Richard Mouw to retire

The first half of Moral Minority is biographically driven. Of the eight evangelicals I highlight, five are still living. One of them, Richard Mouw, currently serves as president of Fuller Theological Seminary. A number of years ago I spent a couple of days out at Fuller doing research for my dissertation. Mouw graciously sat for an interview with me in his spacious presidential office. I really enjoyed my conversation with him.

News just came that Mouw is planning to retire. Next academic year will be his last. Here’s the news release:

Richard J. Mouw, Fuller Theological Seminary president and professor of Christian philosophy, has announced that he will retire from the presidency in June 2013. The 2012-2013 academic year will be his last as president, a key leadership role he has held since 1993.  A widely respected scholar,  philosopher, communicator, and leader in the Evangelical world, Mouw has brought significant, positive change to both the seminary and the broader Church over the two decades of his presidency.

“Rich Mouw was destined to be president of Fuller,” says Fuller School of Theology Dean Howard Loewen. “He is fundamentally a conceptual leader with a big vision, and he has consistently demonstrated his deep passion for the transforming truth of the gospel, his ability to relate to his colleagues as a friend, and his heart as a consummate preacher and storyteller.”

Dr. Mouw first joined the Fuller faculty in 1985 as professor of Christian philosophy and ethics, coming with 17 years of experience as a professor of philosophy at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He then served for four years as provost and senior vice president before being appointed to the presidency in 1993.

Under his leadership, the seminary has seen many beneficial changes that have helped to fulfill Mouw’s vision of Fuller as a premier seminary that is reaching a world in need. Fuller extended its reach during Mouw’s tenure as the seminary’s network of regional campuses across seven states grew and developed, with a new campus recently established in Houston, Texas. The Master of Arts in Global Leadership became Fuller’s first online degree, and a Korean-language Doctor of Ministry program was established.

Creative courses of instruction, research centers, and innovative programs have been developed during Mouw’s presidency, from the Lee Edward Travis Research Institute in 1998 to the Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts in 2001 to the Center for Missiological Research in 2008. New academic chairs have been established and filled by world-class scholars, and Mouw has continued in former president David Allan Hubbard’s tradition of attracting the finest board members so that Fuller’s has become one of the most highly recognized boards in Christian education.

Known and respected for his commitment to interfaith and ecumenical dialogue, Mouw has represented the Presbyterian Church (USA) as co-chair of the Reformed-Catholic Dialogue, helped establish an annual series of discussions with Los Angeles area pastors and rabbis, built relationships with the Mormon community, participated in extensive exchanges with Muslim scholars—and devoted himself in numerous other ways to communicating with others in the public square with “convicted civility.”

Called “the most influential Evangelical voice in America—a true Evangelical public intellectual” by Duke Divinity School’s Grant Wacker, Mouw is also a prolific author. His 19 books include, among others, Uncommon Decency: Christian Civility in an Uncivil World; He Shines in All That’s Fair, Calvinism in the Las Vegas Airport, Praying at Burger King, two books on his theological hero—Abraham Kuyper: A Short and Personal Introduction and The Challenges of Cultural Discipleship—and, most recently, Talking with Mormons: An Invitation to Evangelicals. Mouw has also served on several editorial boards, including Books and Culture, and has been the editor of the Reformed Journal.

Following a study leave during the 2013-2014 academic year, Mouw will continue his involvement with the Fuller community in a faculty role.

Fuller Seminary’s Board of Trustees will engage in a search process with the goal of a new president assuming responsibility on July 1, 2013.

One Reply to “Richard Mouw to retire”

  1. Mouw was the respondent to my first ever conference paper–on progressive evangelicals’ disillusionment with President George W. Bush–at the American Academy of Religion back in 2004. The room was packed, Jamie Smith at Calvin was also giving a paper, and I was nervous. Mouw responded insightfully but graciously to my paper–and then he took 15 minutes after people had cleared out from the session to talk to this lowly grad student and encourage my work. A fine, fine man indeed.

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