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For the first time, Union Presbyterian Seminary will be led by a woman


Dr. Jacqueline E. Lapsley will begin her new duties on July 1

March 30, 2023

Dr. Jacqueline E. Lapsley

The Board of Trustees has named Dr. Jacqueline E. Lapsley to be the eighth president of Union Presbyterian Seminary.

As the first woman to lead the seminary in its 211-year history, Lapsley is used to being a trailblazer. She was the first woman to serve as dean and vice president for Academic Affairs at Princeton Theological Seminary, a position  she has held since 2018.

She joined the Princeton faculty in 1998. A noted Old Testament scholar who has authored or co-edited a number of works, including “Women’s Bible Commentary,” Lapsley earned her Ph.D. from Emory University, an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, an M.A. from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her A.B. from Smith College. “My father is an alumnus of Union,” she said, “and Brian Blount has been a cherished colleague for years. I’m delighted to be succeeding President Blount as he retires; he has positioned Union so well for the future.”

Co-chairs of the search committee Dr. Steve Allred and the Rev. Lori Archer Raible said, “As Union Presbyterian Seminary is poised to engage the many significant challenges facing theological education, Dr. Lapsley brings a depth of administrative experience, a deep devotion to Christian education, and an abiding commitment to the Church. These leadership gifts will help us build a stronger community across both the Richmond and Charlotte campuses as we strive to be the church in the world.”

Dr. Brian Blount

A cradle Presbyterian, Lapsley’s bold vision for theological education is rooted in the Reformed tradition and intentionally focused on diversity. “The diversity of the world God creates, redeems, and sustains must be reflected on our campuses in order to shape leaders for the world God so loves,” noted Lapsley. Dr. Rodney Sadler, Director of Union Presbyterian Seminary’s Center for Social Justice and Reconciliation, called Lapsley “a woman of God who has a proven track record of work in racial atonement with the aptitude and attitude to lead us to a greater focus on social justice and diversity.”

The Rev. Dr. Christopher Edmonston, Board of Trustees Chair for Union Presbyterian Seminary, agreed: “Her distinguished scholarship and fresh perspective bring an inspired and wonderful direction to the seminary. She is the right leader for the years to come. I want to thank the search committee for their faithful work.”

Lapsley will begin her duties on July 1. Blount retires on June 30 after 16 years at the helm of the seminary. Blount said, “I have known Dr. Lapsley for two decades. She is poised to continue her exemplary service in theological education at UPSem. I am elated the search committee chose her and the Board named her as the next president.”

Union Presbyterian Seminary, Special to Presbyterian News Service

Today’s Focus: Dr. Jacqueline E. Lapsley, first woman to lead Union Presbyterian Seminary

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Melaina Wilson, Marketing Program Assistant, Presbyterian Foundation
Miatta Wilson, Mission Associate II, Christian Formation, Theology, Formation & Evangelism, Presbyterian Mission Agency

Let us pray

We know that the secret of bearing fruit is abiding in Christ and he in us. Through communion, servanthood and fellowship, we benefit from Christ’s strength so that we may be able to bear fruit and be a blessing to others. Help us to serve with humility and grace. Amen.

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