Dean and Chancellor Reappointed to Second Term

Monday, February 28, 2011Campus Announcement

At an Academic Convocation held on our campus Monday evening, Anne Glynn Mackoul, Executive Chair of the seminary’s Board of Trustees, announced a decision by the Board to reappoint the seminary Dean, Archpriest John Behr, and Chancellor, Archpriest Chad Hatfield, to their positions for additional five-year terms, beginning in 2012. In reappointing the two leaders, said Mrs. Mackoul, the Board recognized “the considerable accomplishments and distinctive leadership” of each leader and also reconfirmed the Board’s commitment to the model of shared governance instituted at the beginning of their first terms.

Fr. Chad (left) and Fr. John during the visit of the relics of St. Vladimir of Kiev to the seminary in November 2010.Fr. Chad (left) and Fr. John during the visit of the relics of St. Vladimir of Kiev to the seminary in November 2010.In 2007 the Board devised a unique model of shared governance for the seminary, assigning to Fr. John as Dean primary responsibility for the spiritual and academic life of the school, and Fr. Chad as Chancellor primary responsibility for financial and operational leadership, but with elements of shared responsibility in all areas between the two administrators. At the same time the Board established a board position of Executive Chair, elected from among the lay trustees, to serve as a point of reference for the Board and to consult with the Dean and Chancellor.

In evaluating the strengths and achievements of these two administrators, the Board took particular note of their success as a team in leading the seminary. “Their particular gifts and personal attributes are complementary,” said Mrs. Mackoul, “allowing the seminary and its students to benefit from the best of both approaches to leadership. We could not have anticipated the financial crisis that so dramatically impacted their first years in office. The board has been gratified by their grace under pressure and clear-sighted focus on both the immediate needs of the seminary and the long-range vision and mission of St. Vladimir’s.

“We are particularly impressed,” she continued, “with the new curriculum, developed to support enhanced pastoral training and practical preparation of priests for Orthodox parishes and including new courses in missiology. We also welcome the many significant events on our campus that fulfill the seminary’s mission to serve Christ, his Church, and the world through Orthodox Christian theological education, research, and scholarship, and the promotion of inter-Orthodox cooperation.

“Many thanks also are due to the alumni, benefactors, and donors who support the seminary, both materially and in prayer,” she concluded. “The work of the seminary leadership, both past and future, would be impossible without their help.”

Fr. John, in acknowledging the renewal of his role, said, “I am very honored to be asked to serve the Church for a further term as Dean of St. Vladimir’s. Many new initiatives have been begun over recent years, and I look forward to seeing them bear fruit in the lives of our graduates and our service to the Church more generally.”

Likewise, Fr. Chad expressed his gratitude, saying, “I am thankful to the many who were part of the evaluation process which contributed to the decision of our Board of Trustees to offer a second five-year term to both the Dean and Chancellor. Much of our first term was dominated by our institutional response to the economic challenges of our time. I expect this to continue in the second term, but an equally strong force driving the agenda will be this administration’s determination to keep SVOTS the leading Orthodox seminary in both pastoral formation and academic excellence. I look forward to meeting the great opportunities God will provide for us.”

In Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and non-Orthodox contexts, the profile of St. Vladimir’s had been raised by various initiatives of the current administrative team. In particular, the Board noted international scholarly campus colloquia on the subjects: “Rome, Constantinople, and Canterbury: Mother Churches” (2008); “The Council and the Tomos: Twentieth-century Landmarks towards a Twenty-first-century Church” (2009); and “Hellenism & Orthodoxy” (2010); and major events, such as the recent concert performance of the St. Matthew Passion, which drew a diverse audience of over one thousand persons to the heart of Manhattan. Especially notable was the reception of the prestigious “Unity of Orthodox Peoples Award,” presented to the school by His Holiness Kirill, patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, in 2010.

Faculty member Dr. Paul Meyendorff, The Father Alexander Schmemann Professor of Liturgical Theology at the seminary, commented on these efforts, saying, “The faculty is deeply appreciative of the efforts of Frs. John and Chad in leading the seminary through this challenging era in the life of the seminary and the Orthodox Church, and we offer them our strong support."

Theodore Bazil, the seminary's Associate Chancellor for Advancement, also congratulated the Dean and Chancellor. "With more than forty years of institutional and working history behind me, I can attest to the leadership demonstrated by the previous deans, faculty, and administration at St. Vladimir's. Based on the strength of their character and unique talents, Fr. Chad and Fr. John have proven they are eminently prepared to continue to follow this remarkable tradition as the seminary faces new challenges to articulate and witness to the faith in a secular society," said Mr. Bazil.

Particularly gratifying to the Board was the strong support of the students for the renewal, who were invited to comment during the evaluation process. The Student Body, through their Student Council President, Aaron Oliver, expressed their congratulations to the Dean and Chancellor. “On behalf of the Student Council, I would like to congratulate Fr. John and Fr. Chad on their appointment to a new term. Their complementary leadership has done much to support student life and formation at the seminary, and also to usher in a new era of student involvement and initiative,” said Seminarian Oliver.

View a gallery of photos of the Academic Convocation, by Dn. Gregory Hatrak. Note: Fr. John Behr, who was delivering the "Sir Daniel and Countess Bernadine Murphy Donohue Chair in Eastern Catholic Theology" annual lecture at the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome, was unable to be present at St. Vladimir's for the announcement of the reappointment of the Dean and Chancellor.