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Three Garrett-Evangelical Alumni Named Deans of Divinity Schools

February 18, 2013

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary celebrates the recent appointments of three alumni who will serve as deans of divinity schools. Dr. David K. Clark has been named Vice President and Dean of Bethel Seminary, Dr. Evelyn L. Parker has been named Associate Academic Dean of Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University, and Dr. Emilie M. Townes has been named Dean of Vanderbilt University Divinity School.

David K. Clark, who received his Ph.D. from the joint Garrett-Evangelical/Northwestern University program in 1982, was serving as Executive Vice-President and Provost of Bethel University. He will now serve Bethel Seminary as vice president and dean. Clark is widely recognized as a theologian and has authored or co-authored 10 books including, To Know and Love God: Method for Theology (Crossway Books, 2003) and Dialogical Apologetics: A Person- Centered Approach to Christian Defense (Baker Pub Group 1999). 

Evelyn L. Parker will begin serving as Associate Academic Dean of Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University on June 1, 2013. She currently serves as Associate Professor of Practical Theology at Perkins School of Theology. Parker received her Ph.D. from the joint Garrett-Evangelical/Northwestern University program in 1996. Her research focus includes Christian education, womanist approaches to religion and society, and education and public policy. She is the editor of The Sacred Selves of Adolescent Girls: Hard Stories of Race, Class, and Gender (Pilgrim Press, 2006) and Trouble Don’t Last Always: Emancipatory Hope Among African American Adolescents (Pilgrim Press, 2003) and the co-author of In Search of Wisdom: Faith Formation in the Black Church (Abingdon, 2002).

Emilie M. Townes will serve as Dean of Vanderbilt University Divinity School, effective July 1, 2013. Townes, who received her Ph.D. from the joint Garrett-Evangelical/Northwestern University program in 1989, currently serves as the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of African American Religion and Theology and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Yale Divinity School. She is a pioneering scholar in the field of womanist theology and is the author of Womanist Justice, Womanist Hope (Scholars Press, 1993), In a Blaze of Glory: Womanist Spirituality as Social Witness (Abingdon Press, 1995), and Womanist Ethics and the Cultural Production of Evil (Palgrave Macmillan Press, 2006). Townes is a former president of the American Academy of Religion and she currently serves as president of the Society for the Study of Black Religion (2012–2016).

Philip Amerson, President of Garrett-Evangelical, congratulates the three, saying, “The recognition of our alumni by their selection to these three distinguished posts brings great joy to the Garrett-Evangelical community. Their selection demonstrates the deep commitment of this school to preparing women and men as excellent and bold leaders for the academy. Our prayers and best wishes go with Drs. Clark, Parker, and Townes as they assume these duties. When I heard this news I remembered the school’s long-time commitments to gender and racial inclusion and found myself saying ‘give God the glory.’”

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program at Garrett-Evangelical continues to train students to serve as quality scholars, educators, and administrators. Our Ph.D. graduates hold teaching and administrative positions at numerous colleges, universities, and seminaries worldwide as well as pastoral and denominational positions. The program offers six areas of study, including: Biblical Studies; Christian Education and Congregational Studies; History of Christianity and Historical Theology; Liturgical Studies; Pastoral Theology, Personality and Culture; and Theology and Ethics.