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Celebrating President Lallene J. Rector

President Lallene J. Rector

I take great joy in what has been accomplished during these last seven years, and not by me, but by us. Staff, faculty, students, the leadership team, alumni, trustees, and friends all contributed, together. We have built on the solid foundations that had already been laid. I’ve come to think of leadership as a relay race. You pick up the baton that is handed to you and you do your best to run “the race set before you” until it is your turn to hand off the baton.



Dr. Lallene J. Rector was named president of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary on May 16, 2013, and began her term on January 1, 2014. Rector has been an esteemed faculty member at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary since 1986 as Associate Professor of Psychology of Religion and Pastoral Psychotherapy and served as Vice President of Academic Affairs and Academic Dean from 2006-2013. Effective December 31, 2020, Rector will officially step out of the role of president and once again take up her faculty post.

The list of accomplishments and highlights during Rector's presidency speaks directly to her love for and lifelong dedication to Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. There is much to celebrate and we hope you will participate by joining us for a time of celebration on December 10, submitting your personal letter to Lallene, and making a gift to the seminary in her honor. 


A Celebration in Honor of President Lallene J. Rector

On Thursday, December 10, 2020, at 4 p.m. (Central) the seminary community will gather via Zoom to pay tribute to Dr. Lallene J. Rector for her work and dedication to Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary as both president for seven years and a member of the faculty for over 34 years. You won't want to miss this special celebration and milestone moment in the history of the seminary. Alums, faculty, staff, students, trustees, and friends of the seminary are all encouraged to attend. 

To attend this virtual gathering, register today using this form. All who register by 5 p.m. (CST) on Wednesday, December 9, 2020, will be emailed the Zoom link on the morning of Thursday, December 10.

Register Now


Letters for Lallene

With over 34 years of service to Garrett-Evangelical, thousands of students and alums and countless colleagues in the church and the academy have been directly impacted by President Rector and her servant leader heart. To capture just some of these moments we invite you to submit a letter to President Rector. These contributions can be letters of gratitude, memories, well-wishes, or all three rolled into one. We want President Rector to have a lasting memento of the fruits of her labor, and we are sure that she would enjoy a word from each of you.

Please upload your letter via this form by Wednesday, November 18, 2020. These letters will be compiled into a bound book and presented to President Rector in December.

Submit Your Letter Now


Gifts in Honor of President Lallene J. Rector

We invite all members of the Garrett-Evangelical family—alums, friends, trustees, churches, faculty, staff, and students—to honor President Rector’s legacy with a gift to the seminary’s Center for the Church and the Black Experience (CBE). Gifts to the CBE in her honor will help fund the center's multitude of programs. CBE has been a beacon of hope and inspiration for Black students, pastors, churches, and communities for 50 years. To learn more about CBE, we encourage you to read the Aware Magazine CBE Feature

Donors who wish to make an unrestricted gift in President Rector’s name may do so with a contribution to the seminary’s annual fund.



Accomplishments and Highlights Under the Presidency of Dr. Lallene J. Rector


  • January 2014: Lilly Endowment Inc. Awards $500,000 Preaching Initiative Grant (Read More)
  • May 2014: Seminary Awarded Grant for Latino/a and Hispanic Youth to Explore Their Calling (Read More)
  • June 2014: Library Receives Historical Records Preservation Grant for Lucy Rider Meyer and Chicago Training School Digitization Project (Read More)
  • October 2014: Launch of New Residential Hybrid Course of Study School (Read More)


  • February 2015: Center for Faith and Learning Names Garrett in its 2015 Listing of Seminaries that Change the World (Read More)
  • May 2015: Garrett Among the First Selected for FTE’s Institutional Doctoral Network (Read More)
  • July 2015: Seminary Launches New DMin track in Community Organizing (Read More)
  • August 2015: President Rector Named Distinguished Alumna of the Boston University School of Theology (Read More)
  • November 2015: New Doctor of Philosophy Teaching Certificate Launched (Read More)
  • December 2015: New MDiv Concentration in LGBTQ Studies in Partnership with Chicago Theological Seminary is Established (Read More)


  • March 2016: Garrett-Evanston Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools Program is Established (Read More)
  • June 2016: Evanston Community Foundation Awards Seminary $10,000 Grant for the Garrett-Evanston Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools Program (Read More)
  • August 2016: Rector Named to the New Room Books Editorial Board (Read More)
  • September 2016: Center for Faith and Learning Names Garrett in its 2016 Listing of Seminaries that Change the World (Read More)
  • December 2016: Lilly Endowment Inc. Awards $750,000 to Seminary to Help Pastors Become Financially Literate and Lead Financially Strong Congregations (Read More)
  • December 2016: Seminary Receives 1.5 Million from Lilly Endowment Inc. for the Young Adult Initiative (Read More)


  • May 2017: Seminary Raises over $100 Million in Largest Capital Campaign Effort in the Seminary’s History (Read More)
  • October 3: Seminary Establishes Global Partnership with the School of Theology at Methodist University of São Paulo, Brazil (Read More)
  • November 2017: New MA in Public Ministry is Established (Read More)
  • November 2017: Center for Faith and Learning Names Garrett in its 2018 Listing of Seminaries that Change the World (Read More)


  • January 2018: New DMin Track in Preaching as Leadership in Hispanic/Latinx Congregations is Established (Read More)
  • January 2018: University Senate Approves New Collaboration between Sioux Falls Seminary and Garrett-Evangelical (Read More)
  • October 2018: Center for Faith and Learning Names Garrett in its 2019 Listing of Seminaries that Change the World (Read More)
  • November 2018: The Board of Trustees Approves Seminary Statement for LGBTQ+ Inclusivity (Read More)


  • January 2019: New Partnership with North Central College is Established (Read More)
  • March 2019: Higher Learning Commission Reaffirms Seminary’s Accreditation through 2028 (Read More)
  • March 2019: Association of Theological Schools Reaffirms Seminary’s Accreditation through 2028 (Read More)
  • June 2019: Seminary Launches Credit-Bearing Certificate Program with Ecumenical Focus (Read More)
  • October 2019: Seminary Receives Wabash Center Grant for “Mapping ‘Race’ Across the Curriculum” Project (Read More)
  • December 2019: President Rector Receives “Outstanding Service in Higher Education” award by the Evanston/North Shore Branch NAACP (Read More)
  • December 2019: Seminary Receives $372,000 Sustainability Grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. for “Leading Vibrant Congregations” Initiative (Read More)


  • February 2020: Center for Faith and Learning Names Garrett in its 2020 Listing of Seminaries that Change the World (Read More)
  • April 2020: Garrett Achieves Certification as a “Green Seminary” by the Green Seminary Initiative (Read More)
  • June 2020: Project Transformation and Garrett-Evangelical form New Partnership Focusing on Young Adults and a Path to Seminary (Read More)

From awards given to awards received, from alum gatherings in Evanston to Seoul, Korea, and from the Chapel of the Unnamed Faithful on campus to the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., it has been an incredibly busy seven years for President Rector. Here are just a few of the highlights. (To view more use the scrollbar on the righthand side. The scrollbar will appear once you hover over one of the images)