Volume 52, No. 32
Duke professor named Candler dean
by Elaine Justice
Russell Richey, professor of church history at the Duke Divinity School, has been named dean of the Candler School of Theology, one of 13 seminaries of the United Methodist Church.
"Dr. Richey's commitment to and knowledge of the United Methodist Church, his strong administrative abilities, his expertise in theological education, and his excellence as a scholar of Wesleyan and Methodist studies make him well qualified to lead Candler at this stage of its history," said President Bill Chace.
A distinguished scholar of Methodism in America, Richey's books and editorial leadership of major projects on American Methodist history "have given him prominence not only among religion historians, but also among leaders in the United Methodist Church," said Provost Rebecca Chopp, also a member of the Candler faculty.
Richey served as associate dean for academic programs at Duke Divinity School from 1986-97. Prior to that, he taught for 17 years at Drew University's theological and graduate schools, and served for three years as assistant to the president at Drew.
An ordained elder in the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, Richey has been active both on the regional and national levels, most recently as a member of the General Commission on Archives and History, as seminary liaison to the General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns, and on the editorial advisory board of Quarterly Review.
With teaching and research specialties in American Christianity and American Methodism, Richey has been co-director of a major study on United Methodism and American culture, funded by the Lilly Endowment (1993-98). He also served as editor of the first and fourth volumes from that project, titled Connectionalism (1997) and Questions for the 21st Century Church (1999).
Among his other books are: Early American Methodism (1991), Perspectives on American Methodism (1993), Reimagining Denominationalism (1994), The Methodist Conference in America (1996) and The People(s) Called Methodist (1998).
A native of Asheville, N.C., Richey holds a bachelor's degree from Wesleyan University, a bachelor's of divinity from Union Theological Seminary, and master's and doctoral degrees from Princeton University.
Richey, who begins his new appointment July 1, succeeds Kevin LaGree, who left Candler last spring to become president of United Methodist-affiliated Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa.