Emory Report
June 12, 2006
Volume 58, Number 32


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June 12 , 2006
Love to be Candler's first female dean

BY Elaine Justice

Jan Love, currently chief executive of the Women’s Division of the United Methodist Church’s (UMC) General Board of Global Ministries, was announced last month as the next dean of the Candler School of Theology. Love, who will begin her tenure Jan. 1, 2007, will be the first woman dean in the history of Candler, one of 13 United Methodist seminaries.

“As one of the most widely recognized United Methodist leaders on the ecumenical, interfaith and global stage, Jan Love is the right person at the right time to lead Candler,” said President Jim Wagner. “The school is poised to be a world leader in theological education and religious studies, a molder of the church’s social conscience and an agent of reconciliation and change as it serves the United Methodist Church in particular, as well as the broader church in the world.”

“Jan Love brings a rare combination of widely recognized scholarly achievement, administrative expertise and broad ecumenical and international experience to Candler,” said Provost Earl Lewis. “She will help Candler achieve its potential of being recognized as the premier school of theology in the country, building on the strong scholarly base of Emory’s Graduate Division of Religion as well as Candler’s 92-year affiliation with the church.”

“I’m honored that a globally recognized theology school has invited me to be its leader,” Love said. “Candler is situated within a distinguished research university, and what I find most exciting is the combination of a school of theology deeply committed to the formation of Christian leaders within a university that acknowledges the significance of religion in public life. That is an ideal environment for shaping Christian leaders in the 21st century.”

Current Dean Russ Richey, who will serve through the end of the year, said, “Candler will be indeed fortunate to have Jan Love, who brings long-term and significant leadership experience within United Methodism.” Richey cited Love’s “engagement with Christian communities at the global level, hands-on administrative savvy, distinguished academic career of teaching and scholarship in religion and political science, concern for the identification and nurturing of leaders for the church, and deep roots in southeastern Methodism.”

Love, 53, has led the Women’s Division of the UMC since August 2004. The division is the administrative arm of the one million-member United Methodist Women organization, which has an independently elected board of directors, a staff of about 100, annual expenditures of approximately $30 million, and programs and property across the United States and in 100 countries around the world. In 2000, Love was honored by the United Methodist Council of Bishops for leadership in ecumenical arenas.

A native of Alabama and daughter of a United Methodist Minister, Love’s work on global issues began as a 17-year-old high school student in the 1970s when she was nominated to serve on the denomination’s Board of Missions. In 1975, she attended the World Council of Churches meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, where she was first elected to the organization’s central committee, a position she served until 1998.

“Since her appointment as a high school student from the Alabama-West Florida Conference to the Council on Youth Ministry, Jan Love has been a leader in the United Methodist Church,” said United Methodist Bishop Bevel Jones. “Her leadership at the denomination’s General Board of Global Ministries and the World Council of Churches has been exemplary and bodes well for this great theological school.”

In addition to her denominational leadership, Love also is an accomplished academician. She was a faculty member at the University of South Carolina (USC) from 1982–2001, where she was associate professor of both religious studies (2001–04) and government and international studies (1991–2001), as well as graduate director of international studies (1993–98). While at USC, Love served on the university’s joint project with Somalia National University.

Love holds an undergraduate degree from Eckerd College and master’s and doctoral degrees in political science/international relations from Ohio State University. She is the author of scores of articles and book chapters, including “Is United Methodism a World Church?” in the book United Methodism and American Culture and “Can We All Agree? Governing the WCC by Consensus” in Christian Century, among others.

She has written two books on international relations: Southern Africa in World Politics: Local Aspirations and Global Entanglements (Westview Press, 2005) and The U.S. Anti-Apartheid Movement: Local Activism in Global Politics (Praeger Publishers, 1985).

Love is married to Peter Sederberg, a recently retired USC dean, and the couple has a son and daughter.