President Joel N. Lohr and Hartford Seminary are pleased to announce that Dr. Gabriella Lettini will take on the new position of Dean and Vice President of Academic Affairs and Administration starting in June. She will also join the Seminary’s Core Faculty as Professor of Theological Ethics.
Currently, Dr. Lettini is Dean of Faculty and Chief Academic Officer at Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley, CA. She is also the Aurelia Henry Reinhardt Professor of Theological Ethics at Starr King, which is a member of the Graduate Theological Union.
As Dean and Vice President at Hartford Seminary, Dr. Lettini will be the most senior administrator after the President. She will play a significant role as a collaborative leader and a strategic partner in shaping the future of Hartford Seminary and in leading its operations and administration.
“I could not be more happy that we have attracted such a talented scholar, teacher, and administrator,” President Lohr said. “Dr. Lettini’s unique approach to theological education and administration, deeply rooted in a framework that integrates faith and justice, will push Hartford Seminary to the next level, propelling us to flourish even more. Not to be overlooked, and so important for us, are her past achievements in recruiting and supporting a diversity of Islamic and Jewish scholars, teachers, and students from a wide diversity of perspectives, developing interreligious engagement at the intersections of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity.”
A native of Italy, Dr. Lettini earned her undergraduate degree at the Ginnasio-Liceo Classico Massimo D’ Azeglio, received an M.Div. from the Facoltà Valdese di Teologia in Rome, and was ordained as a pastor in the Waldensian Church of Italy. In the U.S., she has earned a Certificate of Theological Studies, a Master of Philosophy, and a Ph.D., all from Union Theological Seminary in New York.
At Starr King, in 2005, she founded a new program called the Master of Arts in Social Change, and has served on numerous boards and committees at the school, at the Graduate Theological Union, and outside of it. She is a past president of the American Waldensian Society.
Dr. Lettini has a special interest in the “moral injury” of veterans, co-chairing the Moral Injury and Recovery Unit of the American Academy of Religion and writing the book Soul Repair: Recovering from Moral Injury after War with Dr. Rita Nakashima Brock. She is also a co-editor of the Italian edition of the Dictionary of Feminist Theologies.
At Hartford Seminary, Dr. Lettini will serve as Dean of Faculty as well as overseeing the academic affairs and operations of the campus. As a member of faculty, she will teach courses in theology, ethics, and areas related to liberationist, feminist, womanist, and mujerista theologies, spirituality and social justice, and movies and religion.
“I think that this society, our communities, our world, need well-prepared, empathetic, skilled spiritual leaders of moral courage who can tend to people in their religious spaces and also operate wisely and compassionately in religiously plural contexts,” Dr. Lettini said. “For these reasons, I have dedicated my life to theological education. I have always appreciated Hartford Seminary’s commitment to interreligious life and learning, peace-making, and leadership development. I am honored by this appointment and look forward to being a member of Hartford Seminary’s vibrant community.”