Pacific School of Religion’s Board of Trustees today voted Rev. David Vásquez- Levy the school’s next President. He will be one of only four persons of Latino/a descent currently serving as president of an accredited seminary in the US and its territories.
“PSR has adopted a bold new vision to prepare spiritually rooted, theologically informed leaders for social transformation,” said Julien Phillips, PSR Board Chair and co-founder of the education non- profit Partners in School Innovation. “David’s experience at the intersection of the church, the academy, and the broader world of social changemaking equips him uniquely well to lead PSR.”
Vásquez-Levy graduated from Texas Lutheran University, earned an MDiv degree from Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, and holds a DMin degree in Preaching from the Association of Chicago Theological Schools. He went on to become Pastor at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Batesville, Indiana. Since 2001, he has served as Campus Pastor at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.
“We are grateful for Pastor David’s commitment to the college’s mission over these 13 years; for his care for students, faculty, and staff; and for his pastoral leadership here at Luther,” President Paula Carlson said in her welcome speech to Luther’s community. “We will miss [him] and we wish him Godspeed as he begins his new work in California.”
In response to the unprecedented 2008 Postville Raid in which 400 people were arrested, Vásquez-Levy co-led the Postville Relief Effort, providing those impacted with food, housing, and legal resources, while also advocating for the implementation of more humane immigration policies. This work led him to become a much sought-after voice in immigration advocacy, including speaking at a congressional hearing on immigration policy, working closely with Lutheran Immigration & Refugee Services, and attending two White House briefings.
“In this radically changing world, theological education needs new thinking,” faculty and presidential search committee member Boyung Lee said. “I see David as already living into that changed reality.”
When asked his thoughts on the next steps for PSR, he spoke about his excitement in joining the school in its task of re-imagining theological education.
“The school is ready to join with a broad spectrum of partners to educate leaders who have passion and resilience in a world that is in desperate need of good news," he said.
Rev. Vásquez-Levy will be assuming office on January 1, 2015.
A multidenominational Christian seminary in Berkeley, California, Pacific School of Religion has been preparing bold leaders for historic and emerging faith communities since 1866. PSR’s gradu- ates are known for innovative ministries of compassion and justice around the world—in urban and rural parishes, on city streets and college campuses, in the arts, public policy, and many other fields. PSR is a member of the Graduate Theological Union (GTU), an interfaith consortium of seminaries and institutes in the Bay Area.