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Garrett-Evangelical Announces the Appointment of Dr. Luis R. Rivera as Vice President of Academic Affairs and Academic Dean

August 9, 2013

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary named Dr. Luis R. Rivera as the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Academic Dean in May of 2013. Rivera began his term on January 1, 2014, the same day Dr. Lallene Rector assumed the presidency of the seminary. Rivera maintains a thorough and diverse experience of academic teaching, administration, and institutional leadership. He is an exploring candidate for ordination as a United Methodist Deacon in the Northern Illinois Annual Conference.

In appointing Rivera to this position, President-Elect Rector said, “I am delighted that Dr. Rivera has agreed to join the Garrett-Evangelical community. His appointment as the first Latino academic dean at the school is historic.  Dr. Rivera is held in high regard throughout our Association of Theological Schools and he brings many gifts to Garrett-Evangelical. His presence among us will enable our seminary to reach new levels of excellence as we continue to prepare students and faculty to respond to the global reality of rapidly changing multicultural demands in church and society.  We are indebted to McCormick Theological Seminary and to President Frank Yamada for the ways in which MTS steadfastly nurtures the development of creative and diverse leadership for theological education. I look forward to continuing our collaboration together in Chicago.”

Previously Rivera served as Dean of Faculty, Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the James G. K. McClure Professor of Theological Education at McCormick Theological Seminary, a seminary of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in Chicago. He had been on faculty at McCormick since 1995 where he taught theology courses in English and Spanish and was responsible for programmatic leadership of the Center for the Study of Latino/a Theology and Ministry. From 1986 to 1995, Rivera was an assistant professor at Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico.

Rivera received his Th.D. (1993) and Th.M. (1981) from Harvard Divinity School, his M.Div. (1978) from Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico, and his B.A. (1973) from the University of Puerto Rico. He is co-editor of The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Theologians (English, Spanish, and Portuguese editions). His research and teaching focus is systematic theology, specifically Latino/a and Diaspora theologies. He has published many articles on these subjects, including “Jesus el Migrante/Jesus the Migrant” in Jesus in the Hispanic Community: Images of Christ from Theology to Popular Religion (Westminster John Knox Press, 2010).

On his appointment, Rivera said, “I feel joy and gratitude in receiving the call to serve Garrett- Evangelical in this position of service and leadership. I am honored and humbled with this appointment to join the mission of this leading theological school that serves God, the church and the world with its excellent faculty, signature academic programs, great team of administrators and staff, and a committed board of trustees. I am deeply honored and excited to join the faculty and the leadership team of President-Elect Dr. Lallene Rector in her historic election as the first woman president in Garrett-Evangelical’s 160 years of history.”