Lexington Theological Seminary Announces New Dean While Search for Next President Begins

Mar 31, 2011, 09:30 ET from Lexington Theological Seminary

LEXINGTON, Ky., March 31, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Rev. Dr. Richard Weis has been named Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dean and Professor of Hebrew Bible at Lexington Theological Seminary.

Weis, who is currently Dean and Professor of Old Testament Theology at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, will join the Seminary effective July 1.  He follows Dr. Sharon Warner, who is retiring after 22 years of service at LTS.

"Dr. Weis brings a wealth of experience in theological education and in the church," said LTS President James Johnson. "He is a gifted and highly published scholar with a reputation as an excellent teacher. He has been a leader in the adoption of new instructional technologies and in inter-disciplinary team teaching. Throughout his career his service to the church has been evident as a speaker, preacher, teacher, and Bible study leader."

In the interview process, the search committee was particularly impressed with Weis' enthusiastic vision of what the new online program at LTS can mean for the church.

Prior to his role at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, Weis was Dean at New Brunswick Theological Seminary in New Brunswick, New Jersey and was Associate Professor of Old Testament there for more than a decade.

Additionally, the Administrative Board is preparing to fill the role to be vacated by President James Johnson. After seeing the Seminary through what may be the most dramatic shift in its 146-year history Dr. Johnson will retire by the year's end.

"It simply seemed that 'it is time,'" Dr. Johnson, 71, noted.

Dr. Johnson became the Seminary president in August 2008. In the months that soon followed, he led the Seminary into a period of reinvention in the wake of the global financial crisis that significantly impacted LTS and other institutions. Under his leadership, this period became an opportunity to reshape theological education as the Seminary worked toward meeting the changing needs of students and congregations.

"There have been many encouraging signs during this significant transition to a seminary utilizing distance learning," Dr. Johnson said, referencing the continued financial support of alumni/ae and friends, as well as the enthusiastic response of new students to the program. He also noted the encouragement of innovations in programming by the Association of Theological Schools.

"I have been truly blessed with a committed and dedicated Board of Trustees willing to make very difficult decisions, with a faculty that brought the best of their imaginations and energy to create a new model of theological education and a new curriculum, and with a staff who accepted new assignments in addition to their old ones with remarkable skill and positive spirit," he said.

Dr. Johnson will remain with the Seminary through the presidential transitional process.

Rev. Gary Kidwell, chair of the LTS Board of Trustees, noted, "Lexington Theological Seminary has been uniquely blessed by Dr. Johnson's leadership over the last three years. He brought the right gifts at the right time and moved us through an historical transitional period. The Seminary is now positioned to serve a new generation of students preparing for ministry. The Seminary—indeed, the whole church—is deeply grateful for Dr. Johnson's strong visionary leadership. He will be greatly missed."

Rev. Kidwell also announced the members of the presidential search committee approved by the Board of Trustees at their March 20 meeting.  Including Rev. Kidwell as ex-officio, the members are: Emily Askew, faculty representative, of Lexington, Ky.; Brenda Caban of Palm Bay, Fla.; Brad Fountain of Utica, Miss.; Leslie Geoghegan, committee chair, of Louisville, Ky.; Rick Griffith of Lexington, Ky.; William Lee of Roanoke, Va.; Forrest Roberts of Owensboro, Ky.; Ruben Rodriguez, alumni representative, of Jonesboro, Ga.; Tanya Tyler, alumni representative, of Lexington, Ky.; and Richard Weis, faculty representative, of New Brighton, Minn.

Lexington Theological Seminary is an accredited graduate theological institution of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).  Consistent with the Disciples' historic commitment to Christian unity, the Seminary is intentionally ecumenical with students, faculty, staff and trustees of various denominations. The Seminary has been preparing leaders for the church since 1865. For more information, visit www.lextheo.edu.

CONTACT: Beth Goins  (502) 316-4575, bgoins@lextheo.edu

SOURCE Lexington Theological Seminary