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Young Alumnus of the Year: Michael Rhodes ’08

Michael Rhodes with Derek Halvorson


Michael, class of 2008, graduated with degrees in Community Development and English. His charisma and passion as a student made Michael memorable, and that same warmth and energy now serve him well as the Director of Community Transformation at the Memphis Center for Urban Theological Studies. In this role, Michael heads up efforts to equip urban pastors and non-profit leaders with theologically informed tools for community development. Previously, he served as the Director of Education at Advance Memphis, a neighborhood nonprofit offering job training, financial literacy education, GED tutoring, and entrepreneurship support to low-income residents in South Memphis community that Rhodes and his family of 6 call home. Michael’s family attends Downtown Church where he serves as a deacon. He is the co-author, along with Robby Holt and Brian Fikkert, of Practicing the King's Economy: Honoring Jesus in How We Work, Earn, Spend, Save, and Give (Baker, 2018). Michael is also the founder of The Oaks Project at the Memphis Center for Urban-Theological Studies, an initiative that seeks to empower neighborhood churches to love their low-income neighbors well by equipping leaders who serve there. His life and his work are dedicated to serving “the least of these” in his community, and his recent book has compelled many to do the same.


Six years ago, Marshall ’08 and Katherine Whitmire Teague ’06 thought they would spend the rest of their lives in Oregon. Today they live on Lookout Mountain, where they operate a sustainable farm called EdenThistle.

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