Statement from the President Announcing His Retirement

Dear Members of the Seminary Community,

After a long season of prayerful discernment, I have informed the Board of Trustees that I plan to retire in 2023. I’ll continue in office until a new president arrives, hopefully prior to June of 2023.

News Feature Craig and Dawne Barnes
President M. Craig Barnes and Dawne Barnes

By that time, I will have served as your president for over ten years. It has been the greatest honor of my career to work toward the mission of our seminary, and Dawne and I treasure being a part of this dynamic community of faith and scholarship.

During our time together the Seminary has made great strides toward our aspirations of covenant community. We have significantly enhanced the racial and gender diversity of both our student body and the faculty. We’ve worked together to respond to racial injustice, political polarization, rapid social change, faculty retirements, financial volatility, old buildings in need of renovation, and a global pandemic. We’ve built new innovations in theological education like the Farminary, the new academic centers, and grant-funded programs to help us better serve those in ministry. And we’ve rebuilt our curriculum to make it more relevant to a changing church and society.

We have also confessed our historical failures as a school through the slavery audit, and the Board has made tangible commitments of repentance that are well under way. Our goal has been to start the hard work that can lead to a new era for our diverse community. But we clearly have a long way to go.

Along the way over these years we have worshipped, learned, served, and developed lifelong friendships. We have also at times argued and struggled to be the community of our aspirations. But the community that binds us together embraces both the hard and joyful days of our life together.

I will always be grateful to our extraordinary faculty, Board, students, alumni, and incredibly hard-working staff who I have been honored to work beside. Every year when a new graduating class receives their degrees I know that it took all of you to help form them into leaders who are ready to be of greater service to the church, academy, and other fields of public service.

Princeton Theological Seminary was one of the world’s preeminent theological schools long before I arrived. It has been an incredible honor to help it navigate its way into a new day of service to a changing church and society. And I believe God is already preparing your next president to lead you to a future filled with hope. In the meantime, there is a lot of work to be done, and I will be focused on helping us continue to move into that hopeful future.

When I began my service as your president, I stated often that I took this job because I love the Seminary. As I approach the end of that service I know the Seminary far better than when I began, and I love it even more. That’s because I keep seeing signs of God’s faithful love for our covenant community. And that never retires.

Faithfully yours,

M. Craig Barnes
President, Princeton Theological Seminary

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Associate Pastor, Faith Lutheran Church, Bismarck, ND

Sylvia Bull, Class of 2015

“My field education placements lifted up my gifts for ordained ministry, and the dual-degree program helped me develop the skills for ministry.”