were in financial difficulty. At the same time, they realized the need for our students to have dress coats and appropriate clothes to be able to work in churches, so the Clothes Closet at Mission Haven was born. From those humble beginnings, Columbia Friendship Circle has grown to encompass all Presbyterian Women from the synods of South Atlantic and Living Waters, and beyond.

This wide circle of women has carried on the tradition of helping support our future pastors at a critical juncture in their faith journeys. Every year, a CFC Scholarship is awarded to a PCUSA student who attends seminary with their families and who demonstrate academic ability, financial need, and a commitment to serve the church upon graduation. The 2024 scholarship recipient is Laura Jeon.

Download the CFC brochure today.

Meet Laura!

The intersection of religion and theology has led Laura Jeon to Columbia Theological Seminary.

A classically trained pianist, Jeon is a dual degree student in Columbia’s Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Practical Theology programs.  Her hard work has also made her this year’s Columbia Friendship Circle scholarship winner.

“Believing in a divine calling through my musical and theological background, I am enthusiastic about combining the knowledge gained from studying the Bible and my musical expertise,” she said.

A native of South Korea, her family moved to Hawaii when she was 16 after her father received a call from a Korean immigrant church there. Piano was a love of hers and she went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in piano performance at the Eastman School of Music in New York, a master’s degree at the New England Conservatory of Music, and a doctorate at the University of Washington.

“As a professionally trained musician, I worked as a music educator in Seattle, holding a music professor position at North Seattle College and participating in the artist community of the Seattle International Music Festival,” Jeon said.  “My deep involvement in the classical music field in Seattle has helped shaped my artistic perspective.”

Theology plays an equally significant part of her life as well, just as it does for her husband, Samuel Byun, who is currently in the pastoral education process with PC (USA). 

Along with her studies, she is the Director of Worship Arts and Choral Music at North Avenue Presbyterian Church in Atlanta

“I aspire to bring hope and expectation to God’s people, guiding them in communion with God through worship and teaching,” she said. “The prospect of fulfilling the mission fills me with hope and excitement.”

Jeon started at Columbia in January 2023 and is appreciative for the Columbia Friendship Circle scholarship that will assist in her continuing her theological studies.

“Receiving the CFC scholarship was a profound blessing, affirming that God provides assistance for my education journey,” she said. “I extend heartfelt gratitude to Columbia Friendship Circle for their support, acknowledging their vital role in enabling me to pursue God’s calling through education.” 

Save the Date for Come See Columbia Day 2025!

Go ahead and make plans to join us for your next opportunity to experience your seminary up close on Thursday, April 24, 2025! Individuals and groups are welcome! Limited hotel style rooms are available on-campus. For more information, contact Coordinator for Seminary Relations, Maggie Andrews:

Donate to the Columbia Friendship Circle Today

It is only through generous donations from friends like you that these scholarships are available to help our students with families pursue their call to God. This year, our fundraising goal is $30,000 to be reached by June 30, 2024. EVERY DOLLAR MATTERS!

Please support them with a gift today!