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Dr. Mark Douglas named Columbia Seminary’s J. Erskine Love Chair of Christian Ethics

Douglas, a faculty member at Columbia since 1999, succeeds Dr. Marcia Riggs

by Columbia Theological Seminary | Special to Presbyterian News Service

Dr. Mark Douglas

DECATUR, Georgia — Columbia Theological Seminary Professor Dr. Mark Douglas has been named the new J. Erskine Love Chair of Christian Ethics by the seminary’s Board of Trustees.

Douglas succeeds the inaugural holder of the Love chair, Dr. Marcia Riggs, who retired last year.

“I’m honored to have been elected to the J. Erskine Love Chair in Christian Ethics by Columbia’s board and delighted by the fact that it is named for someone whose family I have known for years,” Douglas said. “Recognizing the large shoes left by its former holder, Dr. Marcia Riggs, I will do my best to live up to the expectations that come with occupying it now, recognizing — perhaps paradoxically — that it is not so much a seat to rest in as a site to launch from.”

The J. Erskine Love Chair of Christian Ethics was established in 1988 by the Love family after the 1987 passing of Love, a former Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Columbia Theological Seminary from 1973-78. Love, a successful businessman and civic leader, was also a Sunday school teacher and elder at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Atlanta.

Love honored the ethical issues of modern living, being known as one whose life witnessed truth, compassion, love and justice in the world.

Douglas has been at Columbia since 1999 and is currently the Lead Professor of the Master of Theology Degree program. He was the director of the Master of Divinity program from 2013-20. Douglas’ current research explores how climate change and environmental degradation shape violent conflicts and the responsibility of religious bodies to respond.

“The appointment of Dr. Mark Douglas as the J. Erskine Love Professor of Christian Ethics is a recognition and celebration of his distinguished service to Columbia, the academy, the Church and wider publics during his 25 years as a member of Columbia’s faculty,” said Dr. Christine Roy Yoder, senior vice president and dean of faculty at Columbia Seminary. “The appointment is also an exciting next step in Columbia’s longstanding commitment to excellence in forming Christian leaders who are skilled ethicists. We honor Dr. Douglas and look forward with gratitude and anticipation to his leadership in this new role.”

Douglas is also active in the metro Atlanta community, serving on the Ethics Committee for the City of Decatur, Decatur’s Climate Resilience Plan Task Force, and the Institutional Review Board for Northside Hospital. He has been a board member and board chair for Georgia Interfaith Power and Light and served on the State Bar of Georgia’s investigative panel.

About Columbia Theological Seminary

Columbia Theological Seminary exists to educate and nurture faithful, imaginative, and effective leaders for the sake of the Church and the world. As a diverse, graduate educational institution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Columbia Seminary is a community of theological inquiry, leadership development, and formation for ministry in the service of the Church of Jesus Christ. Columbia Seminary offers six graduate degree programs and dozens of courses and events as a resource for church professionals and lay people through The Center for Lifelong Learning. For more information, please visit

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