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President Philip A. Amerson to Retire in December 2013

October 10, 2012

Mr. Jerre Stead, Chair of the Board of Trustees of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, announced today that Dr. Philip A. Amerson has expressed his intention to retire as president of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary at the end of December 2013. He has served as president since June 1, 2006.

President Amerson has provided leadership during exciting and challenging days, and has brought imagination and tireless commitment to theological education at the school, the national church, and beyond. Among the significant achievements during this time, President Amerson saw enrollments increase by over twenty percent, led a major renovation of campus facilities and worked to double the capital campaign gifts and pledges, surpassing $70 million of the $100 million goal. Under his leadership, Garrett-Evangelical emphasized hospitality and sustainability, added faculty positions in Wesley and United Methodist Studies, Global Christianity and World Religions, and supported the establishment of the Rueben Job Chair in Spiritual Formation.  During this time a renewed emphasis was given to strengthening the Center for the Church and the Black Experience and broadening the school’s reach through online learning.

“I consider it a great privilege and high honor to have served Garrett-Evangelical in this leadership role,” stated President Amerson. “Garrett-Evangelical is made up of a remarkable group of people, from our committed alumni/ae to our outstanding faculty, staff, and students.  I am committed to a strong finish as we all continue to build up this extraordinary seminary together.”

Prior to arriving at Garrett-Evangelical, President Amerson served as president of Claremont School of Theology for six years.  He has taught at several colleges and graduate schools throughout the nation.  He received a doctor of philosophy degree from Emory University in 1976, a master of divinity degree from Asbury Theological Seminary in 1971, and a bachelor of arts degree from Asbury College in 1967. 

An ordained elder of The United Methodist Church, President Amerson served as pastor for 21 years, including appointments at three congregations in the South Indiana (now Indiana) Conference.  His work in The United Methodist Church includes: founding member of Patchwork Ministries in Evansville, Indiana; vice president of the University Senate; chairperson of the Association of United Methodist Theological Schools; member of the Commission on Theological Education; and member of the Bishop’s Task Force on Theological Education and of the Ministry Study Commission.

The leadership of President Amerson and his spouse, Elaine, will be celebrated during the 2013 calendar year as the seminary also celebrates its 160 year history. You will receive information as these plans are put in place.

The Board of Trustees will begin the search for the seminary’s next president in November.  A search committee of the Board of Trustees will be named to provide leadership for this important initiative. Bishop Sharon Zimmerman Rader, retired bishop of The United Methodist Church and current trustee of Garrett-Evangelical, will chair the search committee that will include representatives of the Board of Trustees, faculty, staff and alumni. Following a national search, the committee will recommend a candidate to the Board of Trustees who will then select and appoint the next president.