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Laura Mendenhall concluding Columbia Seminary presidency in summer 2009, will return to Texas


Decatur, GA. Laura Mendenhall announced today that she will conclude her tenure as president of Columbia Theological Seminary at the end of the 2008-2009 academic year. Mendenhall and her husband, Chuck, will return next summer to Texas to be with family. She also intends to continue her ministry as senior philanthropy advisor for the Texas Presbyterian Foundation, an agency for the Synod of the Sun. Speaking on behalf of the Board of Trustees, its chair, William Scheu, said, “Laura Mendenhall has invigorated and strengthened this seminary. Her enthusiasm for it—and for theological education throughout the church—has been contagious. She has infused this institution with vitality and broadened its perspectives on teaching, leadership, and the church as a whole. She will be leaving Columbia strong and healthy. We were surprised by Laura’s decision, but we are grateful that she will continue to lead us through this full academic year. Columbia is in a new and better place—truly on the cutting edge of education for the church. God has blessed us with her leadership, and we trust with confidence God’s call to her and Chuck, and to that person God is already calling to Columbia as its next president.” Mendenhall became the seminary’s eighth president in August, 2000. During her administration, the seminary has sustained strong enrollment in degree and lifelong learning programs, and has seen unprecedented growth in fund raising, both capital gifts and annual giving. Under her leadership Columbia has undertaken investments in information technology and in new facilities, including a student residence hall, which will be ready for occupancy in summer 2009. In a letter to members of the seminary community and alumni/ae, Mendenhall said, “I look forward to working hard through this school year. I intend to cross over home plate next summer covered in sweat and dust and cheering on the next batter! “When I think of Columbia, my heart is filled with gratitude: to the trustees for their vision of the partnership between the seminary and the church; to the faculty and staff for the exhilaration of working together to prepare pastors and leaders for Christ's ministry; to the students in whom I see the vitality of the future of Christ's ministry; to alumni/ae who welcomed me into their wonderful seminary; to donors who have made me a more faithful disciple of Jesus Christ. “I believe this is a time of true strength for Columbia, and I am announcing my plans now so that the seminary can call its next president out of this strength. I will always be grateful for the privilege of serving here.” Columbia Theological Seminary, located in Decatur, Georgia, was established in 1828 and is one of 10 theological institutions of the Presbyterian Church (USA). 

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