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Prior to 1934, functions of the office of dean (Theological School) were carried by the President of the University.  The first dean was named during the Presidency of Arlo Ayres Brown, Drew's sixth President.

Dr. Lynn Harold Hough was named the Seminary's first dean in 1934. Lynn Harold Hough, a prominent Methodist preacher, writer, and former president of Northwestern University, had taken a B.D. degree at Drew in 1905. He returned to Drew in 1930, at the age of 53, as professor of homiletics. In 1934, he was named dean of the Seminary. Hough retired in 1947, and he died in 1971.

Fred Holloway succeeded Hough as Dean in 1947 and later became the seventh president of Drew University . He graduated from Western Maryland College in 1918 and received a B.A. from Drew in 1921, Holloway had been both professor of Biblical languages and president at Westminster Theological Seminary, as well as president of Western Maryland college, before being choses as dean of the Drew Theological Seminary in 1947. Just one year later, upon President Ayres' retirement, Holloway was offered the presidency. Holloway was elected a Bishop and assigned to West Virginia in 1960. He died in 1988.

Following Holloway's ascension to presidency, Clarence Tucker Craig of the Yale Divinity School was named dean of Seminary in 1949. A superior scholar, Craig also held the chair in New Testament studies. His time at Drew, however, was brief; Craig died in 1953.

Upon Craig's death, Dr. Bernard V. Anderson, professor of Old Testament interpretation at Colgate-Rochester Divinity School, replaced him as dean in 1954. He resigned in 1963.

Dr. Charles Wesley Ranson, who had been professor of ecumenical theology since 1959, succeeded Anderson as dean. Ranson was "fired" in 1967 (according to Cunningham's University in the Forest). This caused an uproar in the Theological School; students protested and faculty threatened to resign.

Dr. Frederick A. Shippey, professor of the sociology of religion since 1950, was named acting dean during this crisis.

James M. Ault, professor of practical theology and director of field education at Union Theological Seminary, accepted the deanship in 1967. In 1972, the UMC chose Ault to be a bishop in Philadelphia.

Pieter de Jong, professor of systematic theology since 1969, served as acting dean after Ault's elevation, and he was named dean in 1973, He resigned the deanship in 1975.

James E. Kirby, director of the School of Humanistic Studies at Oklahoma State University , replaced de Jong. He left in 1981 to become dean of the Perkins School of theology at SMU.

Thomas W. Ogletree, professor of theological ethics at Vanderbilt Divinity School since 1970, was named dean in 1981. According to Cunningham, "Ogletree set about rectifying what President Hardin believed was the school's most serious flaw- the absence of women and minority group teachers on the faculty." Ogletree left in 1990 to become dean of Yale Divinity School.

Robin Lovin, professor at the University of Chicago Divinity School, was named dean in 1991. He left in 1994 to become dean of the Perkins School of Theology at SMU.

Janet Fishburn served as interim dean while a search was conducted for a new dean after Lovin's departure.

Leonard Sweet, chancellor and chief executive officer of the United Theological School in Dayton, was named dean in 1995. He remained dean for five years.

In 2000, Maxine Clarke Beach, former associate general secretary of the General Council of Ministries of the UMC, was named dean, and stepped down in 2010.

Kah-Jin Jeffrey Kuan, from the Pacific School of Religion (PSR) and the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) was dean from 2010 to 2014, when he became president of the Claremount School of Theology.

In 2014,  Javier A. Viera, executive minister of Christ Church in New York City, was named dean, until 2020 when he was named President of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Chicago.

Melanie Johnson-DeBaufre, Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Drew Theological School, was named interim dean from 2020 to 2022.

In 2022, Edwin David Aponte, Executive Director of the Louisville Institute in Louisville, KY, was named dean.


20221130_List of Drew University Theological School Deans_1934-2003.pdf

20221130_List of Drew University Theological School Deans_1934-1993.pdf

Courtesy of Drew University Archives

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