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Dr. Johnny B. Hill

Dr. Johnny Hill Appointed as New Dean of the School of Divinity

Dr. Johnny Bernard Hill, a leader in the field of religious studies with particular scholarly interest in diversity and community development, has been appointed dean of the Shaw University School of Divinity. Hill will begin his position on June 21, 2017.

Hill currently serves as the Department Chair and Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Claflin University in Orangeburg, South Carolina.  He recently held the position as Special Martin Luther King Jr. Scholar in Residence and Dean of The Baptist School of Theology at The Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Other roles served include associate professor of theology at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and earlier he served as Director of African American Student Affairs at Northwestern University. He also formerly held positions as President of the Foundation for Reconciliation and Dialogue and Senior Pastor of the historic Greater Good Hope Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky.

A noted scholar, Hill is the author of Prophetic Rage: A Postcolonial Theology of Liberation and The First Black President: Barack Obama, Race, Politics, and the American Dream. He has written numerous articles and essays and presented at colleges, seminaries and universities across the nation, including Princeton University, the University of Chicago, Johns Hopkins University, McCormick Theological Seminary, Bellarmine University, and Mercer University.

"Becoming a part of the historic legacy of Shaw Divinity School is an extraordinary opportunity to contribute to the broader mission of Shaw University as the oldest HBCU in the South," states Hill. "I am so deeply honored to be called to serve as the next Dean of Shaw Divinity School.  As a teacher, scholar, and minister in the Baptist tradition, it is an incredible privilege to be able to serve with such a distinguished faculty, wonderful students, and exceptional leadership team."

Hill’s appointment follows a national search, informed by a faculty committee.  Divinity School faculty, staff and students had the opportunity to interact with Dr. Hill and provided input in the selection process. "Dr. Hill's broad achievements as a scholar and pastoral leader make him well-equipped to guide and strengthen the next century of theological higher education at Shaw," said Dr. Paulette Dillard, vice president for academic affairs.

After a military tour, Hill earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA.  He later completed master degrees in divinity and theology at Duke University Divinity School and a Ph.D. in Philosophical Theology at Garrett Seminary on the campus of Northwestern University.During his Ph.D. studies, Dr. Hill became active in community development, gang prevention, immigration reform, reconciliation, and working for economic justice in Chicago.  He is Founder and President of The World House, an interfaith coalition of faith leaders from diverse religious and cultural traditions working together to continue Dr. King’s dream of racial and economic justice.

Hill succeeds Dr. David Forbes, a 1962 graduate of Shaw University who served as Interim Dean of the Divinity School from May 2014 until his retirement in May 2016. Dr. Forbes, who also served on the University’s Board of Trustees prior to his appointment, led a number of successful initiatives at the University and in the Raleigh Community.

Shaw University's Theological Department conferred its first bachelor of theology degree on four students in 1900. Today, the Divinity School is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS) and by the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges (SACS) as the graduate school of Shaw University. Shaw University Divinity School is a recognized leader in theological education.