Skip to content »

Installation of Dr. Brian Bantum as Holder of the Neal F. and Ila A. Fisher Chair in Theology

Wednesday, December 8, 2021  |  11 a.m. (CST)
Chapel of the Unnamed Faithful and Live Webcast

An accomplished theologian who writes on the intersection of theology and identity, Dr. Brian Bantum will be installed as the holder of the Neal F. and Ila A. Fisher Endowed Chair in Theology on Wednesday, December 8, 2021. We hope you will join us for this celebration and installation!

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, alumni/ae, friends, trustees, and special guests are invited to join us via the live webcast. Faculty, staff, and students are invited to attend this celebration in-person. Seating in the Chapel of the Unnamed Faithful will be limited and masks will be required. For those joining in-person, a reception will be held immediately after the service in the first floor lounge of Loder Hall.

Whether joining us online or in-person, the favor of your RSVP is requested by Monday, December 6, 2021.

Register Now

About Dr. Brian Bantum

The Board of Trustees unanimously approved the appointment in May 2019, and Bantum officially joined the faculty of Garrett-Evangelical in July 1, 2019, as the Neal F. and Ila A. Fisher Professor of Theology. Prior, he was a faculty member at Seattle Pacific University for 10 years, where he served as professor of theology and cultural studies. As a systematic and constructive theologian, Bantum's research covers Christology, theological anthropology, identity, race, mixed-race, art and theological method, and critical theory.

Bantum has published numerous articles and chapters in academic journals and popular magazines. His first book, Redeeming Mulatto: A Theology of Race and Christian Hybridity (Baylor University Press, 2010) explored how black, mixed-race identity illumines how race shapes us and re-imagines Christian discipleship through Christ's body as both human and divine, a union of flesh and divinity that remakes the lives of disciples into a new people, a holy "mixture" of flesh and Spirit. Bantum’s second book, The Death of Race: Building a New Christianity in a Racial World (Fortress Press, 2016) offers the church ways of re-imagining Christian claims regarding humanity, human fallenness, and Christ's work in light of modern race and racism

He holds a doctor of philosophy from Duke University, a master of theology studies from Duke Divinity School, and a bachelor of arts from Houghton College. He is a member of the American Academy of Religion, the International Society for Religion, Literature, and Culture, and the Workgroup on Constructive Theology. Bantum serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Theology and Literature and is a regular contributor to The Christian Century. He also serves on the Mentoring Consortium Team for The Forum for Theological Exploration.

December 8, 2021

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

2121 Sheridan Road
Evanston , IL 60201

Neal F. and Ila A. Fisher

The Neal F. and Ila F. Fisher Endowed Chair in Theology was established at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in appreciation for Neal and Ila's 21 years of exemplary service to the seminary. The Chair has ensured that the seminary will always have a professor of theology, the area of Neal's own specialty and an essential component of a well-rounded seminary curriculum.

Neal served as president of Garrett-Evangelical from 1980 to 2001. During his years at the seminary, programs in worship, sacred music, evangelism, theology, ethics, and journalism were established. The seminary underwent numerous renovations including the addition of an elevator in the main building and renovation of the Chapel of the Unnamed Faithful. During his tenure, the seminary endowment grew from $11m to more than $53m.

In addition to raising their family and hosting numerous seminary events, Ila became a student at Garrett-Evangelical, graduating with an MDiv degree in 1989. She went on to serve Wellington Park United Methodist Church in Chicago until her retirement.