Written by Bennett Guess
UCC-related Chicago Theological Seminary has named noted scholar and educator Alice Hunt, Ph.D., the 12th president in its 153-year history. Previously Associate Dean of Vanderbilt University's Divinity School, Hunt will succeed Susan Thistlethwaite, Ph.D., who returns to the classroom a decade after breaking ground as the seminary's first woman president.
Hunt, a Hebrew Bible scholar, will be installed as CTS president in fall 2008. Her appointment culminates a yearlong search by a committee of trustees, faculty, students and friends of CTS, one of seven United Church of Christ seminaries. The search committee identified more than a dozen qualified candidates and interviewed five finalists before unanimously recommending Hunt's appointment by the CTS board of trustees.
"In our president, we sought a partner in our quest to question, teach and transform church and society," said Donald Clark, Jr., chair of the board of trustees and member of the search committee. "We sought an individual who shares our dedication to academic excellence, passion for social justice and courage in response to great challenge. We found all this and more in Dr. Alice Hunt."
The appointment was enthusiastically received by officials of the United Church of Christ. "I am excited that Dr. Hunt has accepted the invitation to become the president of Chicago Theological Seminary," added the Rev. John Thomas, General Minister and President of UCC. "Her scholarship and her commitment to theological education will continue the commitment to excellence that is so central to the CTS story and that helps make the school such a vital part of the UCC family."
"CTS is a vibrant institution with a remarkable history," Hunt responded. "In its mission, vision, and commitments, CTS is both well-grounded in traditions and fully aware of contexts in which we live and work. As the nature of religious life is changing, CTS is a model in preparing transformative religious leaders to live out their roles in their many contexts, with a view toward a flourishing of life for all."
Hunt was ordained at the historic Fifteenth Avenue Baptist Church, National Baptist Convention, in Nashville, Tenn. She holds a Ph.D. in religion, with an emphasis on the Hebrew Bible and early Judaisms, from Vanderbilt University. Her published work includes Missing Priests: The Zadokites in Tradition and History (2006) and essays in works such as Approaching Yehud: New Approaches to the Study of the Persian Period (2007), Israel's Prophets and Israel's Past (2006), and Methods of Biblical Interpretation (2004).