American Academy of Religion Names Alice Hunt as Executive Director

March 29, 2018

After a year-long search, the American Academy of Religion has selected Dr. Alice W. Hunt, President of Chicago Theological Seminary, to serve as its next Executive Director. Dr. Hunt will begin work on July 1, 2018, succeeding Dr. Jack Fitzmier, who is retiring after twelve successful years of service as AAR Executive Director.

David Gushee, President of the AAR, announced Dr. Hunt’s appointment. "We are thrilled to be able to present Alice Hunt as the next Executive Director of the American Academy of Religion. Her leadership gifts, administrative experience, and love for the AAR make a compelling combination. She is committed to protecting the character of the AAR, with its highly diverse membership in terms of demographics and methodology, and to accomplishing our strategic plan of advancing scholarship in religion and the public understanding of religion.”

Dr. Hunt earned M.T.S., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees from Vanderbilt University's Divinity School, where she taught Hebrew Bible and eventually served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. In 2008, she was named President of Chicago Theological Seminary, which she has led with great distinction for the last decade. Dr. Hunt leaves CTS in a strong position amid the turbulent environment of theological education in the United States.

Dr. Hunt has served effectively in leadership roles in the Chief Academic Officers Society, the Association of Theological Schools, the Society of Biblical Literature, and the AAR itself, where she has served on the Board of Directors, the Executive Committee, the Audit Committee, the Strategic Planning Task Force, and as Chair of the Committee on the Status of Women in the Profession.

"I am honored to serve the members of the AAR at a time when the study of religion and the public understanding of religion have never been more important. Building on our strong legacy, I look forward to working with the board, staff, and members as we meet our mission in this time of change and opportunity,” stated Dr. Hunt.

The search for a new AAR Executive Director was facilitated by Terri Theisen, of Theisen Consulting, and led by a Search Committee consisting of Kecia Ali, Eddie Glaude, Michael McNally, Laurie Patton, Jonathan Sarna, and David Gushee, serving as chair. Dr. Hunt was selected unanimously by the search committee and approved unanimously by the full Board of Directors.