Yale University Appoints New Dean to Lead Divinity School

Yale University President Richard C. Levin today announced that Rebecca S. Chopp will be the next dean of the Yale University Divinity School.

Yale University President Richard C. Levin today announced that Rebecca S. Chopp will be the next dean of the Yale University Divinity School.

Chopp will assume leadership of Yale’s interdenominational, nonsectarian, graduate Divinity School on July 1. She is the 13th dean of the school, and the first woman to hold that position. She will also be the Titus Street Professor of Theology and Culture.

A scholar of Christian theology and an ordained Methodist minister, Chopp currently serves as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. She is Emory’s principal academic officer and the chief liaison between the president and the deans and faculties on all academic matters.

“Rebecca Chopp brings an extraordinary array of strengths to her new position at Yale, and we are extremely fortunate to have attracted a person of such distinction,” said President Levin. “She is an outstanding scholar as well as an energetic and capable administrator. Her judgment and humanity are widely appreciated by her colleagues at Emory and elsewhere. She comes to the Divinity School at a crucial time in its history, when the school is in the midst of unprecedented renewal. Provost Richard and I look forward to working with our new dean in the years to come, as the School’s facilities are splendidly restored, and as the School continues to prepare individuals for the ordained and lay ministries of the Christian churches, to encourage the study of religion in a University environment, and to shape the role of religion in society by providing theological education for its leaders.”

“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as the dean of Yale Divinity School,” said Chopp. “Yale University Divinity School has a rich heritage and a promising future. An outstanding faculty, a skilled staff, wonderful students and a very distinguished body of alumni all contribute to a school poised and ready to enter a new stage in its development as a leader in theological education. I am impressed by the wonderful commitment President Levin and Provost Richard have made to the future of this school. Working together, I believe we can strengthen the presence of the Divinity School at Yale and help to envision what theological education will look like in the 21st century.”

The Yale University Divinity School prepares men and women for lay leadership and ordained ministry in all the major Christian denominations. Training for the Christian ministry has been one of Yale’s key missions, from its founding in 1701 as a “Collegiate School” to prepare young men “for Publick employment both in Church and Civil State.” The school is currently undergoing major renovation to its campus, the Sterling Divinity Quadrangle, at 409 Prospect Street.

President Levin added, “We are deeply grateful to Harry Adams for his wise and gracious leadership as acting dean during the interval before Dean Chopp arrives. A devoted citizen of the University who has the respect and affection of all, Professor Adams can soon return to his well-earned retirement with the satisfaction of another job well done.

“Our sincere thanks also go to Richard Wood, who served so effectively as dean of the Divinity School from 1996 to 2000,” Levin said. “Under his leadership, the school planned and began the renovation of its facilities, recruited a new generation of distinguished scholars, and secured its position as a leading center for theological scholarship and teaching.” Wood left the Divinity School at the end of December to assume the presidency of the United Fund for Christian Education in Asia.

Chopp graduated with a B.A. degree from Kansas Wesleyan University in 1974 (magna cum laude) and with an M.Div. from Saint Paul School of Theology in 1977 (with highest honors). She earned a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago’s Divinity School in 1983.

Before joining the faculty of Emory in 1986, Chopp was an assistant professor of theology at the University of Chicago. She held several appointments at Emory, including faculty positions in the Candler School of Theology and Graduate Division of Religion, the Institute for Liberal Arts and the Institute for Women’s Studies. She was director of graduate studies at the Institute for Women’s Studies, 1991-93. She became dean of faculty and academic affairs at the Candler School of Theology in 1993 and was named the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Theology in 1996. In 1998, Chopp became provost and executive vice president of Emory.

A scholar of theology and culture with a special interest in rhetoric, pragmatism and feminist theory, Chopp is editor of “Differing Horizons: Feminist Theory and Theology” (with Sheila Davaney, Fortress Press, 1997). She has also written or edited “The Praxis of Suffering: An Interpretation of Liberation and Political Theologies” (Orbis Press, 1986), “The Power to Speak: Feminism, Language, God” (Crossroads, 1989), “Reconstructing Christian Theology” (with Mark Kline Taylor, Fortress Press, 1994) and “Saving Work: Feminist Practices of Theological Education” (Westminster Press, 1995). She is widely published in the areas of women’s studies, Christian theology and the role of religion in American public life.

Chopp is also editor of the Quarterly Review, and has been theology editor for Religious Studies Review, editor-at-large for the Christian Century and served on the editorial boards of several journals in her field.

Chopp has held positions of leadership in numerous national organizations. She is currently president of the American Academy of Religion and a member of the board of trustees of the Carnegie Foundation, the Aquinas Center, the Westminster School in Atlanta and the Scholars Press.

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