Transformative gifts

Pittsburgh Theological Seminary will receive an unrestricted gift of more than $20 million from the estate of Robert Thomson, the owner of a Pittsburgh insurance agency. Thomson was an usher and former treasurer at Shadyside Presbyterian Church.

The Rev. William Carl, president of the seminary, said that the gift would be used to complete the seminary’s capital campaign and for other purposes yet to be designated.


The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia has announced that it will receive $7.25 million from the estate of the late Helen Nicholson Palmer of Wyomissing, Pennsylvania. Palmer was the widow of Frank R. Palmer, the former president and CEO of Carpenter Technology Corp., who died in 1992. 


Seminary President David J. Lose said that the bequest would be used for several deferred improvement projects as well as academic and scholarship programs.

Requiescat in pace

 Stephen A. Hayner

The Rev. Stephen A. Hayner, 66, the former head of both InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and Columbia Theological Seminary, died from cancer on January 31, 2015. Hayner joined the faculty of Columbia Seminary in 2003 as Peachtree Professor of Evangelism and Church Growth, and he was named president of the school in 2009. He retired last year to focus on medical treatment.


From 1988 to 2001, Hayner was president of the national InterVarsity organization, a ministry to college students that is active on more than 600 American campuses. He is survived by his wife, Sharol, and three adult children. 


Howard John Claussen

Howard John Claussen, 81, died from cancer on January 8, 2015. A member of the board of directors of In Trust from 2010 to 2014, he was also a longtime member of the board of directors of Valparaiso University and member of the board of regents of Concordia Theological Seminary, both in Indiana. Claussen retired from the DuPont Company in 1994 after 39 years in business management. He is survived by his wife, Tabby, and four adult children.


 Harriet Tracy Schier

Harriet Tracy Schier, 74, died from cancer on August 14, 2014. She was an In Trust Governance Mentor from the program’s inception and a co-founder of the Institute for Administrators in Catholic Higher Education at Boston College. A former administrator and board member at several Catholic colleges, she was also a writer, editor, and evaluator for Lilly Endowment Inc. She is survived by her husband, Walter, and three adult children. 


Changes at the top

 Seán Charles Martin

■ In 2014, Father Seán Charles Martin was named president of the Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, Missouri. He succeeded Dominican Father David Caron, president since 2012, who was appointed director of the Office of Evangelization and Eucharistic Renewal for the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

Father Martin is a priest of the Diocese of Dallas, and his appointment represents the first time a diocesan priest has served as president of Aquinas, a graduate school of theology operated by the Order of Preachers, or Dominicans. His appointment was made by the provincial council for the Province of St. Albert the Great, one of four Dominican provinces in the United States.


Since his ordination in 1981, Father Martin has been an educator in secondary schools, colleges, and universities in the United States and Italy. 

He served on the faculty of Aquinas Institute for the 12 years before his appointment as president, including most recently as director of the M.A. program in theology.


Father Martin is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, the University of Dallas, and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. 

 J. Bradley Creed

■ The RevJ. Bradley Creed has been named president of Campbell University, a Baptist institution in Buies Creek, North Carolina, that includes a divinity school that admitted its first students in 1996. When he takes office this year, he will become only the fifth president of Campbell since its founding in 1887. He will succeed Jerry McLain Wallace, who is retiring after 12 years at the helm.

Creed is professor of religion at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, where he has been on the faculty since 2001. Creed was named provost of Samford in 2002 and executive vice president in 2006. From 1996 to 2000, he was dean of the George W. Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University.

Creed served as pastor and church planter at several Baptist churches in Louisiana and Texas from 1980 to 1993. He is a graduate of Baylor University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Kathy Harton, have two grown children.  

 Leanne Van Dyk

■ The board of trustees of Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia, has named the Rev. Leanne Van Dyk as the seminary’s 10th president. She will succeed William E. Scheu, the former chair of the seminary board, who has been interim president since late last year when Stephen A. Hayner resigned to pursue aggressive cancer treatment.

Van Dyk was on the faculty of San Francisco Theological Seminary from 1992 to 1998. Since 1998, she has been a member of the faculty of Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan, teaching Reformed theology. She was dean of the faculty from 2002 to 2005, when she was named academic dean. For the last nine years, Van Dyk has served as both academic dean and vice president for academic affairs.


A graduate of Calvin College, Western Michigan University, Calvin Theological Seminary, and Princeton Theological Seminary, she is an ordained minister in the Reformed Church in America.

 Francis Fornaro

The board of trustees of Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has appointed the Rev. Francis Fornaro as interim president of the school. He succeeds the Rev. Katherine Hancock Ragsdale, who led the seminary from 2009 until earlier this year, when she announced that she was stepping down. Subsequently Ragsdale was named president and dean emeritus and professor of theology.

Fornaro was interim director of field education at the time of his appointment. He served as a teacher and administrator in Boston public schools from 1964 until 1993, and then he turned to ministry as a second vocation. After graduating from Episcopal Divinity School in 1996, Fornaro served a variety of positions in the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts before being named rector of St. Paul’s Church in Bedford, Massachusetts, in 1999. He retired from that position in 2010. 

