Louise Johnson named 14th President of Wartburg Seminary
The Board of Directors of Wartburg Theological Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa, elected the Rev. Louise N. Johnson, Vice President of Mission Advancement at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP), as Wartburg Seminary’s 14th president during its spring 2015 meeting. Johnson was publicly introduced to the Wartburg community following Eucharist in the chapel on Wednesday, April 22, 2015.
Pr. Johnson came to LTSP in 2004 in the role of Associate Director of Admissions, quickly rising to Director of Admissions in 2006. During her tenure, she worked with others in the development, writing, and execution of Project Connect, a $4.5 million dollar initiative to build a network of leaders and institutions supporting young adults in vocational discernment. Johnson’s responsibilities include strategic planning, accreditation, and alumni relations in her current role as Vice President of Mission Advancement at LTSP.
Pr. Johnson is an alumna of Wartburg Seminary, where she received her Master of Divinity, and was on the Wartburg staff before being called to LTSP.
She shared some thoughts with the Wartburg community at the April 22 welcoming ceremony:
“Thank you… I would not be standing here today without the incredible teachers and mentors I had in the faculty and staff in this place.” “I would be remiss if I did not offer a deep and abiding word of thanks to the students. You are the reason we’re here. You are the reason we live into our own callings. You are the reason we do this work that God has called us to.” “It is indeed an extraordinary pleasure to be back together with you [at Wartburg].”
LTSP colleagues and friends shared some thoughts and best wishes:
LTSP President David Lose:
Louise has brought so much to LTSP and served in several critical positions. We will miss her greatly, but rejoice with Wartburg Seminary and the larger church at this new leadership position.
Wartburg Seminary has made an exceptional choice. Louise is creative, wise, and has so many gifts for leadership. We have been blessed by her leadership at LTSP for over 10 years, and look forward to seeing what she accomplishes with the Wartburg community.
Matthew D. O’Rear (LTSP Associate Director of Admissions):
Louise is an extraordinary leader — consistently brilliant and original: most of all a faithful servant of Jesus Christ. Louise’s work and leadership in the Office of Admissions has helped to identify, nurture, and sustain countless leaders now serving in public ministry.
Louise is also gifted and passionate about engagement with those discerning a call. Wartburg Theological Seminary has made a fine decision this election; the whole Church will benefit from her many gifts.
The Rev. Dr. Katie Day (LTSP’s Charles A. Scheiren Professor, Church and Society and Director of the Metropolitan/Urban Concentration):
Louise has worn several hats over the years here — and worn them with style! She is one of those rare people who can be both friend and colleague and be good at both, keeping boundaries intact at the same time. A committee sat around wine and cheese at her home on late Friday afternoons, with her warm hospitality helping to keep the creative juices flowing as we imagined a new program. By Monday morning she was crafting a proposal and moving ideas into reality. Ever the pastor, the preacher, the supportive colleague and friend — Louise has just made LTSP a better place. Thanks Louise, for all you’ve given us.
The Rev. Rick Summy (colleague and former LTSP Director of Admissions):
Louise Johnson is one of the most remarkable people with whom I have ever worked. She is scary smart, incredibly compassionate, and theologically astute. I was so happy when she agreed to come to Philadelphia to be the associate director of admissions while I was serving as director, although I was never exactly sure who was working for whom. A highlight of that time was our collaboration on the first Project Connect grant proposal. Hard work and great fun. That’s Louise. I am honored to call her friend. Selfishly, I am sad that she is leaving LTSP but know that Wartburg Theological Seminary will be invigorated by her insightful, faithful, and forward-looking leadership.
The Rev. Dr. J. Elise Brown (Senior Pastor, Advent Lutheran Church, New York City):
Louise Johnson has a very unique combination of gifts — visionary thinker, strong administrator, commitment to diversity, commitment to strengthening women’s leadership in the church and world. Her strong character and ability to relate well to a great diversity of people makes her an excellent choice for president of Wartburg Theological Seminary. While a great loss to LTSP, adding Louise’s voice to the high-level conversation taking place in the ELCA right now regarding theological education will benefit all of us. Godspeed, Louise.
Bishop Claire S. Burkat
On behalf of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod and Region 7 of the ELCA, I send blessings, congratulations, and kudos to the Rev. Louise Johnson on the announcement of her appointment as the 14th president of Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. Pastor Johnson will bring her gifts of excellence in preaching, teaching, and administration to the position. She has the unique ability to both challenge and cherish the Church for the sake of the Gospel in the twenty-first century. The whole Church will be blessed by her leadership at Wartburg and beyond.
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