August 1, 2018 – Berkeley, CA The Graduate Theological Union’s eighth president, Rabbi Daniel L. Lehmann, began the first day of his presidency in Berkeley expressing appreciation for the school’s rich history and great enthusiasm for its future. “Thanks to the generative intersection of the world’s great religious traditions that’s been created here, the GTU is uniquely positioned to educate a new generation of scholars, leaders, and activists who can apply deep and sophisticated interreligious learning to the challenges of an increasingly polarized world,” Lehmann said. “I am both humbled and excited by the responsibility to lead the GTU in the next chapter of its illustrious history.”
President Lehmann, whose selection was announced on May 23, 2018, comes to the Graduate Theological Union after completing his term as president of Hebrew College in Newton, Massachusetts, where he also served as professor of pluralism and board chair of the Boston Theological Institute.
In the initial weeks and months of his presidency, Lehmann says he plans to focus on “listening to and learning from the various constituencies of the GTU community, to gain insight into the distinctive cultures and unique resources that make the GTU such a compelling and consequential hub of interreligious education.” He added that the “partnerships and collaborations that make up the GTU are critical to its success.” President Lehmann says he hopes to “build and expand on these important relationships to advance the GTU’s sacred mission.”
Trained as an Orthodox Jewish rabbi, Daniel Lehmann is the first GTU president whose religious background is not rooted in the Christian tradition. He offered his appreciation for the work of his predecessor, Dr. Riess Potterveld, an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, who “firmly established the GTU’s interreligious commitments and propelled its growth” during his five years as president.
At a time when some view religion as a key contributor to what Lehmann describes as "our often divisive discourse," the new GTU president expressed his belief that the study of religion can be a force for positive change. “Religion, when shaped by a commitment to pluralism, can be a powerful source of healing and hope,” said President Lehmann. “The GTU is a thought leader that can serve as a model of religious understanding and cooperation rooted in intellectual rigor.”
A formal inauguration ceremony and additional activities celebrating GTU President Daniel L. Lehmann will take place during the Fall 2018 semester, with dates and locations to be announced.
About the Graduate Theological Union: The Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, is a unique interreligious consortium of more than twenty member schools, centers, and institutes, with a world-class library. Founded in 1962, the GTU is the most comprehensive center for the graduate study of religion in North America, bringing together scholars of the world’s great religions and wisdom traditions to grow in knowledge, thrive in spirit, and unite in solutions.
Related News from the GTU:
- GTU Announces Rabbi Daniel Lehmann as President (May 23, 2018)
- Religion News Service and J. Weekly Highlight President-elect Lehmann (June 28, 2018)