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Dr. Jacqueline Lapsley Named Next President of Union Presbyterian Seminary

Lapsley will be the first woman to lead Union Presbyterian Seminary in its 211-year history.

The Board of Trustees has named Dr. Jacqueline E. Lapsley to be the eighth president of Union Presbyterian Seminary.

As the first woman to lead the Seminary in its 211-year history, Lapsley is used to being a trailblazer. She was the first woman to serve as Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Princeton Theological Seminary, a position she has held since 2018. She joined the Princeton faculty in 1998. A noted Old Testament scholar who has authored or co-edited a number of works, including A Women’s Bible Commentary, Lapsley earned her Ph.D. from Emory University, an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, an M.A. from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her A.B. from Smith College. “My father is an alumnus of Union,” she said, “and Brian Blount has been a cherished colleague for years. I’m delighted to be succeeding President Blount as he retires; he has positioned Union so well for the future.”

Co-chairs of the search committee Dr. Steve Allred and Rev. Lori Archer Raible said, “As Union Presbyterian Seminary is poised to engage the many significant challenges facing theological education, Dr. Lapsley brings a depth of administrative experience, a deep devotion to Christian education, and an abiding commitment to the Church. These leadership gifts will help us build a stronger community across both the Richmond and Charlotte campuses as we strive to be the Church in the World.”

A cradle Presbyterian, Lapsley’s bold vision for theological education is rooted in the Reformed tradition and intentionally focused on diversity. “The diversity of the world God creates, redeems, and sustains must be reflected on our campuses in order to shape leaders for the world God so loves,” noted Lapsley. Dr. Rodney Sadler, Director of UPSem’s Center for Social Justice and Reconciliation, declared “she is a woman of God who has a proven track record of work in racial atonement with the aptitude and attitude to lead us to a greater focus on social justice and diversity.”

Rev. Dr. Christopher Edmonston, Board of Trustees Chair for Union, agreed: “Her distinguished scholarship and fresh perspective bring an inspired and wonderful direction to the Seminary. She is the right leader for the years to come. I want to thank the search committee for their faithful work.”

Lapsley will begin her duties on July 1, 2023. President Brian K. Blount retires on June 30, 2023, after sixteen years at the helm of the Seminary. Blount added, “I have known Dr. Lapsley for two decades. She is poised to continue her exemplary service in theological education at UPSem. I am elated the search committee chose her and the Board named her as the next president.”

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