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News from the Hill November 21, 2013 | back to index

Andover Newton Announces Next President

Martin Copenhaver

Dear Members of the Andover Newton Community,

I am pleased to share the good news that the Andover Newton Theological School Board of Trustees voted yesterday, November 20, to appoint The Rev. Martin Copenhaver as the seminary’s next president.

For close to 20 years, Martin has led one of the strongest churches in America. As an Andover Newton trustee and member of the board of advisors at Yale Divinity School, he also has played a leadership role in theological education during challenging times. He is a widely published author and a distinguished expert on the life of the church. He has deep firsthand knowledge of our school and the challenges we face, and he is keenly aware of the dynamics affecting denominations, churches, and those in pastoral leadership today. Martin’s experience, coupled with his personal warmth, sense of humor, wide connections and national reputation, will serve Andover Newton well as the school seeks to position itself for success and sustainability in the years to come.

Martin will bring to the presidency credibility, integrity, authenticity, and an entrepreneurial spirit. He will be a strong pastoral presence on campus.  His collaborative leadership style can be expected to bring forth the best from our current senior management team, which surely must be one of the strongest at any seminary. And his track record as a fundraiser makes us feel confident that under his leadership Andover Newton will continue down the path to financial health and be able to invest strategically to ensure we remain on the forefront of theological education.

For additional information about the school’s next president, please visit the Andover Newton web site to read a press release as well as Martin’s own message to the Andover Newton community.

We were blessed to have three very competent finalists for the presidency, each of whom offered unique gifts, diverse experiences, and distinctive strengths; because they represented such different options, the decision process was particularly challenging. Dr. Nancy Nienhuis, our dean of students and administrator, revealed through her candidacy that her love for Andover Newton runs even deeper than we knew. It is hard not to choose someone we care about so much and value so highly, and we hope she will continue to share her talents and passions with us as a member of the ANTS community. The Rev. Dr. Albert Mosley is a brilliant and dynamic young seminary president who impressed us and also taught us much through his candidacy and his visit to campus. We have no doubt that he will play an important role in shaping theological education for the future, and we wish him the very best no matter where the path leads him.

I would like to extend deep and heartfelt appreciation to each of the thirteen dedicated members of the search committee, ably led by The Rev. Dr. Jim Sherblom, vice chairman of the board. The committee’s transparent process and professionalism produced fruit. Each individual contributed to help shape a clear picture of institutional needs and priorities as well as clarity about the professional skills and personal qualifications necessary for the next president of the school.

I’d also like to thank, on behalf of the entire board of trustees, all members of the Andover Newton community who participated in the campus visits of our finalists and provided valuable and valued feedback on each of them. Although many people offered different perspectives and opinions, the one common thread that was so apparent through the feedback is the deep love people have for our school. This is heartening and inspires great confidence in our future.

The board of trustees will be appointing a transition team, whose members will include presidential search committee members as well as others, to serve as a resource and sounding board for Martin as he prepares to take the helm on June 1, 2014. President Nick Carter will lead the school through Commencement and also looks forward to being available to Martin in coming months to ensure a smooth transition.

As part of the search process, we also found ourselves looking inward for a careful examination of ourselves as a community. Through this process of exploration and discernment, we discovered things about Andover Newton that reinforced the importance of leading with courage, compassion, and unwavering commitment to embracing and affirming the differences that define and distinguish us – and that also, sometimes, divide us.  The board of trustees is grateful to the search committee for recommending not only an excellent candidate to lead the school, but also for identifying opportunities to build even stronger bonds of community based on trust, transparency, and mutual accountability. Conversations about what kind of leadership we need for the future sharpened focus on some of the most critical challenges facing the school today. And in this context, the board recognizes that responsibility for leadership rests not only with the president, but also with the board itself. 

While it gives us joy to announce the next president of Andover Newton, we also do not want to miss an opportunity to thank our current president for his leadership of and his love for Andover Newton. Nick Carter’s decade serving as president has been a time of rich blessing to the school. Nick has led significant institutional change with acumen and entrepreneurial zest, deep commitment to our community, and in relationship with our neighbors at Hebrew College, denominational executives and other leaders in theological education.

While often difficult to navigate, moments of transition can be a gift, as shifting tectonic plates of our lives offer new perspectives and visions.  My hope is that for Andover Newton Theological School, this moment of leadership transition will be such a moment: offering an opportunity for its many constituencies to grow in insight, in gratitude, and in determination to give the very best we have to offer as we serve our students, the Church, and our world.


The Rev. Judy Swahnberg ’06
Chair, Andover Newton Board of Trustees

Read official press release announcing appointment.
Read the message from Rev. Copenhaver