|Rev. Dr. James McDonald elected as 11th SFTS president
San Francisco Theological Seminary is pleased to announce that Rev. Dr. James L. McDonald has been elected by the Board of Trustees to serve as its 11th president. McDonald succeeds Dr. Laird J. Stuart, interim president for the past 18 months.
“Dr. McDonald comes to our seminary presidency with a broad background of leadership on issues of social justice throughout the world,” said Peter van Bever, Chair of the SFTS Board of Trustees. “Whether leading an institution with a global reach or a church making a difference in its neighborhood, Dr. McDonald has combined academic rigor, high-level management skills, a commitment to service and deep Christian faith throughout his distinguished career.”
McDonald joins the SFTS community after 13 years with Bread for the World and Bread for the World Institute in Washington, D.C., where he served as managing director and acting president, among other roles. Bread for the World is a faith-based advocacy organization that urges national legislators to end hunger at home and abroad.
“I am humbled and grateful to have been chosen to serve as president,” McDonald said. “It will be an honor to lead this exceptional seminary in its work to serve God's mission in the world. I look forward to working closely with students, faculty, staff, trustees and alumni to strengthen our service to the community, the Church, and the world, and expand our contributions to theological education.”
McDonald, who expects to begin serving as the Seminary’s president on July 8, said he is excited to be a part of SFTS’s noteworthy history of excellence in educating and inspiring diverse religious leaders and Christian scholars to act and live out the meaning of the Gospel.
“I believe this creative institution is poised to meet the challenge of preparing a new generation that has been grasped by the power of the Word,” McDonald said. “Together, the SFTS community will continue to make vital contributions to a more hopeful, caring, and just world. Let us begin.”
McDonald is an ordained Presbyterian minister. Prior to joining Bread for the World in 1998, he was pastor at Tabernacle United Church in Philadelphia.
A graduate of Princeton University, he earned a Master of Divinity at Union Theological Seminary in New York City and a Doctor of Philosophy in International Relations from American University in its School of International Service. He has been an adjunct faculty member at George Washington University, and board member and president of the Central American Resource Center in Washington, D.C.
“The appointment of Jim McDonald is the result of an energetic and wide-ranging search process that benefited greatly from extensive input from the SFTS faculty, students, staff, alumni, trustees and friends throughout the nation,” said van Bever. “As we welcome our new president, we extend heartfelt thanks to Laird Stuart who has conscientiously, tirelessly and compassionately guided the Seminary during this interim period. We are tremendously grateful for his wise and steady leadership.”
Founded in 1871, San Francisco Theological Seminary has a rich history of service to the church. As an institution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and a member of the Graduate Theological Union, SFTS remains dedicated to being a Christ-centered academic community, rooted in the Reformed tradition that embraces a diverse student body. With a focus on spiritual formation, critical theological reflection, and the skills and arts of ministry, SFTS prepares Christian leaders to serve in congregations, the wider church, classrooms and the public sphere.
John S. MacIntosh 1904-06
Robert MacKenzie (interim) 1909-10
Warren H. Landon 1910-28
William Oxtoby 1929-36
Jesse Hays Baird 1937-57
J. Edward Dirks (interim) 1957-58
Theodore (Ted) Gill 1958-66
Arnold Bruce Come (interim from 1965-67) 1967-82
Dayton D. Hultgren 1982-84
Robert Barr (interim) 1984-85
J. Randolph (Randy) Taylor 1985-94
Donald McCullough 1994-2000
James Emerson (interim) 2000-02
Phil Butin 2002-2010
Laird Stuart (interim) 2010-11
James McDonald July 2011