Princeton Seminary president to retire in 2023

M. Craig Barnes

Princeton Theological Seminary President M. Craig Barnes has announced that he will retire in 2023.

Barnes, the seventh president of the seminary, has led the school since January of 2013.  A 1981 graduate of the seminary, he previously taught at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and served as the pastor of the 1,100-member Shadyside Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh

“Princeton Theological Seminary was one of the world’s preeminent theological schools long before I arrived. It has been an incredible honor to help it navigate its way into a new day of service to a changing church and society,” Barnes said.

In the past nine years, nearly half of the current faculty has been hired, and there has been a complete revision of the school’s curriculum.  During the tenure of Barnes, the racial, gender, and denominational diversity of both the student body and the faculty also has significantly grown.  He led the school through a journey of confession and repentance of the school’s historical connections to slavery, resulting in the report “Princeton Seminary and Slavery” that resulted in a multi-year action plan with more than 20 initiatives designed to spark meaningful and lasting change, ranging from increased student financial assistance to curriculum changes to ensuring every member of the community understands its history.

“Over the last nine years, President Barnes has guided the Seminary through a period of significant change. In turn, this community is now ready to embrace the future with honesty, courage, and confidence in God’s abiding love,” said Michael Frisch, chair of the board of trustees.

In January, the board of trustees elected a presidential search committee that includes representatives from the faculty and student body. The search committee will soon begin the search for a new leader.

Founded in 1812, Princeton Theological Seminary is the first seminary established by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church. Its mission is to educate leaders for the church worldwide. Its students and more than 11,000 graduates from all 50 states and many nations serve churches and other organizations.

“When I began my service as your president, I stated often that I took this job because I love the seminary,” Barnes said. “As I approach the end of that service I know the seminary far better than when I began, and I love it even more. That’s because I keep seeing signs of God’s faithful love for our covenant community. And that never retires.”