Search committee members offer assessments of new dean


In their search for a new dean, members of a special committee appointed by President Levin reached inside and outside Yale and solicited input from the broader YDS community, including alumni.  Chairing the committee was John J. Collins, the Holmes Professor of Old Testament Criticism and Interpretation.  Committee members attached a number of descriptive phrases to the new dean: “his energy and affability,” “first rate administrator and scholar who embodies a spirit of appreciation for traditions and celebration of plurality,” “blends an active commitment to the church with a passion for teaching and scholarship,” “has a well-earned reputation as an energetic and creative administrator with a talent for facilitating the work of others,” “a love for and commitment to the church and its diversity,” “an engaging, dynamic person who works superbly with other people.”

Following are their observations.

Teresa Berger, professor of liturgical studies

I warmly welcome Greg Sterling’s appointment as the next dean of Yale Divinity School.  He first really captivated and energized me during his presentation to the search committee; and I have since grown truly to appreciate his deep commitment to and vision for theological education, his consummate administrative skills—honed while also maintaining extensive scholarly work—and his gracious and open presence. I look forward to Greg bringing these and other gifts to Yale Divinity School and the wider University.

John Collins, Holmes Professor of Old Testament Criticism and Interpretation

Greg Sterling comes to us from Notre Dame, where he is currently dean of the Graduate School. He has held several administrative positions there over the last ten years. His Ph. D. is in New Testament from the GTU, and his scholarly work is in Hellenistic Judaism, especially Philo of Alexandria. He comes from the Churches of Christ, and has served a church in Indiana until he was prevented from doing so by his administrative responsibilities.  He has a well-earned reputation as an energetic and creative administrator with a talent for facilitating the work of others.  He is married, with two grown daughters from a previous marriage.

Carlos M. N. Eire, T. Lawrason Riggs Professor of History and Religious Studies at Yale University

Gregory Sterling has proven himself as a scholar, teacher, preacher, and administrator.  Our committee was most impressed by his energy and affability, and his deep commitment to excellence in theological education.  Yale is very fortunate to have Dean Sterling at the helm at the Sterling Divinity Quadrangle.   

Bruce Gordon, Titus Street Professor of Ecclesiastical History

Greg Sterling is an engaging, dynamic person who works superbly with other people, encouraging them to find their place in the community. He knows very well the landscape of theological education in America and articulates a vision for YDS as it goes forward.

Lamin Sanneh, D. Willis James Professor of Missions and World Christianity and Professor of History

Changes in American society have altered the standard priorities of Churches and denominations, and the wind of change sweeping over the world has brought with it the return of religion and the demand for new and diverse forms of training and scholarship. In the midst of these developments, it is with great anticipation that we look forward to Greg Sterling's leadership of the School. His experience, scholarship, engagement and commitment to theological education augurs well for Yale and for our community at YDS.

Kathryn Tanner, Frederick Marquand Professor of Systematic Theology

We’re thrilled that Greg will be joining us! He has all the gifts to be a great dean. He’s wonderfully thoughtful about theological education, innovative in his vision for the school, and someone with the proven abilities to get things done. On all three counts, for example, I was very impressed with his successful efforts, as dean of the graduate school at Notre Dame, to improve minority representation in the doctoral programs of the theology department.

Leonora Tubbs Tisdale, Clement-Muehl Professor of Homiletics

Greg Sterling brings to the dean’s position a blend of solid academic achievement and leadership, a love for and commitment to the church and its diversity, and a proven track record as a creative and collegial administrator in a major university setting.  He is both a visionary leader, and one who knows how to work cooperatively with others to make vision become reality.  I look forward to his leadership in our midst! 

Thomas Troeger, J. Edward and Ruth Cox Lanz Professor of Christian Communication

I am excited about President Levin’s choice of Greg Sterling as the next dean at YDS.  Sterling blends an active commitment to the church with a passion for teaching and scholarship.  When our search committee interviewed him, he came across as attentive, personable, and savvy about institutional and financial realities.   I have high hopes that he will provide the kind of keen and dedicated leadership that Harry Attridge has embodied during his tenure as dean.  

Miroslav Volf, Henry B. Wright Professor of Theology

On the committee, we all knew that Dean Attridge would be a very, very hard act to follow. But I am excited about Greg Sterling. He is a first rate administrator and scholar, who embodies a spirit of appreciation for Christian traditions and celebration of plurality so characteristic of YDS, and who promises to pursue vigorously its stated mission, “to foster knowledge and love of God.” He will keep the ties to the communities of faith in this country and abroad strong, he will promote interdisciplinary conversations with the rest of the University, and he will work to strengthen the relevance of YDS to the debates about the public role of religion domestically and globally.


Date Posted: Friday, March 2, 2012 - 6:38pm