Divinity Dean to be President of International Christian Educational Agency

Richard J. Wood, dean of the Yale Divinity School since 1996, will leave the University to become president of the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia in January 2001.

“Dean Wood has been an outstanding leader of the Yale Divinity School,” said Yale President Richard C. Levin. “Faced with the retirement of a generation of distinguished scholars, the School has wisely selected, and the Dean has ably recruited a new generation of such quality as to firmly secure Yale’s position as the leading center for theological scholarship in the nation. Under Dean Wood’s guidance, the school has begun an ambitious program of renovation that will restore the Sterling Divinity Quadrangle to its original beauty.”

In January 2000, Wood had announced his intention to leave Yale at the completion of his five-year term as dean.

Since 1994, Wood has chaired the Japan-U. S. Friendship Commission of the United States. He also co-chairs the U.S.-Japan Cultural and Educational Conference, an advisory body to the governments of both countries.

After graduating from Duke University, Wood earned his M. Div. degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Yale. An ordained minister of the United Methodist Church and a recorded Quaker minister, Wood’s career has combined teaching, administration and management with a deep commitment to Christian service. A specialist in Japanese philosophical and religious thought and ethics, he was twice a visiting professor at Waseda University in Tokyo. For many years, he was responsible for the administration of the Japan Study Program of the Great Lakes Colleges Association and the Associated Colleges of the Midwest. After teaching philosophy at Earlham College for 14 years, he served as vice president for academic affairs at Whittier College for five years. Returning to Earlham, he served as president for 11 years before coming to Yale Divinity School. Wood serves on the editorial advisory boards of the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Liberal Education and the Daily Japan Digest. He is also the lead instructor for the Association of Governing Boards’ Institute for Trustee Leadership.

Organized in the early 1920s, the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia now works in collaborative partnership with some 80 colleges and universities in Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Myanmar, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. Its mission is to encourage a Christian presence in both Christian and secular schools. An autonomous, non-proselytizing, not-for-profit agency, the United Board is supported by nine North American Protestant denominations.

The Yale Divinity School is interdenominational and nonsectarian, with a faculty and student body drawn from the major Christian traditions. Instruction is provided in the history, doctrines and polity of all the major church bodies. Programs of study lead to the degrees of Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Religion and Master of Sacred Theology.

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Gila Reinstein: gila.reinstein@yale.edu, 203-432-1325