Princeton, N.J. – Dr. Thomas W. Gillespie, Class of 1954 (M.Div.), retiring Princeton Seminary president was awarded with the Princeton Seminary’s Distinguished Alumnus Award at its annual Reunion Banquet held May 21, along Dr. Joseph L. Roberts, Class of 1968 (Th.M.), senior pastor of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia.
The two-day gathering was themed, “Preaching in the 21st Century,” recognizing graduates over the past 10 years.
Gillespie, who earned his Ph.D. from Claremont College, in Claremont, California, began his ministry as a new church development pastor. Prior to his tenure as president of Princeton Theological Seminary twenty-one years ago, he served as head of staff for a large Presbyterian congregation in Burlingame, California and was part of the faculty of Princeton Seminary teaching the New Testament.
In the press release, Princeton Seminary stated that Gillespie’s “ unyielding commitment to scholarship, preaching, leadership, and love of God’s people has greatly influenced the next generation of pastors.”
Princeton Seminary also noted faculty development and increase of faculty diversity as the biggest achievement during Gilespire’s tenure.
“During his presidency, Tom has delivered numerous sermons both on and off the campus. Regularly at convocations and commencements, and weekly in Miller Chapel, he has faithfully demonstrated the relevance of Reformed theology, biblical scholarship, and pastoral sensitivity to the many problems confronting the contemporary church, the Seminary, and the wider world,” Peter J. Paris, the Elmer G. Homrig-hausen Professor of Christian Social Ethics at Princeton Seminary, wrote in InSpire, Princeton Seminary’s publication.
He added, “Similarly, I have never known anyone whose public prayers have been more inspiring than those that Tom offers regularly when chairing the many meetings needed to accomplish the business of this complex institution.”
Gillespie’s role within the Presbyterian Church (USA) as a whole has been also very recognized -- for his leadership to broadening the Presbyterian academic programs as well as to promoting the theological education. Princeton reported that undress his leadership, the capital expansion of the denomination came to fruition.
Starting this fall, The Right Reverend Professor Iain R. Torrance TD will be serving as the sixth president of Princeton Theological Seminary. Torrance is moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Divinity at the University of Aberdeen, and master of Christ’s College, Aberdeen, where he is professor in patristics and Christian ethics.