Dean Ragsdale Leaving EDS

The Very Rev. Katherine Hancock Ragsdale announces her resignation as dean and president of Episcopal Divinity School:

I write to tell you that I have informed EDS’s board of trustees of my intent not to request a renewal of my contract when it expires at the end of June 2015. Further, I have asked them, if possible, to expedite the process of naming a successor so that I may explore new opportunities. Of course I will do everything I can to insure a smooth transition.

I am very proud of our accomplishments over the last 5 years: major renovations to our physical plant and technology systems; increased giving from alumni and friends as well as new foundation grants; improvements in our distributive learning program to improve the experience for both faculty and students; transformative work within the Boston Theological Institute; the creation of the Mission Institute; and the preliminary stages of a capital campaign; and new partnerships with Bloy House and Chung Chi College in Hong Kong as well as preliminary conversations regarding cross registration for on-line and on-site courses, course sharing, and resource sharing possibilities among Episcopal seminaries, progressive theological schools, and diocesan schools, as well as small colleges and major universities (to insure a future for EDS, and theological education, that is both sustainable and relevant).

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The seminary’s board of trustees thanks Dean Ragsdale for her service:

Since her appointment over five years ago, President Ragsdale has served EDS with vigor and a commitment to excellence. President Ragsdale undertook a deep and real challenge when she began her tenure at the helm of EDS, including arriving at a difficult time in the wake of the sale of iconic property to secure the institution’s financial future, and during a time of challenge in the broader field of theological education. She steered the development of a strategic plan that now guides us, managed complex new relationships with our campus partner Lesley University, updated our technology infrastructure, our physical plant, attracted key talent to our staff and faculty and broadened our financial base of support from both grants and private donors. She charted a course toward long-term sustainability and academic excellence.

In the midst of broader questions about the future of theological education, our community has faced challenges in recent years. Yet even in the darkness of challenges to the field of theological education, we can see the light of God’s grace shine through our work. Just this year, not only did we welcome our largest-ever class of Distributive Learning students, but also our faculty and students continued to be recognized for their prestigious work and major funders continue to invest in our vision. Due in part to President Ragsdale’s leadership, we have much to be proud of at EDS. We are leaders in educational programs that are enlivened by theologies of liberation, especially the many voices of feminist, congregational, ecumenical, and global studies.

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