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Trustees recognized for service to Louisville Seminary

by Louisville Seminary | May 15, 2008
Three members of the Board of Trustees of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, whose membership concluded with the April 2008 meeting as a result of the Board rotation process, were recognized for their years of leadership and numerous contributions to the mission and work of the Seminary.

Dorothy S. Ridings, a retired newspaper and non-profit executive, has served as a Trustee of Louisville Seminary since 1992 and as Chair of the Board since 2000. Prior to her retirement in 2005, she was President and CEO of the Council on Foundations, serving as a consultant, advisor, and advocate for the work of private foundations. She is a member of the Commission on Presidential Debates and a past president of the League of Women Voters of the United States. Her expertise in philanthropy and skills gained in a long career as a reporter, editor, and publisher in the newspaper business have been enhanced by her deep faith and service as an Elder in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

She has shared all of this with Louisville Seminary. As Chair of the Seminary Board, she has been a tireless advocate for Louisville Seminary to colleague Board members, major gift donors, and key external constituents, and she has provided leadership for two major capital campaigns. She is highly regarded for her wisdom and leadership and has shared her experiences and achievements in non-profit leadership as a mentor for the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS) and in such publications as In Trust, and Philanthropy News Digest.

At its spring meeting, April 19, the Board of Trustees approved a resolution of appreciation honoring Dorothy S. Ridings for her service rendered as Chair. The resolution was signed by all members and was presented to her with a framed gavel commemorating her years of service.

Bari S. Johnson of Grand Haven, Michigan, has served as a Trustee since 1996. She was a member of the Seminary Relations Committee, and in the past year became one of the inaugural members of the new Student Life Committee.

Professionally, Johnson is the founder and principal facilitator of The Stanton Group, which specializes in in-service training and strategic planning for public organizations and non-profits. From her expertise she has contributed insightful and imaginative approaches to problem solving and strategic planning at Louisville Seminary. She has been a strong supporter of Louisville Seminary, engaging foundation, corporation, and church support for the Seminary through her Michigan relationships, such as the Paul A. Johnson Foundation of Grand Haven, Mich., of which she is President and Trustee. Her legacy of support has been built upon decades of family advocacy for theological education, in general, and Louisville Seminary, in particular. Her consistent advocacy for Louisville Seminary has led several individuals to study at the Seminary and to serve as Trustees.

Charles J. Ping of Athens, Ohio, has served on the Board since 1996 as Chair of the Academic Affairs Committee. Ping is an alum of Louisville Seminary (BD 1954) and was recognized with the 1998 Distinguished Alum Award. A graduate of Duke University (PhD), his vocational calling led to a career in higher education, teaching, and administration. He is President Emeritus and Trustee Professor of Philosophy and Education at Ohio University, and his 19 years of service at the University from 1975 to 1994 were marked by an emphasis on general education, evaluation and reform, and the importance of international education.

In remarks shared with members of the Board of Trustees, Ping said that serving on the Louisville Seminary Board has held a very special place in his life.

“I serve and have served on many Boards,” he said. “But the experience of serving on the Board of Trustees at Louisville Seminary is like no other. The difference is, we pray together as a community, and because of this we hold a special trust. May God bless [those who serve Louisville Seminary] in the years to come.”

Trustees represent a variety of professions including congregational leadership, education administration, non-profit leadership, financial investment, and medicine to name only a few. Regardless of their professions, all members share a common commitment to and passion for theological education and preparing men and women for service in a variety of ministries in which the redemptive ministry of Jesus Christ is continued.

According to the Louisville Seminary Bylaws, Board members are eligible to serve three consecutive four-year terms, after which they ordinarily will step down from the Board for at least one year. After that year, the former Board member is eligible for another term of four years. Ordinarily, no Board member shall serve more than two sets of three consecutive four-year terms.

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