Frank Yamada named president of McCormick Theological Seminary

Chicago, May 6, 2011—McCormick Theological Seminary’s Board of Trustees has elected Frank M. Yamada as its tenth president. Dr. Yamada, who will assume the presidency on July 1, succeeds the Rev. Dr. Cynthia M. Campbell, who is retiring.

“With Frank Yamada as our next President, we have a tremendous opportunity to re-imagine theological education for and by a new generation of church leaders,” said John Anderson, the Board’s chair. “He is tremendously enthusiastic about the future of theological education and new ways to deliver it. He is passionate about scholarship and research, is deeply committed to students, and this is a great opportunity for a new generation of leadership not just for McCormick but for the church, as well,” he said.

            Yamada, 44, who will be the first Asian American to lead a Presbyterian (U.S.A.) seminary, is currently an Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible at McCormick and its Director of the Center for Asian American Ministries.

When she became president of McCormick almost 17 years ago, Dr. Campbell was the first female president of a Presbyterian (U.S.A.) seminary.

            “I am honored and truly humbled to have been chosen as the tenth president of McCormick Theological Seminary,” Yamada said. “McCormick has a long and rich history of being on the cutting-edge of change in theological education. I believe that we will be leaders in that change. This is what we have always done. This is what we will continue to do. This is who we are.”

McCormick is “moving into an exciting new chapter and I am eager for us to step into this next stage faithfully and boldly. These are challenging times but we are poised to do something great. It is in this type of climate that God calls individuals and communities, to face the future with courage ‘for such a time as this’ (Esther 4:14),” he said.

Prior to joining McCormick’s faculty in 2008, Yamada was an Associate Professor at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill. A graduate of Southern California College, an Assemblies of God school, he earned his Masters of Divinity and Doctor of Philosophy from Princeton Theological Seminary, where he studied Hebrew Bible with an emphasis on hermeneutics, feminist theory and culturally-contextual biblical interpretation.

Yamada was an editor of and contributor to The Peoples’ Bible, a cross-cultural study Bible from Augsburg Fortress Press (2008) and is the author of Configurations of Rape in the Hebrew Bible: A Literary Analysis of Three Rape Narratives (Peter Lang, 2008).

His writing has appeared in several collections, Bible dictionaries, lectionary volumes, websites, and periodicals including The Christian Century. He is a recognized and sought after speaker and consultant on issues of diversity and cross-cultural theological education. He has provided leadership through the Association of Theological Schools, within the academy, and in the local and national church. He is a minister of word and sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

            Anderson described McCormick’s presidential search committee’s work as a “robust and comprehensive search process” that in its final stages involved feedback from the seminary’s faculty, students, alumni, staff, and trustees. The committee was unanimous in its recommendation that McCormick’s board elect Dr. Yamada. Anderson added that the search process benefited from Dr. Campbell’s support, insight and strong legacy of leadership.

Founded in 1829, McCormick is a seminary of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). It is a progressive leader within the Reformed tradition and is deeply committed to fostering scholarship and ministry that are ecumenical, urban and cross-cultural.