Dr. Jonathan L. Walton has been named dean of the School of Divinity at Wake Forest University.
Walton comes to Wake Forest from Harvard University where he served as the Plummer Professor of Christian Morals, Pusey Minister in the university’s Memorial Church and Professor of Religion and Society at the Harvard Divinity School. In addition to his deanship, the Atlanta native and ordained Baptist minister will serve as the Presidential Chair of Religion and Society at WFU.
“Wake Forest University’s motto, Pro Humanitate (For Humanity), captures my commitment to theological education. Research and teaching are not simply ‘academic exercises’ for me,” Walton said. “The pursuit of knowledge is a sacred task insofar as we are called to better the lives of others, particularly the most vulnerable. I am excited to serve a divinity school with such a clear intellectual vision, concrete vocational mission and demonstrated commitment to diversity.”
Walton is a noted religious scholar and preacher whose work explores the intersections of religion, politics and media culture. He is the author of Watch This! The Ethics and Aesthetics of Black Televangelism and A Lens of Love: Reading the Bible in Its World for Our World.
Wake Forest leaders said Walton’s presence on campus will be invaluable for faculty, staff and students due to his “admirably collaborative style, inspirational and creative approach to colleague-ship and deep roots across theological and religious communities,” according to university provost Dr. Rogan Kersh.
Wake Forest president Dr. Nathan O. Hatch added that Walton will bring “exceptional leadership” to the university’s School of Divinity. He said the incoming dean has become an “important national voice on religious and social issues and his wisdom and vision will help prepare our divinity students for meaningful lives of ministry.”
Walton earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Morehouse College and a master of divinity degree and PhD from Princeton Theological Seminary.