North Central College - Naperville, IL

Sharon Zimmerman Rader

Class Year: 
1961

Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 1996

Sharon Rader’s inspiring pastoral and administrative leadership is valued by laity and clergy alike. She served as Bishop of the Wisconsin Conference of the United Methodist Church from 1992 to her retirement in 2004. She has chaired the Council of Bishops Initiative on Children and Poverty and was president of the Wisconsin Conference of Churches. In 1976, she received a master of divinity degree from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill., where she was later awarded the 1996 Outstanding Alumni Award. She was ordained as an elder of the United Methodist Church in 1978 and served congregations in Michigan and Illinois before being appointed district superintendent of the West Michigan Annual Conference in 1989, the same year she received an honorary doctorate of divinity from Albion College. She’s a trustee of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and served as a North Central College Trustee from 1992-2004. She has traveled for mission study to Kenya, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Costa Rica and Nicaragua, and has served on the United Methodist Church’s Board of Global Ministries, the ethnic minority local church committee and the commission on the status and role of women.