| Pacific School of Religion leader named to direct GTU
Riess W. Potterveld
Riess W. Potterveld, president of the Pacific School of Religion for the past three years, has been appointed to serve as acting president of the Graduate Theological Union, the largest consortium of seminaries in the counrty. Potterveld's term becomes effective July 1.
He will serve for a period of two years while the GTU Board of Trustees develops plans to fill the office on a long-term basis. James A. Donahue, who held the post for 13 years, recently was selected as president of Saint Mary's College in Moraga.
Potterveld, an ordained United Church of Christ minister, graduated with his master of divinity degree from Yale Divinity School and with his master's and doctoral degrees from Claremont Graduate School. Prior to becoming PSR's president, he was president of Lancaster Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania for eight years. He also served as PSR's president for Institutional Advancement from 1993-2002, and its acting dean from 2000-2001.
"There are enormous challenges faced by many theological schools today – among them declining enrollments and insufficient capital. I really look forward to introducing new people and supporters to the Graduate Theological Union," Potterveld said.
During the past three years as president of PSR, a 147-year multidenominational seminary, Potterveld has helped to support the core mission of the GTU of reaching out to and building relationships with other Christian denominations as well as communities of other faiths and traditions. He worked on the sale of a PSR-owned building to Zaytuna College, the first Islamic undergraduate institution in the U.S. In 2014 Zaytuna is expected to move to the area in Berkeley known as "Holy Hill," where many of the GTU schools are located.
Also while at the PSR helm, Potterveld found ways to cut costs and develop new programs.
Now celebrating its 50th year, the GTU is comprised of nine seminaries: American Baptist Seminary of the West; Church Divinity School of the Pacific (Episcopal); Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology; Franciscan School of Theology; Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University; Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary; San Francisco Theological Seminary (Presbyterian); Starr King School of Ministry (Unitarian-Universalist) and the multidenominational Pacific School of Religion.
The GTU schools have a combined enrollment of about 1,100 students and offer more than 600 courses a year in degree and certificate programs.
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