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Gordon-Conwell Announces 2019 Retirement of President Hollinger

October 12, 2017

GORDON-CONWELL ANNOUNCES
2019 RETIREMENT OF PRESIDENT HOLLINGER

In announcing his retirement in 2019, Hollinger, having served as seminary President for a decade, aims to support seminary leadership for future transition.

SOUTH HAMILTON, MA (October 12, 2017) – In a morning meeting with the Board of Trustees, DR. DENNIS P. HOLLINGER, President & Colman M. Mockler Distinguished Professor of Christian Ethics, announced plans for his retirement as president in 2019 at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, MA.

“There are various personal and institutional factors that Mary Ann and I have considered in making this decision. At a personal level, we have grown to deeply love this community,” said Dr. Hollinger. “My desire is to step aside from this leadership role while I am still healthy and energized by my responsibilities. In the final 20 months of my tenure, I have no plans to slow down in my leadership role.”


The Gordon-Conwell Board of Trustees are in the initial stages of a comprehensive strategic plan for the coming transition, aiming to further enable the seminary to flourish for the sake of Christ’s Kingdom and the seminary’s role in equipping Christian ministry leaders around the globe to think theologically, engage globally and live biblically.

“As a Board of Trustees we are so grateful for Dr. Hollinger’s steady, high-quality leadership this past decade,” said John A. Huffman, Jr., Gordon-Conwell Board of Trustees Chairman. “And we look forward to serving side-by-side with him during these next twenty months in healthy, proactive transition.”

In a personal letter (full-text below), Dr. Hollinger shared about his decision and commitment to the remaining service as president to the Gordon-Conwell community.

“It has been a true joy for Mary Ann and me to serve this seminary. Our lives have been immeasurably enriched by our friendships with the multiple constituent groups on each of our four campuses, including our diverse, gifted and passionate students. I pledge to the Board and all of you my intention to work diligently and enthusiastically for my remaining time as president.”


Full Text of Dr. Hollinger’s Letter to the Gordon-Conwell Community:


Dear Gordon-Conwell Community,

This morning in my report to the Board of Trustees I announced my future retirement plans as president of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and want to share them with you.  After much prayer and discernment, I am announcing my plan to retire on June 30, 2019.

There are various personal and institutional factors that Mary Ann and I have considered in making this decision.  At a personal level, we have grown to deeply love this community and are saddened at the thought of not having you as part of our daily lives.  However, we also recognize that at retirement I will be 70 years of age, having served as president for 11 years. (The national average for college and university presidents is seven years.)  My desire is to step aside from this leadership role while I am still healthy and energized by my responsibilities.  I still have much writing that I hope to do and believe this timing will afford me that opportunity.

At an institutional level there are several factors that have led to our decision.  First, a number of our long-term Trustees will be retiring from the Board in 2020, and I believe it is important to have their voice at the table in the selection of the next president.  Moreover, the next president can benefit greatly from their wisdom, continuity and institutional history before they step aside.  Second, in the next several years the Seminary will likely need to begin another comprehensive campaign, and such endeavors require the same presidential leadership for at least five years.  Assuming such a task would take me beyond the years where I feel it would be wise to serve in this leadership capacity.

Mary Ann, our children and I are very much at peace with this decision.  Our plan is to retire in Charlotte, NC where we will be close to at least part of our family, including four of our grandchildren.  We do not anticipate a migration to rocking chairs!  I would love to continue teaching two courses a year for Gordon-Conwell and may even be open to providing leadership for a DMin track.  I have several books that I still want to write in my field of Ethics.  Mary Ann and I have always felt that upon retirement we want to volunteer our teaching and administrative experience to international seminaries that may have specific, short-term needs. Given our many years of leadership in higher education, we would also be open to mentoring younger presidents and spouses.  And beyond that we want some time to play with our grandchildren, including the two currently in Nepal.

In the final 20 months of my tenure I have no plans to slow down in my leadership role.  I pledge to the Board and to all of you my intention to work diligently and enthusiastically at enhancing enrollment, raising funds, bringing several new and creative academic programs to fruition, furthering the development and implementation of the strategic plan, and enabling the seminary to flourish for the sake of Christ’s Kingdom.  I will do my part in preparing for a smooth transition to the next president and will offer to the Board of Trustees my suggestions on a strategy for establishing a presidential prole and an international search process.  It is of course not appropriate for an out-going president to be involved in the actual search process itself.

It has been a true joy for Mary Ann and me to serve this great seminary.  We have been blessed to partner with outstanding Trustees, Boards of Advisors, administrative colleagues, faculty and staff.  Our lives have been immeasurably enriched by our friendships with the multiple constituent groups on each of our four campuses, including our diverse, gifted and passionate students.  As we have travelled throughout the world over the past decade we have marveled at the remarkable alumni who are making an impact for Christ in their various callings.  We will always consider this opportunity as a gift from God and will treasure on-going relationships with you as friends and fellow travelers on our shared journey of serving Christ and His Church.
 
With deep gratitude for each of you,


 
Dennis P. Hollinger, Ph.D.
President & Colman M. Mockler Distinguished Professor of Christian Ethics
 
Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary is a multidenominational, evangelical Protestant graduate school serving nearly 1,800 students on campuses in South Hamilton and Boston, MA; Charlotte, NC; and Jacksonville, FL. Students represent more than 90 denominations and 53 foreign countries. The seminary ranks as one of the largest in size among the 251 seminaries accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada. Gordon-Conwell offers many degrees at the master’s and doctoral levels and has gained an international reputation for leading faculty in the areas of biblical studies, ministry and theology.

Contact sleong@gordonconwell.edu with questions. More information, Dr. Hollinger’s presidential biography and additional details are available at www.gordonconwell.edu.