Glenn R. Bucher (President ’92-’99)
Glenn Bucher was President of the Graduate Theological Union from 1992 to 1999. He received a Bachelor of Arts in economics and philosophy from Elizabethtown College, the M.Div. from Union Theological Seminary and the Ph.D. in the sociology of religion from Boston University. From 1999-2005 he was Executive Director of The Boyer Center at Messiah College. Previously, Dean of Faculty at The College of Wooster and Professor of Religious Studies at Howard University (Washington, DC). He was also Special Assistant to the President at Elizabethtown College. Bucher’s teaching and scholarly interests interface contemporary religion, culture, and politics. He has served as a consultant in higher education on organizational, funding, assessment, and curriculum issues.
He understood the GTU as an institution with a valuable mission and a thirty-year history of strong contributions to theological education, ecumenicism, and inter-religious dialogue. However, he further understood that the GTU, entering into its fourth decade, needed not only to maintain its place in theological education, but to work toward “ever greater achievements”. He used GTU’s Thirtieth Anniversary events to focus issues for the coming decade stating, “The GTU is not positioned adequately as a national and international center for theological study, nor as a resource for churches, synagogues and other religious communities”. The GTU needed broader funding resources, new forms of cooperation and collaboration among the member schools, stronger relations with the University of California, Berkeley, and higher national and international visibility to achieve its full potential. Then the GTU could attract the finest faculty and students, and provide the best distinctive programs and be “second to none”.
During Dr. Bucher’s tenure, he worked toward the agenda he had set out for himself and the GTU. To broaden funding resources and advice for the GTU, the President’s Council was organized. The President’s Fund endowment was established. Other funding resources were acquired to endow the Luce/Bertelsen Chair in Western Art History and Religion, and to endow the Hewlett Library Directorship.
Judith Berling (Dean ‘87-’96, faculty ’87-present)
Judith Berling was the GTU's first female administrator. She is highly recognized as a scholar and teacher, intentionally cultivating interdisciplinary and interreligious encounters in her classroom and encouraging those throughout the GTU - her legacy. Berling convened a working group of faculty to enrich the curriculum with Asian and Pacific Rim topics and perspectives - an emphasis that continues through the Asia Project. In 2003, she was award the first Sarlo Excellence in Teaching Award for her interdisciplinary and interreligious approach. Three years earlier she delivered the Distinguished Faculty Lecture.
Reflecting on her time as Dean, Berling commented, "In 1987 the GTU was tiny and there were many who had been here since its founding. Consequently, there were many memories about what the GTU was intended to be, and often they were competing memories. There were no written policies when I came! There was only oral tradition and, in many cases, contended oral tradition. I could listen to all the stories and see how they somehow knit together."
Judith Berling graduated from Carleton College in 1967, majoring in religion. Studying at Columbia University, she earned an MPhil in 1974 and her PhD in 1976. She received several fellowships and grants over the years, including a Henry Luce III Fellowship for Theology in 1991–92 and again in 2001–02. In 1990, she served as President of the American Academy of Religion. In 2000, the GTU has also recognized her achievements by awarding her with the Distinguished Faculty Lecturer.
Berling has also served as president of the American Society for the Study of Religions, as a past trustee and vice chair of the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia, and as a member of the Association of Theological Schools Commission on Accreditation.
Margaret Miles (Ph.D. ’77, Dean ‘96-’01, faculty ’96-‘01)
Margaret Miles received her BA and her MA from San Francisco State University. Studying St. Augustine’s understanding of the body at the GTU, she earned her PhD in 1977.
She taught at Harvard Divinity School for 18 years. There, she served as chair of the theology department and on the Committee on Religion, Gender and Culture. In 1996 she returned to the GTU. She was a professor of Historical Theology at the American Baptist Seminary of the West. She served as dean there until 2001.
Miles has also served on the editorial board of the Journal of the American Academy of Religion and the advisory board for Feminist Studies in Religion. She has also served as President of the American Academy of Religion.
Miles was awarded the GTU’s Alumni of the Year Award in 1991. She has also received a Guggenheim Fellowship (1982), a fellowship at the Rockefeller Study and Conference Center, Bellagio; Italy (1983), and a Henry Luce III Fellow in Theology grant (1994-95).
Her publications include Augustine and the Fundamentalist's Daughter (Lutterworth Press, 2012); Augustine on the Body (Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2009); The Word Made Flesh: A History of Christian Thought (Wiley-Blackwell , 2004); A Complex Delight: The Secularization of the Breast, 1350-1750 (University of California Press, 2008); Seeing and Believing: Religion and Values in the Movies (Beacon, 1996); Desire and Delight: A New Reading of Augustine's "Confessions" (Crossroad, 1992); Carnal Knowing: Female Nakedness and Religious Meaning in the Christian and Postchristian West (Beacon, 1989); Practicing Christianity: Critical Perspectives for an Embodied Spirituality(Crossroad, 1988); and Image as Insight: Visual Understanding in Western Christianity and Secular Culture (Beacon, 1985).