Reverend Dr. Edwin David Aponte appointed Dean of Drew Theological School

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Reverend Dr. Edwin David Aponte appointed Dean of Drew Theological School

Aponte will take office on June 1

February 2022 – Drew University appointed the Reverend Dr. Edwin David Aponte as the new dean of its theological school. His term will begin on June 1.

Currently, Aponte serves as executive director of the Louisville Institute in Louisville, Kentucky, where he has achieved great success in missionary philanthropy and interfaith work. Drew Theological School has a long-standing partnership with the Louisville Institute to support the training of theological educators in host postdoctoral fellows with visiting professors at University. He is also a research professor of religion and culture at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.


The Reverend Dr. Edwin David Aponte

“Reverend Dr. Edwin Aponte’s experience in higher education and the church will enrich the work of our students and continue the trajectory of success in theological school,” said Thomas J. Schwarz, President of Drew University.

Aponte has a diverse and extensive experience in higher education. He served for nearly a decade at the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University, where he was both a full professor of Christianity and culture and director of advanced studies.

Prior to Louisville, Aponte served as dean and chief administrator of Palmer Theological Seminary, vice president of academic affairs and dean of faculty at Christian Theological Seminary, and vice president of academic affairs and dean of seminary at Lancaster Theological Seminary.

In addition, Aponte has served on the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, Accrediting Commission of the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), Commission on Accreditation of Marriage and Family Therapy Education, Council Board of Counseling and Related Education Programs, the North Central Association Commission on Higher Education, and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

Aponte received his bachelor’s degree from Gordon College, his master of arts in theological studies from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and his master of arts in religion and his doctorate in religion and society from Temple University.

“The distinctive mission, identity, and commitments of Drew Theological School correspond to my own vocation as a teacher and theological administrator. I am honored and delighted to be invited to lead the Theological School in this upcoming season of creative, courageous and contextual theological education that will help the Church and society flourish in our ever-changing environments. “said Aponte.

Aponte will succeed Rev. Dr. Melanie Johnson-DeBaufre, professor of New Testament, who has served as acting dean since Rev. Dr. Javier Viera left in 2020 to become president of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Aponte and Johnson-DeBaufre will work together to enable a smooth transition.

“Drew expresses his deepest gratitude to the Reverend Dr. Melanie Johnson-DeBaufre for serving as Acting Dean of the School of Theology for the past two years. Thanks to his leadership, Drew Theological School was well prepared to transition to remote and asynchronous learning for all students. We are grateful for his leadership and dedication to continuing to grow our school and supporting faculty and students during this difficult time,” said University President Jessica L. Lakin.

As a scholar and educator, Aponte bridges interdisciplinary, multicultural, ecumenical, and international perspectives while practicing a central feature of Latin theologies, teología en conjunto, with his collaborative methodology of cooperative and shared work.

Aponte’s research and teaching focus on North American religions and cultures, particularly Latinx and African American Christianity. He studies issues of diversity, multicultural and cross-cultural realities, religion and politics, and the links between race, ethnicity and religion.

A former ordained teacher/Minister of Word and Sacrament, Aponte worked in conjunction with the establishment of the Center for Latin American Studies and the Institute for International and Cultural Studies at North Park University, as well as the Center of study of Latin Christianity / a. and religions at the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University (funded by grants from the Henry Luce Foundation).

Aponte is a well-respected speaker, an accomplished grant writer, and the author of several books and countless chapters, articles, and papers.

“This is a moment of unprecedented change for higher education, and for theological education in particular. I am confident that Drew Theological School will continue to thrive under Dr. Aponte’s leadership as Dean,” Lakin said.

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