Jonathan L. Walton named Dean of the Wake Forest School of Divinity

President Nathan Hatch emailed this message to students, faculty and staff on April 28:

Dear Wake Forest Students, Faculty and Staff,

It is my pleasure to inform you that Wake Forest University has chosen Jonathan L. Walton to become the next Dean of the School of Divinity, effective July 1.

Walton is currently at Harvard, where he serves as the Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Pusey Minister in the University’s Memorial Church.  He is also Professor of Religion and Society at the Harvard Divinity School.

As both a distinguished preacher and scholar, Walton will bring exceptional leadership to Wake Forest’s School of Divinity. He has become an important national voice on religious and social issues and his wisdom and vision will help prepare our divinity students for meaningful lives of ministry.

Walton is nationally known for the practice of ministry, the teaching of ministry and his religious scholarship. He studies the intersections of religion, politics and media culture. His first book, “Watch This! The Ethics and Aesthetics of Black Televangelism,” examines the theological and political traditions of African American religious broadcasters. His latest book, “A Lens of Love: Reading the Bible in Its World for Our World,” is an extension of his work from the pulpit and classroom and offers guidance for those seeking to be rooted in faith while pursuing professional lives that are just, ethical and challenge inequity. His work and insights have been featured in several national and international news outlets including The New York Times, CNN, and the BBC.

Walton was an assistant professor of religious studies at the University of California, Riverside, before joining Harvard Divinity School as an assistant professor of African American religions. He has taught courses on topics including evangelicals and politics, African American religions, megachurches, and religious public intellectuals. He preaches in churches across the country. In 2015, he delivered the baccalaureate sermon during Wake Forest’s commencement weekend and was awarded an honorary doctor of divinity degree.

I am grateful to members of the search committee – chaired by Provost Rogan Kersh and guided by members of the Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, and divinity students and alumni – for bringing Walton to Wake Forest.

You can read the full press release here.

I look forward to welcoming him to campus.


Nathan O. Hatch