I will be stepping down as Dean of Perkins School of Theology on Dec. 31, 2022. The time is not yet for concluding reflections, nor final words of thanks and farewell. Those can wait. I would like to say just a few things now, however, as we begin this new academic year and my valedictory semester as Dean.
I am delighted to affirm that Perkins is in a strong position to continue its forward momentum. We share a clear and compelling vision. We have multiple initiatives already underway that hold considerable potential for the future. We have a committed and experienced leadership team, comprised of both faculty and staff, whom I trust confidently. Moreover, we are on solid ground financially: our reserves have increased at the same time that we have provided substantially more financial aid — the latter thanks largely to the generosity of our many donors. Naturally, there is room for improvement, as there always will be, but our trajectory is decidedly positive.
It had been my intention to remain at Perkins for another four or five years. Upending that expectation was a series of health challenges. In late spring, I reached the unwelcome conclusion that it was unreasonable to think that I could continue doing this work at the level it requires.
On Aug. 15-16, we had a very productive and enjoyable faculty retreat at the Prothro Center at Lake Texoma. We were delighted to be joined by Bishop McKee that Monday. This gave faculty and senior administrators the opportunity to speak with him both individually and collectively. It was an excellent start to a promising year and a smooth transition.
What is ahead for Robin and me? It’s too soon to tell. Naturally, I want to remain productive, especially in terms of writing. Beyond that, who knows what other callings might present themselves? I am optimistic that good things, yet unimagined, await.
Indeed, many good things await in the remaining months of my deanship. It is an extraordinary privilege to serve in this role. I will enjoy it until Dec. 31st, and I will remember it — and you — with gratitude every day thereafter.