 Doris J. Garcis Rivera

■ The board of directors of the Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico has named Dr. Doris J. García Rivera as the seminary’s new president. She succeeds Dr. Sergio Ojeda Cárcamo, who served as president from 2003 until his retirement last year.

García Rivera was professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at the time of her appointment. A graduate of the University of Puerto Rico, Andover Newton Theological School, and the Boston University School of Theology, she served as a missionary for 23 years, primarily in Costa Rica and Mexico. 

The Evangelical Seminary is a multidenominational institution founded in 1919. It is jointly sponsored by the United Evangelical Church of Puerto Rico and Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Disciples of Christ denominations in the mainland United States.

 James Mason

■ Archbishop Robert J. Carlson of St. Louis has named Father James Mason as the next president and rector of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, which prepares Catholic priests for the St. Louis Archdiocese and more than two dozen other dioceses in the United States and abroad. Father Mason will succeed Father John Horn, who has led the seminary since 2011 and who will be named to a new position in his religious community, the Jesuits. Father Mason has been dean of students and director of spiritual formation at the seminary since last August. A graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School, he served as a prosecutor in Minneapolis and as legal counsel and director of Catholic Charities for the Diocese of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Father Mason attended the Pontifical North American College and the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (called “the Angelicum”), both in Rome, and was ordained in the Sioux Falls Diocese in 2001. He then served as a pastor, director of vocations, and vice chancellor in that diocese, as well as a retreat director at the Broom Tree Retreat Center. 

 Kuo-Liang Lin

■ The Rev. Kuo-Liang Lin has been named president of Logos Evangelical Seminary in El Monte, California. He succeeds the Rev. Felix Liu, who is retiring and has been named chancellor and spiritual formation endowed professor. Liu has led the seminary since 1989, when it was founded by the General Assembly of the Evangelical Formosan Church. 

Lin was associate professor of counseling at Logos at the time of his appointment as the new president. A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, and Purdue University, he joined the seminary faculty in 2001 and has served as dean of students, director of the seminary’s Chicago extension, acting director of the seminary’s program in Taiwan, and acting director of advancement. Before joining the seminary, he was director of family ministry and executive director of Ambassadors for Christ Inc. and served as a pastor at churches in Taiwan and California.

 Steven Peay

 The Rev. Steven Peay, the dean of academic affairs at Nashotah House, has been named the seminary’s next dean and president. Peay succeeds Bishop Edward Salmon, former head of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, who is retiring after leading the seminary since 2011. 

Peay is a graduate of Saint Louis University, Saint Vincent Seminary, the University of Pittsburgh, and Greenville College. A professor of homiletics and church history, he began teaching at Nashotah House in 2008 and was elected to the full-time faculty in 2010.


Peay was a Catholic monk for more than 15 years and taught homiletics and historical theology at Saint Vincent Seminary, where he was also academic dean for five years. After leaving monastic life, he spent 15 years serving Congregational churches in Wisconsin. In 2010, his priestly orders were transferred to the Episcopal Diocese of Albany, New York. He and his wife, Julie, have two children.


Located 30 miles west of Milwaukee in rural Wisconsin, Nashotah House is the state’s oldest educational institution, founded in 1842, and it is affiliated with the Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church in North America, the Episcopal Missionary Church, and the North American Lutheran Church.

 David V. Esterline

■ The Rev. David V. Esterline has been named sixth president of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He succeeds the Rev. William J. Carl III, who is retiring in June after almost 10 years at the helm of the school, which is the oldest of the 10 seminaries affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). 

Esterline is currently director of the Institute for Cross-Cultural Education at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. He was dean of the faculty and vice president for academic affairs at McCormick from 1999 to 2009. 


Esterline is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz; Oxford University; and the Graduate Theological Union. Ordained in the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon in 1987, he served as a lecturer and administrator at theological colleges both in Africa and in Fiji. He is now a member of the Blackhawk Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church (USA).


From 2010 to 2012, Esterline was the chair of the board of the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools (ATS). He is now co-chair of the Global Forum of Theological Educators, a new initiative designed to promote cooperation among evangelical, Pentecostal, mainline Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox theological educators.    


Esterline is married to the Rev. Jane Esterline, pastor of Park Presbyterian Church in Streator, Illinois. They have three children. 

 George Hayman

■ Bishop Salvatore Matano of Rochester, New York, has appointed Father George Heyman as president of St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry. He succeeds Sister Patricia Schoelles, a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph, who has retired after leading the school since 1993.

A priest of the Diocese of Rochester, Father Heyman is a graduate of St. John Fisher College, Harvard Divinity School, and Syracuse University. He was one of the last students of the former St. Bernard’s Seminary before priestly formation was discontinued in 1981. That year, the seminary’s name was changed to St. Bernard’s Institute and its educational focus shifted from preparing priests for ordination to preparing men and women for lay and diaconal service in the Catholic church. The institute was renamed St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry in 2002.


Heyman has taught at Nazareth College, Binghamton University, Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, Syracuse University, and the University of Rochester, and he has served parishes throughout the Diocese of Rochester. He has been a member of the faculty at St. Bernard’s since 2007, teaching biblical studies.


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