Pittsburgh Theological Seminary Names David Esterline as Sixth President

February 5, 2015

Rev. Dr. David V. Esterline

Rev. Dr. David V. Esterline —Courtesy of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

PITTSBURGH, Pa

The Pittsburgh Theological Seminary Board of Directors has named the Rev. Dr. David V. Esterline as president and professor of cross-cultural theological education. Esterline currently serves as the director of the Institute for Cross-Cultural Education at McCormick Theological Seminary and was the dean of faculty and vice president for academic affairs at McCormick from 1999-2009.

“The search attracted a wonderful array of candidates. We are excited to have a person with David’s breadth of experience in global seminary education, ecumenical initiatives, and pastoral care as our next president,” said Board member Paul Dimmick, who chaired the Presidential Search Committee.

Board Chair Sandy Lamb adds: “Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, reflecting the challenges in the mainline churches, is in the process of reexamining how it prepares women and men in a multicultural church and society consistent with our mission. We are confident that Dr. Esterline brings experience, wisdom, integrity, and energy to lead Pittsburgh Seminary in these emerging strategies.”

Esterline is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz (A.B., religious studies), Oxford University, Trinity College (M.A., theology), and Graduate Theological Union (Ph.D., religion and education). He was ordained by the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon in 1987 and is currently a teaching elder in Blackhawk Presbytery (Illinois) of The Presbyterian Church (USA).

Joining the faculty of McCormick in 1997, he previously served as the director of the Doctoral Program and Continuing Education before becoming associate professor of cross-cultural education and ministry and later the James G. K. McClure Professor of Theological Education.

Esterline started his ministry as a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) mission co-worker in Cameroon and the Fiji Islands. In that capacity he has served as a lecturer at Theological College, Presbyterian Church in Cameroon, and as academic dean, lecturer, and chair of the Biblical Studies department at Pacific Theological College in Suva, Fiji Islands.

He researches, writes, and lectures internationally about Christian theological education worldwide. Esterline is co-chair of the recently formed Global Forum of Theological Educators, an initiative designed to provide a common table for mutual sharing among Evangelical, Pentecostal, Historical Protestant, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Independent educators. Additionally, Esterline has worked extensively with the Association of Theological Schools, the accrediting body for more than 270 institutions in the United States and Canada that is headquartered in Pittsburgh. He was a member of the Board of Commission on Accrediting (chair, 2010-2012), chaired numerous comprehensive evaluations, and presented various workshops on topics including diversity. He has also served with the World Council of Churches focusing on ecumenical theological education.

His church service has primarily been in Illinois as well as California and Fiji. He currently serves as parish associate at Park Presbyterian Church in Streator, Ill. In the past, he served on a number of denominational committees.

Esterline will succeed the Rev. Dr. William J. Carl III, who is retiring from the Seminary in June after nearly 10 years of service. During his tenure, Carl led the Seminary into a successful capital campaign and reaccreditation, positioning PTS to thrive in a volatile economic environment.

Dr. Esterline is married to the Rev. Jane Esterline, pastor of Park Presbyterian Church in Streator, Ill. They served together as mission co-workers of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and have three children.

Esterline will become president-elect of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary Feb. 4, 2015, and will assume his duties as president June 15, 2015.