Welcoming President Jonathan Lee Walton to Princeton Seminary - Princeton Theological Seminary
President Jonathan Lee Walton.

As the Rev. Dr. Jonathan Lee Walton, Princeton Theological Seminary’s eighth president, joins the Seminary community in his new role, he brings with him a joyful message of gratitude.

For President Walton and his wife Cecily, this moment is a homecoming as much as it is a new beginning — President Walton earned his PhD and MDiv degrees from the Seminary in 2006 and 2002 respectively, and the Waltons have maintained strong ties to the Seminary since then. Walton delivered the Geddes W. Hanson lecture on campus in 2019, when a portrait of the late Hanson with his wife Carrie was unveiled. Walton is also a former member of the Seminary’s Board of Trustees.

Learn more about Walton here

The Seminary community has embraced Walton and his ability to guide Princeton Seminary into a future where Christians will serve the church and the world in traditional ministry settings and in bold new contexts. Kenda Creasy Dean, Mary D. Synnott Professor of Youth, Church, and Culture and a member of the Presidential Search Committee, says “The Seminary is in the middle of an unparalleled season of generational change — unlike any season I’ve seen in the 25 years I’ve been here. We are handing over the keys to a new generation of leaders, whether they are students, faculty, or churches. We are in a very pointed historical moment that calls us to reimagine religious institutional life. This is not a threat; it’s a summons — and Dr. Walton’s experience, imagination, and energy make me think he is the leader called ‘for such a time as this.’”

MDiv candidate Wesley Rowell shares, “During our final interviews in NYC, Dr. Walton was asked ‘What can be done about declining church membership, declining seminary enrollment and the decline in Christianity?’ And his answer was: ‘I know those are the facts, but I think we’re asking the wrong question. Loneliness is increasing, depression is increasing, addiction is increasing, suicide is increasing. The question should be, how can the church rise up to meet these needs? There’s never been a more urgent time to be a seminary.’ I knew right then and there that Jonathan Lee Walton would be the next president of Princeton Theological Seminary.”

Scholars from other institutions speak highly of Walton. Laura Nasrallah, Buckingham Professor of New Testament Criticism and Interpretation of Yale University, says “I have had the privilege of seeing Jonathan Walton’s tremendous energy and intellectual and leadership skills in the pulpit, in the meeting room, in the lecture hall, and at the dinner table with family, colleagues, and friends. Princeton Seminary is fortunate to welcome him into its midst. His books — one on contemporary American religion, [the] Black church, and media studies, and another that displays sensitive and ethical biblical interpretation — show an energetic mind that jibes well with Princeton Seminary’s past strengths, that mixes well with Princeton Seminary’s already vibrant and impactful faculty, and that will lead Princeton Seminary in exciting new directions. And Princeton Seminary has the bonus good fortune of being able to welcome the entire Walton family, with their hospitality and creativity.”

President Walton and his wife in front of a Presidential painting

Cecily Cline Walton and President Jonathan Lee Walton

Eddie S. Glaude, James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor at Princeton University, says “Dr. Walton understands, in a way that’s really transformative, the role and place of theological education in our current moment. Of course, it’s bound up with how we train ministers and the like, but it’s also how we understand the moral and ethical underpinnings of our way of life.”

We invite you to join us in welcoming President Walton and his entire family — wife Cecily, daughter Zora Neale, and sons Elijah Mays and Baldwin Cline — to the Princeton Seminary community.