Lee Barker, a 1978 Meadville Lombard graduate, returned to the school as its President in 2003 to find that seminaries and theological schools across the nation — including Meadville Lombard — had been overtaken by strong currents of social and economic change, making many financially unsustainable.
Under Lee’s leadership, with the help of generous donors, gifted faculty and a strong Board of Trustees, the school seized this opportunity and moved away from the traditional residential model that kept students out of congregations and created an innovative, contextual learning model that integrates practical and academic aspects of ministerial education in low-residency programs. The transformation was so groundbreaking and successful, Meadville Lombard became known as a leader for innovation among theological schools throughout North America.
In the final year of Lee’s Presidency, the Board of Trustees and other friends of the school wish to create a professorship in his honor that will attempt to institutionalize his unique leadership skills and transmit them to the Meadville Lombard graduates of the future. In gratitude and appreciation for the qualities of leadership that Lee Barker has brought to Meadville Lombard as President, we seek to establish the Lee Barker Professor of Leadership Studies.
The institutional change we have experienced at Meadville Lombard during Lee Barker’s tenure went hand in hand with the recognition that ministry and religious leadership were moving into a new age. A different kind of preparation was needed. It emphasized a further integration of practice and theory. It cultivated innovation and border crossing of all kinds. This kind of leadership created an in-depth response to the realities of church life and the world around us.
The Lee Barker Professor of Leadership Studies at Meadville Lombard will be filled by a widely recognized religious leader who embodies innovative, collaborative and bold leadership. The professor will have the opportunity to teach across a wide number of disciplines
The professorship will enable Meadville Lombard to enlarge its capacity to provide leaders who will shape the future of religious and spiritual life in our faith communities and beyond.
Please take a look at the brochure below for more information, and contact us if you would like to discuss donation options.