Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary has named John Wells Kuykendall of Davidson, N.C., as Interim President. Dr. Kuykendall will begin his appointment August 1, 2003.
The Rev. Dr. John Kuykendall was president of Davidson College in North Carolina for 13 years, where he also taught as a professor of religion. Today as Professor and President Emeritus he holds the Samuel E. and Mary West Thatcher Professorship in Religion.
Dr. Milton J Coalter, who has served as Acting President since December following the resignation of John M. Mulder on October 26, 2002, was pleased with the selection of Kuykendall for this interim period.
“We are blessed that John Kuykendall has answered our call to the interim presidency. He has all the qualifications for the presidency of a theological seminary and then some. He is a much sought-after teacher, a well-known author and contributor on works related to Presbyterians and the Reformed Tradition, a minister, and an individual who has served the Church in many capacities. But more, he knows the rigors of a presidency, having provided distinguished service as the president of Davidson College,” Coalter said.
Kuykendall began his academic and professional career at Davidson. As a student he served as Student Body President, and following graduation (B.A. 1959) he served as Assistant Director of Alumni and Public Relations. Later, he earned the Bachelor of Divinity degree from Union-PSCE Seminary in Virginia, was ordained in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and served two ministry positions as Associate Pastor and Campus Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Auburn, Ala., then as Interim Presbyterian Campus Pastor at Princeton University.
He returned to academic study at Yale Divinity School (S.T.M.) and Princeton University (M.A. and Ph.D.), then embarked upon his teaching career at Auburn University, where for nine years he was an associate professor and later the head of the Religion Department.
As President of Davidson, Kuykendall has been recognized as a valuable leader particularly among Presbyterian colleges and universities. He has served on several educational boards including the North Carolina Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (1987-1993), the Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities (1988-1991), Louisville Seminary (1982-1991), and Union-PSCE Seminary (1993-2001). In 1999, Hanover College awarded him an honorary Doctor of Divinity, and in the same year he received an honorary doctorate from Wofford College. In 2002, Davidson College included him in their Athletic Hall of Fame.
Within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Kuykendall has served on Presbytery and Synod committees, served as a supply preacher, and taught Sunday School in his home congregation of Davidson Presbyterian Church. He is currently a member of the Boards for Warren Wilson College and the Fund for Theological Education.
Dr. Kuykendall said he accepted the invitation to serve as the interim president because he heard a distinct “call” from Louisville Seminary. In his position, he will continue the consistent leadership of the Seminary’s mission to prepare men and women for ministry, so recently shepherded by Dr. Coalter and the President’s Administrative Cabinet.
“About the only thing that John Kuykendall has not done is occupy the presidency of a theological seminary. But thanks to God's good graces,” said Coalter, “this very able, learned and committed churchman and educator will remedy that oversight by assuming our seminary's presidency during this period of transition. We are deeply grateful that he has heard our call.”
During this interim period, the Presidential Search Committee will continue its process to identify the new leader whom God is calling even now. Updates regarding the search and an opportunity to suggest potential candidates or share comments are available on this website