Vashti Murphy McKenzie serves as the 117th elected and consecrated bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. Her historic election in 2000 represents the first time in the over 200-year history of the AME Church that a woman had obtained the level of Episcopal office. The firsts continue as she served as president of the Council of Bishops and chair of the General Conference Commission, and she was the Host Bishop for the 49th Session of the General Conference of the AME Church in June 2012 with more than 30,000 in attendance. Chairwoman of the Board of Trustees of Paul Quinn College and Board of Trustees member of the International Theological Center in Atlanta, McKenzie currently serves as the presiding prelate of the 10th Episcopal District, which is the entire state of Texas. She is well known as an electrifying preacher and has been honored for her leadership, community service, and outstanding achievements by a number of diverse civic, educational, business, and governmental organizations and leaders. She was named this year by Huffington Post as one of the 50 most powerful women religious leaders in the world. McKenzie earned an MDiv from Howard University Divinity School and a DMin from United Theological Seminary.