Changes in board structure

The board of trustees of Princeton Theological Seminary has instituted term limits and opened board membership to non-Presbyterians for the first time. In February, the board announced that new trustees may serve a maximum of four three-year terms, after which they may be re-elected after a break of one year. Previously, trustees could be re-elected continuously until age 75.

In addition, the board announced that up to five trustees may be elected who are not members of the seminary's sponsoring denomination, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Under the new rules, non-PCUSA trustees who are ordained ministers must be graduates of the seminary. And all board officers must still be ministers or elders in the PCUSA. 

Founded in 1812, Princeton Theological Seminary is the largest PCUSA seminary. In the 2009-2010 academic year, 259 of its 615 students were members of the PCUSA.

Baseball prospect exchanges helmet for collar

Grant Desme, a 24-year-old outfielder who was named Most Valuable Player in the elite-prospect Arizona Fall League in 2009, announced in January that he would be leaving baseball. He will enter St. Michael's Abbey, a community of Norbertine priests in the Southern California community of Silverado.

St. Michael's Abbey was founded in 1957 by seven priests who fled Hungary and found a home in Orange County, California. The abbey is the home of 47 priests and 18 seminarians who are members of the Norbertines, a religious order founded in France in the 12th century.

Desme was a top prospect in the farm system of the Oakland A's, and his decision startled the baseball world. "I know it's hard for some people to understand," he told the San Jose Mercury News. "All I can say is that when God speaks to you, it gets your attention."

Fargo seminary to close next year

The Catholic Diocese of Fargo has announced that it will close its college-level seminary in May 2011. Explaining the reason for the closure, Bishop Samuel J. Aquila cited the low number of students at Cardinal Muench Seminary and the school's correspondingly high per-student costs. Bishop Aquila said that students pay $15,000 per year to attend the seminary, but annual costs total about $115,000 per student. Three seniors graduated from the school last month.

Officials at North Dakota State University expressed concern that the closure of the seminary might have a negative effect on the university's programs in classical languages and philosophy. Under a longstanding agreement between Cardinal Muench and North Dakota State, four professors are paid by the seminary but teach at both schools.

Faith and health

Memphis Theological Seminary in Tennessee is now offering a doctor of ministry program that explores the intersection of faith and public health. Students attend seminars at institutions such as the Church Health Center in Memphis, the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, and Emory University. They also participate in an international immersion experience.

An Episcopal student at the seminary, Dr. Randy McCloy, and his wife, Linda, established the McCloy Faith and Health Faculty Series in support of the new doctoral program. The McCloys' gift funds public health experts who serve as adjunct faculty.

Memphis Theological Seminary is affiliated with Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

Theology on TV

McAfee School of Theology, a Baptist seminary in Atlanta, Georgia, has debuted "The 30-Minute Seminary," a series of 14 televised lectures. The new series features popular lecturers delivering addresses on topics ranging from "The Parables of Jesus" to "Supervised Ministry." The shows are being carried on the local Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasting cable network and on the network's website. 

"The goal is to whet the appetite of viewers," says R. Alan Culpepper, the dean at McAfee and a member of the television station's board. 

The James and Carolyn McAfee School of Theology was established at Mercer University in 1994 and is affiliated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

Recent grants and gifts

Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri: $2.5 million from the estate of Thelma O. Pietsch, who operated a farm and ranch in Fayette County, Texas. The gift will support pastors, missionaries, and chaplains attending either seminary.

Claremont School of Theology, Claremont, California: $10 million pledge from David and Joan Lincoln. The gift will support implementation of the Claremont Project, a plan to develop graduate schools representing different religious traditions.

Changes at the top

 Kenneth Starr

■ Trustees of Baylor University have named Kenneth Starr as the school's new president. He succeeds interim president the Rev. David E. Garland, who will continue in his role as dean of the university's George W. Truett Theological Seminary, which was founded in 1991. Former president John Lilley was fired in 2008 after two and a half years of service. The university's board chair said that Lilley had failed to bring unity to divided campus constituencies.

A graduate of George Washington University, Brown University, and Duke University Law School, Kenneth Starr has been dean of the law school at Pepperdine University since 2004. Prior to that, he served as an appellate court judge and as then as U.S. solicitor general. Between 1994 and 1999, Starr was independent counsel for five investigations during the Clinton administration, including the Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky affairs.

Baylor is affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

 W. Mark Richardson

■ The board of trustees of the Church Divinity School of the Pacific (CDSP) has named the Rev. W. Mark Richardson as the school's new president and dean. He succeeds Dr. Donn F. Morgan, who will return to teaching at the seminary after a one-year sabbatical.

