Board of Trustees Letter: May 22nd [Revised]

Dear United Lutheran Seminary Family and Supporters:

On May 16-17, the United Lutheran Seminary (ULS) Board of Trustees met on the Philadelphia campus for its regularly scheduled meeting. The acting president and the board would like to share the following updates and actions: 

  • As previously announced, the board voted unanimously to name Dr. Richard Green as interim president, effective June 1.
  • The board elected the following officers, effective June 1:
    • Chair: The Rev. Dr. Peter Boehringer, completing the term of Dr. Elise Brown.
    • Secretary: Ms. Karen Arnold, completing the term of Pastor Cheryl Meinschein.
    • Vice Chair Ms. Cheryl Williams and Treasurer Mr. Paul Wangerin will remain in their current roles.
  • The board has four standing committees whose chairs are members of the Executive Committee:
    • Dr. Connie Mentzer was named chair of the Governance, Infrastructure and Planning Committee.  
    • Effective July 1, Dr. Kris Hanson-Kiefer will become chair of the Enrollment Services and Student Life Committee, replacing Pastor Julia Fraser when her term on the ULS board ends on June 30.
  • Additional board members continuing in their roles as committee chairs or as members of the executive committee are:
    • Academic Leadership and Development: Dr. Tommie Robinson Jr.
    • Resource Development and Financial Management: Mr. David Russell
    • Bishop James Dunlop will return to his seat on the board and will rejoin the executive committee as Member-At-Large. We thank Bishop Richard Graham for representing region 8 while Bishop Dunlop served as acting president.
  • The board established a permanent Diversity Committee to work in coordination with the ULS Diversity Task Force. This committee is chaired by Bishop Guy Erwin, and its members include the board’s new chair, Rev. Dr. Peter Boehringer, and the board’s Urban Theological Institute representative, Dr. Mark Kelly Tyler.
    • The committee’s immediate priorities are securing and maintaining ULS’s status as a Reconciling in Christ institution; addressing long-standing issues of racism; and creating a healing, welcoming and safe environment for all at ULS.
    • As chair of this committee, Bishop Erwin also will hold a seat on the board’s executive committee.
  • As agreed following the listening sessions in March, the board dedicated time toward its own development, focusing on continued and better understanding of each member’s individual and collective roles in achieving the mission of ULS. The board is committed to ensuring board development occurs regularly, beginning with diversity training for board members at its September meeting.
  • As reported in the bishop’s letter, the board and representatives from the faculty, senior staff and the student body developed the following ULS mission statement:

Unifying, Learning, Serving: United Lutheran Seminary is a welcoming and diverse learning community equipping people to proclaim the living Gospel for a changing church and world.

  • The chief communications officer, in partnership with others, will lead the expansion of this statement into a vision statement.
  • The board approved Dr. Mark Oldenburg as Steck-Miller Professor of the Art of Worship, Emeritus. 
  • The board appointed Dr. Crystal Hall as assistant professor of Biblical Studies starting July 1.
  • The board approved full-tuition scholarships for all full-time entranced ELCA distance learning students.
    • Tuition is $18,000 for full-time students and $1,800 per course for part-time students.
  • It changed the name of the Gettysburg Endowment Foundation to the United Lutheran Seminary Endowment Foundation.
  • It maintained the faculty permanence committee with its current membership.
  • The board approved the board of directors for the Seminary Ridge Historic Preservation Foundation.
  • The board decided that the executive committee will meet monthly and the board will meet bi-monthly for at least the next several months to support Dr. Green and ULS’ work toward achieving its mission.
  • The board expressed its enormous appreciation to both the anonymous donor of one of the largest gifts an ELCA seminary has ever received, as well as to those who shepherded the relationship with that donor for many years.
  • One of the board’s most joyous responsibilities was approving the first class of students to be awarded degrees from ULS in advance of commencement the following day.

As ULS looks toward the future, there is much for which to be thankful. We will continue to implement changes and improvements to enhance the educational experience for our students, faculty, administration and alumni, and we ask for your continued prayers as we do so.

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.

I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end.

Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you and I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing.

And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road although I may know nothing about it.

Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death, I will not fear, for you are ever with me and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

Thomas Merton

If you have questions or concerns that remain unanswered you can always submit them on the ULS Community Concerns page.