Executive Team

Executive Team

Uriah Y. Kim is the President of the GTU. He earned his PhD in Biblical Studies from the GTU, and also holds an MDiv from Princeton Theological Seminary, a ThM from Candler School of Theology of Emory University, and a BA in philosophy from New York University. He is the author of Decolonizing Josiah: Toward a Postcolonial Reading of the Deuteronomistic History (Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2005) and Identity and Loyalty in the David Story: A Postcolonial Reading (Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2008), and is co-editor of Handbook of Asian American Biblical Hermeneutics (T&T Clark, 2019). He loves to drive on the scenic roads of California with his wife.


Our Chief Strategy Officer and Vice President for Institutional Advancement, Sephora Markson, brings to the GTU expertise in marketing and communications, as well as a scholarly background in religious studies, holding a BA in Religious Studies from UC Berkeley and an MTS from Harvard Divinity School. She’s worked with Fortune 1000 companies, start-ups, and internationally recognized nonprofits, and served as Senior Director of Marketing and Recruitment at The New School in New York, where she led the launch of Open Campus, the university’s destination for continuing, online and professional education, and also earned a Global Executive Master’s in Strategic Design and Management. When she’s not working to help students pursue their dreams, you can find her running in Tilden State Park, taking a yoga class, or exercising her creativity as a writer, singer, collage artist, and adventurer.


Marie Lucero is the GTU’s Chief Operating Officer, where her responsibilities include oversight of facilities, information technology, human resources, and enterprise risk management. Marie also serves as the Chief Title IX Officer for the institution. She has spent her career working in higher education, supporting students through their educational journeys. Before coming to the GTU, Marie served as Operations Manager for the Berkeley Student Cooperative, a non-profit housing provider that removes barriers to higher education for low-income and traditionally marginalized students. She holds an MA in Education Administration and a BA in Economics from the University of Redlands. When she’s not working Marie can be found on a run, exploring local hiking trails, watching a sporting event, or coaching her son’s baseball team.

Beth Kumar is the Director of Library Services at the GTU Library. Beth has held a number of positions in the GTU library since arriving in 2014, including the Head of Reference for five years. She holds a MS in Library and Information Science, and an EdM in Educational Leadership and Organization in Higher Education both from the University of Illinois, as well as a BS in History from the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. Beth has worked her way across the country as a librarian for the past 16 years: first as a Systems Librarian at Hollins University in Roanoke, VA, then returning to the Reference Department at her alma mater- the University of Illinois. She then moved further west and spent three and a half years on the faculty of the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs as an Electronic Resources Librarian before coming to California.

Jennifer W. Davidson is the GTU’s Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs and the John Dillenberger Professor of Theology. She earned her PhD from the GTU in Liturgical Studies and Systematic and Philosophical Theology and holds an MDiv from United Lutheran Seminary and a BA in English and Secondary Education from Eastern University. Prior to her appointment as Dean, Jennifer was a professor for fifteen years at Berkeley School of Theology. In recent years at the GTU, she chaired the Religion & Practice Department and the Women’s Studies in Religion Steering Committee. She has taught courses in constructive theology, pedagogy, spirituality, practical theology, liturgical studies, and women’s studies in religion. She is the author of River of Life, Feast of Grace: Baptism, Communion, and Discipleship (Judson Press, 2019) and numerous articles and book chapters. Jennifer enjoys writing poetry, reading novels of any genre, and rooting for her favorite IndyCar racing teams.

As the GTU’s Chief External Affairs Officer, Jen Ruppert is an experienced marketing leader with a long track record for building brands, increasing engagement, and growing revenues. Since 1999 Jen has worked for both private sector and non-profit organizations with experience that includes nearly four years managing communications for the development and alumni relations team at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. She has also created innovative marketing strategies for an environmental services provider, two law firms, two software companies, and a maker of upscale men’s footwear with a cult following. Jen earned her BA in art history from the University of Redlands where she minored in religion to better understand the iconography of sacred imagery. She went on to obtain an MA in art history from San Jose State University, completing her studies with a thesis on John Singer Sargent. Although she pivoted away from a curatorial career to one in marketing, her academic training sharpened the writing skills and visual vocabulary required to create compelling brand assets. Outside of work, Jen loves being with her family, running trails, practicing Pilates, reading literary fiction, looking at art, and watching good films.

As the GTU’s Chief Financial OfficerMike Cairns brings years of diverse experience in finance and operations, spanning Fortune 500 companies, start-ups, and several institutions of higher education. For the past 20 years, Mike has served in executive positions, including Interim CFO for MakeSchool.org and CFO and Vice President for Finance and Administration at Saybrook University, a graduate school rooted in Humanistic Psychology. As CFO and VP of Finance and Operations at San Francisco Theological Seminary, he increased the Seminary’s annual revenue by more than $1 million. Mike emigrated to the US from Scotland to attend the University of Hartford, where he earned his BA in Business Administration. He holds an MBA from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and is a Certified Public Accountant. In his spare time, Mike enjoys the teamwork of Tough Mudders. Mike is committed to his family in both Scotland and the US, he is a dog lover, and he enjoys reading The Economist.