In its 185th year as a vibrant center for religious and theological learning, Hartford Seminary will inaugurate its 11th President, Dr. Joel N. Lohr, at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018.
The inauguration will take place at the UConn School of Law, which was Hartford Seminary’s campus from the mid-1920s through the 1970s. Students, alumni, Trustees, faculty, staff, and friends will take part in the ceremony in the law school’s William F. Starr Hall Reading Room, the Seminary’s former library. A reception will follow in Hartford Seminary’s Meeting Room.
President Lohr is an award-winning author, scholar, and passionate leader in interreligious relations and higher education. Before his appointment at Hartford Seminary, he was Dean of Religious Life at University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif., where he held academic appointments in the School of Education and the Department of Religious Studies.
A committee of the Board of Trustees began the process of looking for a new president in the summer of 2017 after Dr. Heidi Hadsell, who had served as President since 2000, announced her retirement. Trustee James K. Robertson Jr. led the search and has worked closely with President Lohr over the last few months as he has assumed leadership of the Seminary.
“Hartford Seminary is a unique institution, and Dr. Lohr is the right person to lead us forward,” Robertson said. “He is highly qualified, a great role model for our students, and has already made a significant impact on the community.”
Since arriving in July, President Lohr has devoted himself to learning about Hartford Seminary and making connections in Greater Hartford.
“My first few months have only confirmed what I suspected: Hartford Seminary is a unique, dynamic leader in interfaith graduate education, an institution that honors its heritage by charting new paths. What I have also learned is that our people—faculty, staff, students, and alumni—are a trailblazing group of intelligent, thoughtful, and caring risk-takers, those who are committed—to the core—to making our world a better and more hopeful place through dialogue and peacemaking. The future of Hartford Seminary could not be brighter!”
President Lohr is a first-generation college graduate, the son of Dutch immigrants to Canada. He earned a BA in Religious Studies (Trinity Western University, Vancouver, Canada), an MA in Theological Research (University of Durham, England) and a Ph.D. in Religion and Theology (University of Durham, England). Following his doctoral work, he completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Toronto.
President Lohr is an accomplished scholar and teacher who will join Hartford Seminary’s faculty as Professor of Bible and Interreligious Dialogue. His research has focused on the Bible, specifically the Torah/Pentateuch, as well as Jewish-Christian relations and dialogue, Abrahamic faith dialogue, and Intercultural Competence, Diversity, and Leadership in Higher Education. He has published ten books, both academic and popular. His first monograph, Chosen and Unchosen: Conceptions of Election in the Pentateuch and Jewish-Christian Interpretation, was awarded the R.B.Y. Scott Award by the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies for “outstanding book in the areas of Hebrew Bible and/or the Ancient Near East.” All of his publications, both technical and popular, tie into his love and passion for dialogue.