Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary’s board has named Lallene J. Rector to be the school’s next president

Rector, now the seminary’s vice president for academic affairs and academic dean, will succeed Philip A. Amerson, who will retire on Dec. 31 after nearly eight years as president of the Evanston school.

She will become the first woman, and the first layperson to serve as president of the 160-year-old school.

But other women have played key roles at the school before — including Eliza Garrett, who founded Garrett Biblical Institute in 1853; Lucy Rider Meyer, the first principal of the Chicago Training School in 1855; Georgia Harkness, the first woman to be named professor of theology in the United States in 1939; and Rosemary Skinner Keller, the seminary’s first female academic dean appointed in 1993.

Rector, a member at First United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple in Chicago, has expertise in pastoral psychotherapy and is a convener for the United Methodist Theological Schools academic deans and regularly represents the seminary at denominational conferences.

A search committee of trustees, faculty, and administrators unanimously recommended Rector to the board.

In her remarks to the search committee Rector said, “I believe that if Garrett-Evangelical understands itself, first and foremost, as a servant to the church and to the world, then we will not stray far from God’s purpose for us. My own personal call to service, along with my experience in the seminary for the last 27 years, has well prepared me to become the next President.”

Rector developed and implemented the seminary’s strategic plan, chaired the budget reduction task force, initiated a curriculum review, and negotiated the seminary’s charter membership in the Seminary Stewardship Alliance.

Rector’s holds a bachelor of arts in psychology and religion from Texas Christian University, a master of theological studies from Boston University’s School of Theology, and a doctor of philosophy in psychology of religion from Boston University’s Graduate School for the Arts and Sciences.

Related document

Garrett press release

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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