Dean Harold Attridge to step down following 2011-12 academic year

Dean Harold Attridge will step down from his leadership position at Yale Divinity School on June 30, 2012, the end of his second five-year term as dean.

AttridgeIn a May 3 letter to the YDS community, Attridge said,   “Several colleagues have been asking lately about my long-term plans.  I can now announce that I definitely will step down from the deanship at the end of the next (2011-12) academic year, a decision that I discussed with President Levin last week.

“It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve as your dean during the last nine years, and I look forward to one more year of working with you to continue our efforts to make YDS and its partners the leading venue for theological education in this country and around the world.”

During his final year as dean, Attridge plans to focus his energies on completing initiatives that have been undertaken in the last phase of the current capital campaign.  He will pay special attention to funding scholarships for Roman Catholic students and for students who are involved in the joint program in religion and ecology with the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.  He will also be seeking funds to support the supervised ministries and international exchange programs.  Additionally, he will be working with the faculty to make critical faculty appointments in core fields such as theology, Bible, and ethics.

Attridge will take a sabbatical year in 2012-13 and plans to return to teaching at YDS the following year.

Yale University President Richard Levin said, “The Divinity School and the University are fortunate to have the services of such a loyal and deeply devoted leader, and I am grateful to Harry for giving me ample time to carry out a search for his successor.  I know we all look forward to working with him in his final year as Dean.

“Harry’s scholarship, devotion, loyalty, good humor, and deeply caring nature have made him a special leader of the community.  He has led the recruitment of many outstanding new members of the faculty, and he has overseen the completion and rededication of the Divinity School’s beautiful buildings.

Levin said that in the coming weeks he will announce information on formation of a search committee to identify a successor to Attridge.

Attridge began his tenure as dean in 2002 at a time when YDS was nearing completion of a multi-million dollar renovation of Sterling Divinity Quadrangle.  With the bulk of the renovations completed in 2003, Attridge has concentrated on recruiting faculty, increasing student financial aid, engaging YDS publicly in issues of importance to the wider society, leading the School’s $38 million capital campaign, and broadening the school’s interdisciplinary capacities.  In 2009, when an endowed deanship was created, he was named the first Reverend Henry L. Slack Dean of Yale Divinity School.

Attridge came to YDS in 1997 as professor of New Testament after 12 years on the faculty at the University of Notre Dame, including six years as the dean of the College of Arts and Letters.  Previous to that, he taught for eight years at the Perkins School of Theology in Dallas.


Posted: 05/04/2011