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Rev. Dr. David Vásquez-Levy serves as the President of Pacific School of Religion. A committed pastor, a nationally recognized leader, and a sought after speaker, Dr. Vásquez-Levy’s leadership at the intersection of faith, higher education, and social change equips him to lead PSR into its ambitious vision of preparing theologically and spiritually rooted leaders for social transformation.
The United States is experiencing an unprecedented level of mestizaje, or “mixing”—not just across races but also across ethnicities, genders, politics, and national identities—and PSR’s vision recognizes that our various faith traditions must be present at these crossroads. Dr. Vásquez-Levy is the product of this contemporary mestizaje. He was raised in Guatemala in an interreligious household—Jewish and Christian—and has lived, studied, and worked in four countries. From his own experience, academic work, and religious calling, he is passionate about serving with those who are “on the move”—congregations in transition, students discerning and living out their callings, as well as recent immigrants.
Vásquez-Levy is a regular speaker and preacher at regional and national events, addressing a wide variety of themes including migration and faith, youth and young adult development, biblical fluency, the role of faith communities in higher education, and other topics. Following the devastating May 12, 2008 immigration raid in Postville, Iowa—at the time the largest single-site immigration raid in U.S. history—Vásquez-Levy served as part of the Postville Relief Effort core team. His leadership included coordination of resources, humanitarian assistance, legal support, spiritual and mental health counseling, family reunification, advocacy, and long-term community re-development. This work has led him to serve as a consultant on various documentaries and contribute a faith perspective to the national conversation on immigration—including speaking at a congressional briefing and participating in two immigration consultations at the White House.
Vásquez-Levy is the author of various publications that explore migration stories in sacred texts and in people’s lives, and he has taught courses and led international study and service trips in Mexico, Guatemala, Chile, Ghana, Israel, Palestine, and Jordan. His international experience has also included refugee resettlement work in Canada and studies at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, Germany.
Vásquez-Levy has served at First Lutheran Church in Cincinnati, Ohio; St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Batesville, Indiana; and as part of a co-equal team of pastors leading the Office for College Ministries at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. He is married to Dr. Karla Suomala, who teaches in the Religion Department at Luther College, and they have two children, Dawit and Meheret.
Bachelor of Science, Computer Science, Texas Lutheran University
Master of Divinity, Lutheran School of Theology
Doctor of Ministry in Preaching, Lutheran School of Theology