Richardson taught philosophical theology at the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) from 1991 until 1999. Since 1999, he has been professor of theology at the General Theological Seminary in New York City. An Episcopal priest, he is a graduate of the University of Oregon, Princeton Theological Seminary, and the GTU, a consortium of which CDSP is a member institution.

Church Divinity School of the Pacific is a seminary of the Episcopal Church. Located in Berkeley, California, it was founded in 1893. Richardson and his wife, Brenda, a writer, are parents of three adult children.

 Richard B. Hays

■ Richard B. Hays has been named interim dean of the Duke University Divinity School. He replaces the Rev. L. Gregory Jones, Divinity School dean since 1997, who has been named senior adviser for international strategy at Duke University.

Hays is George Washington Ivey Professor of New Testament at Duke Divinity School. He moved to Duke in 1991 from the faculty of Yale Divinity School, where he had taught for 10 years. He is a graduate of Yale University, Yale Divinity School, and Emory University. He and his wife, Judith Cheek Hays, have two adult children.

Duke Divinity School is one of 13 United Methodist seminaries in the United States. Established in 1926, it is located in Durham, North Carolina.

 Alfred L. Norris

■ The board of trustees of Gammon Theological Seminary has named Bishop Alfred L. Norris as interim president-dean of the school, replacing the Rev. Walter H. McKelvey. At its March meeting, the board declined to renew McKelvey's one-year contract. They have initiated a search for a permanent president-dean.

Norris retired in 2008 as bishop in the North Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. A graduate of Dillard University and Gammon Theological Seminary, he served as president-dean of Gammon before being elected a bishop in 1992. He and his wife, Mackie H. Norris, are the parents of two adult children.

Gammon was founded in 1883. One of 13 United Methodist seminaries in the United States, it is also one of six constituent members of the Interdenominational Theological Center, a consortium of historically African American theological schools in Atlanta, Georgia.

 Gary V. Nelson

■  The board of governors of Tyndale University College & Seminary has appointed the Rev. Gary V. Nelson as president and chief executive officer, effective July 1, 2010. He succeeds the Rev. Brian C. Stiller, who retired as president last year and now heads the Tyndale Foundation.

For the last 10 years, Nelson has served as general secretary of Canadian Baptist Ministries, an affiliation of four regional Baptist associations. A graduate of the University of British Columbia and Fuller Theological Seminary, he was pastor of the First Baptist Church of Edmonton from 1989 to 2000.

Nelson's wife, Carla, is director of the new bachelor of education program at Tyndale. The two have one adult daughter.

Founded in 1894 as the Toronto Bible College and later known as Ontario Bible College, Tyndale University College & Seminary now enrolls more than 1,200 students in undergraduate and graduate programs.

 Margaret M. Mitchell

■ Margaret M. Mitchell has been named dean of the University of Chicago Divinity School. She succeeds Richard A. Rosengarten, who has served as dean since 2000 and who will return to teaching this fall.

A graduate of Manhattanville College and the University of Chicago Divinity School, Mitchell taught at McCormick Theological Seminary before joining the University of Chicago faculty in 1998.

Founded in 1892, the divinity school is the oldest of the University of Chicago's six professional schools. It enrolls more than 300 graduate students.

 David L. Tiede

■ The Rev. David L. Tiede has been named interim president of Wartburg Theological Seminary. He succeeds Duane H. Larson, who announced his resignation in April. Larson has said he will pursue new avenues of ministry after he steps down in July.

Tiede was president of Luther Seminary for 18 years before retiring and being named president emeritus in 2005. Since then, he has held the Bernard M. Christensen Chair in Religion and Vocation at Augsburg College in Minneapolis.

A professor of New Testament for 35 years, Tiede is a graduate of St. Olaf College, Luther Seminary, and Harvard University. He is a past president of the Association of Theological Schools and was the lead author for the chapter titled "The President's Role in Defining Mission and Strategic Planning" for the Handbook for Seminary Presidents. Tiede serves as an In Trust Governance Mentor and was a member of the In Trust board of directors from 2001 to 2009 (including three years as vice chair of the board).

Wartburg is one of eight seminaries of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Founded in 1854, it is located in Dubuque, Iowa.


■ Sulpician Father Shayne Craig, rector of St. Joseph Seminary, has been appointed president of Newman Theological College, succeeding Dr. M. Bryn Kulmatycki. Kulmatycki's five-year term was due to expire in July 2010, but he departed March 30 under a mutual agreement with the archdiocese of Edmonton, Alberta, which operates both schools.

Father Craig, whose appointment as rector of St. Joseph Seminary was announced in the Autumn 2005 issue of In Trust, will now serve both institutions simultaneously.

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