Nashotah House dean to step down, return to teaching at Episcopal seminary

Posted Sep 28, 2023

[Nashotah House Theological Seminary] Garwood Anderson has announced his intention to retire from his role as dean of Nashotah House Theological Seminary at the conclusion of the 2023-24 academic year to return to the classroom and biblical scholarship as the Donald J. Parsons Distinguished Professor of Biblical Interpretation.

Garwood Anderson

Garwood Anderson joined Nashotah House Theological Seminary in 2007 as a New Testament professor and has served as acting dean and dean since 2017. Photo: Parker Asplin/Nashotah House

Anderson joined the Nashotah House faculty in 2007 as associate professor of New Testament and Greek and served as academic dean from 2009 to 2012. In August 2017, he assumed the role of acting dean and was appointed permanently to lead the seminary the following year.

During his tenure as dean, Anderson has led the 181-year-old seminary in Nashotah, Wisconsin, through a period of stabilization and growth. A concerted effort to build partnerships with dioceses and parishes has contributed to significant gains in enrollment and institutional support. Amid widespread decline in enrollment among seminaries nationally, Nashotah House’s full-time equivalent enrollment has more than doubled from 2018 to 2023, from 52 in 2017 to 119 by the fall of 2023. Over 50 dioceses or ecclesial jurisdictions are now represented among the seminary’s student body, a reflection of Anderson’s commitment to building bridges across the Anglican tradition.

Anderson has placed a particular focus on sharing the mission of Nashotah House with new audiences and raising support for the seminary to help secure its financial footing. Accepting as many invitations as possible, Anderson has made trips to 47 cities since early 2022, reconnecting with hundreds of alumni and preaching and teaching in dozens of parishes.

Between fiscal year 2022 and 2023 alone, donations to the seminary’s annual fund increased by 33%, and its donor base grew by 31%, with 174 individuals or organizations giving to Nashotah House for the first time. Since 2018, unrestricted giving to the annual fund has increased by 122%.

Anderson also oversaw several key additions to the faculty, including the Rev. Hans Boersma, the Rev. Greg Peters, Elisabeth Kincaid, Geoffrey Williams and the Rev. Paul Wheatley.

With the seminary now positioned for further growth, Anderson’s transition paves the way for a new leader to steer Nashotah House into its next season.

“The past six years have been challenging, exhilarating and deeply rewarding,” Anderson said. “I’ve been honored to work with a team of faculty and staff that is so dedicated to the mission of raising up leaders for the church. Any successes we’ve seen are a credit to that dedication. This transition comes at a time of great progress, and I’m heartened to know my successor will be taking the helm of an institution with as much promise as the House holds.”

Michael Curry at Nashotah

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, speaking in September 2017 at Nashotah House Theological Seminary in Nashotah, Wisconsin, gets a laugh from the crowd, including Acting Dean Garwood Anderson, center, and Bishop Daniel Martins, right. Photo: David Paulsen/Episcopal News Service

“Dr. Anderson’s leadership has been instrumental in bringing greater stability and enhancing the sustainability of Nashotah House. He has worked tirelessly to initiate and reinvigorate relationships with parishes, sending dioceses, and mission partners; those efforts speak for themselves in our enrollment and fundraising gains over the past six years,” said the Rev. Edward Monk, chair of the Nashotah House Board of Directors. “While this work has necessitated a great deal of travel and time away from the House, Anderson’s commitment to promoting the health of the campus community, rigor of its academic programs and its effectiveness in developing future ministers for Christ’s church has not wavered. We are deeply grateful for his service, which has been marked by integrity, godly leadership, and robust faith in Jesus Christ.”

Known to many Nashotah House alumni as a scholar and academic mentor, Anderson will return to the classroom and other projects following his term as dean.

“My call to theological education has always been first as a teacher,” Anderson said. “Stepping out of the classroom and serving in an administrative role these past six years has been a labor of love for the sake of the House’s mission. Returning to the classroom and research for the remaining years of my career puts me in even closer proximity to that mission by working directly with the next generation of ministers for the church.”

The Nashotah House Board of Directors will establish a timeline and process for the appointment of a successor.