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United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities Elects New President, Barbara A. Holmes will assume post in July

NEW BRIGHTON, MN (March 28, 2012)—United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities has announced the election of the Reverend Dr. Barbara A. Holmes of Memphis, Tennessee as its eighth president. The seminary’s Board of Trustees confirmed Holmes’ appointment Wednesday afternoon, after which the new president addressed the board and spoke to members of the faculty, staff, and students. Holmes will relocate to the Twin Cities and assume her duties in July.

“The selection of Holmes signals the beginning of a new era,” stated the Reverend Carolyn Hendrixson, board chair. Hendrixson continued, “For seminaries around the country, it’s no longer business as usual. Our leaders need to be multi-faceted administrators, fundraisers, and program innovators. We have found this dynamic combination in Dr. Holmes, and we look to her leadership to move our progressive initiatives forward.”

Since 1998 Holmes has served in both faculty and administrative capacities at Memphis Theological Seminary in Memphis, Tennessee. She is currently professor of ethics and African American religious studies and served as vice president of academic affairs and dean from 2005 to 2010.

Noting that United’s history of ecumenical dialogue and progressive education attracted her to the position, Holmes added, “United’s commitment and its unwavering support for underserved groups match my own theological perspective.”

A sociology major as an undergraduate, Holmes earned a master’s degree in education and taught kindergarten before deciding to enter law school. For 10 years she worked as a litigator and corporate attorney. While her interest in ministry was cultivated as a young girl, her pursuit of a calling was hindered by a lack of women role models. Eventually, she received the support she needed and left the law to attend Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta. She continued on to earn her Ph.D. in religion at Vanderbilt University.

United Theological Seminary is an ecumenical institution offering master’s and doctoral degree programs that prepare religious leaders to transform the church and society. Founded in 1962 as a seminary of the United Church of Christ, United was among the first in mainline Protestantism with an ecumenical focus. The founders intended that the seminary pioneer new ways to educate people for ministry in a changing world. After 50 years, United continues to implement and elevate that vision.

For more information about Dr. Holmes and her background, please visit our homepage,

Liz Ward, Communications Director
651.255.6160 or 612.817.4003

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