Acting President is named as search continues
Louisville Seminary | Nov 15, 2002
The Board of Trustees has appointed Dr. Milton J Coalter as acting president of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Coalter, who is Vice President for Library and Information Technology, will begin his duties December 1, serving until an interim president is named and as the search continues for a full-time president.
Seminary Dean Dianne Reistroffer announced Coalter’s appointment to the Seminary community on Friday, November 15, three weeks following the Board’s acceptance of John M. Mulder’s resignation as president on October 26.
Coalter taught American religious history at North Carolina State University before going to the Iliff School of Theology in Denver in 1982. He came to Louisville Seminary, in 1985, to become Director of the Ernest Miller White Library. In 2000, responsibilities for the Seminary’s technological advancement were added to his position, and he became Vice President for Library and Information Technology Services. Since then, Coalter has been a member of the President’s Cabinet, the administrative group that has maintained the leadership of Louisville Seminary during Mulder’s recent illnesses and following his resignation.
Shepherding the Seminary through transition and challenges will be familiar territory for Coalter. During his tenure at Louisville Seminary, he has been called upon to lead the more demanding projects in the institution. With Mulder and Louis Weeks (now president of Union Theological Seminary in Virginia), he co-directed an extensive study of Presbyterians in the 20th century, which was published in a seven-volume series, entitled The Presbyterian Presence: The Twentieth Century Experience. He led the Seminary through reaccreditation in 1997, resulting in high marks for the Seminary and commendations for Coalter’s self-study process, now emulated by other schools. Coalter is responsible for consolidating the technological needs of the Seminary, both professional and academic, into one area of support and leadership. His guidance in this area has expanded the use of technological resources in the classroom and in research and incorporated more fully information technology with library sciences at Louisville Seminary.
Regarding his new appointment, Coalter noted, “Louisville Seminary is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. But the distinctive mark and legacy of this institution is not its own existence. It is, instead, the ministries of the men and women who have been trained here for the proclamation of the gospel and the care and cure of souls in Christ’s name. It is a blessing to be a part of this mission with my colleagues in the Louisville Seminary community, for this calling continues now as before to provide direction to our work into the future.”
Coalter is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA). During the 213th General Assembly (2000), he was selected to be a member of the Theological Task Force on the Peace, Unity, and Purity of the Church, commissioned to a four-year task to help the denomination articulate its identity for the new century. He is co-editor, with Dr. Virgil Cruz, of How Shall We Witness? (1995) and with Mulder and Weeks, Vital Signs: The Promise of Mainstream Protestantism, which was reissued by FaithWalk Publishing this month. He is a graduate of Davidson College (BA), Princeton Theological Seminary (MDiv and ThM) and Princeton University (PhD) with further study at the University of Montpellier, Montpellier, France.
In the same announcement, Reistroffer identified the composition of the presidential search committee, which will be chaired by trustee Robert Reed, M.D. The committee will be comprised of five trustees, including the chairperson; two professors selected by the faculty; one middler student chosen by the student body; an alumnus/a, selected by the Trustees from suggestions given by the Alumni/ae Association Board; and the Dean of the Seminary, who will also represent the administration. Rev. Lant Davis, assistant to the president, will serve as the committee’s coordinator, but not as a committee member. The search will be denomination-wide and could take more than one year to complete.