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Dennis Riggs leaves retirement to offer interim leadership

by Louisville Seminary | Apr 19, 2012
Dennis Riggs, President Emeritus of The Community Foundation of Louisville, has joined the advancement efforts of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary as Interim Vice President for Seminary Relations. In making this announcement, President Michael Jinkins also shared that a search committee for the Vice President for Seminary Relations will be chaired by Trustee Dan Ellinor and has begun its work reviewing and revising the position description. Riggs began his appointment April 10 and will serve during the interim.

Riggs served as President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Louisville from 1991 until his retirement in 2008. Under his leadership, as the second full-time executive of the 24-year-old organization, the Foundation's asset base increased from $43 million to over $300 million and expanded significantly the philanthropic resources for the Louisville Metro area. Riggs has served more than 44 years in a variety of community and nonprofit leadership capacities, including tenures as Vice President for Development at Bellarmine University in Louisville and as Vice President for Development at Louisville Seminary from 1988 to 1991, during the Seminary’s campaign to acquire and renovate Gardencourt.

In his conversation with President Jinkins, Riggs noted how it would take a real sense of calling to move him from retirement to enter the professional ranks again.

“We are grateful that Dennis did discern God’s call and that he has come to serve with us for the next several months as we prepare our school to provide the resources necessary to live fully into our mission to educate women and men to serve as ministers of Christ in our ever more complex world,” said Jinkins.

“This is an exciting time in the life of Louisville Seminary,” offered Riggs. “I am pleased to participate, even on a temporary basis, in helping to advance the bold new vision of the Seminary and its new strategic plan, Covenant for the Future, which I believe has the capacity to contribute significantly to church and society in the ways that are most needed now and in the future.”

Riggs is active in the life of his own congregation, The Church of the Epiphany, and has provided leadership in a variety of organizations in the Louisville community, including three terms as chair of CARITAS Health Services, service as President of the Rotary Club, and as a board member of the Greater Louisville Sports Commission and the Louisville Olmstead Parks Conservancy. He has served as Chair of the Greater Louisville Project and as Vice Chair of the Merton Institute for Contemplative Living. Riggs was instrumental in the formation of the Louisville Donors Forum, an association of foundations and funders in the Louisville Metro area, and is Secretary of the National Foundation to Support Cell Transplant Research. He chaired the national Community Foundations Leadership Team of the Council on Foundations and served on the Board of Council. He also served in private business as a partner in the executive search consulting firm of Fleming Associates, a precursor to TASA International. In addition to these forms of community and national leadership, Riggs is a retired member of the officiating staff of the National Football League (NFL). He currently serves the NFL as League Officiating Observer.

In the coming months, Riggs will work closely with the Seminary Relations Office team, including Dale Melton, who returned to the position of Associate Vice President for Seminary Relations on March 1, stating that he would offer his “services and leadership in a different direction” out of his “love for Louisville Seminary” and his “strong belief in the new strategic plan.”

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