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Whitworth president emeritus William P. Robinson elected chair of Princeton Theological Seminary board of trustees

May 29, 2013

Whitworth president emeritus William P. Robinson was elected chairman of the board of trustees at Princeton Theological Seminary on May 22. Robinson began serving in his new role immediately.

"Historically, Princeton has made a huge contribution not only to the Presbyterian church but also to the global church,” Robinson says. “It has a 200-year history of training leaders. The opportunity to help the seminary think in terms of what's needed for the next generation of pastors and scholars is very exciting to me.”

Robinson says he looks forward to working with the board on various challenges that are common at seminaries around the country. One of Robinson’s goals for the board is to ensure that Princeton is synchronizing the contributions of the seminary with the needs of the 21st century church. “Princeton needs to apply its abundant strengths to the challenges awaiting today’s pastor-scholars. Christ’s gospel doesn’t change, but the way it’s lived and proclaimed does.”

“Bill Robinson’s election as Princeton’s board chair affirms his place as one of the brightest minds and most capable proponents of Christian higher education in the country,” says Whitworth President Beck A. Taylor. “I know personally what it is like to have Bill’s wisdom and experience as a resource, and that makes me confident that his leadership will serve Princeton’s board and President Craig Barnes extremely well.” The Rev. Dr. M. Craig Barnes was elected president of Princeton Theological Seminary on Jan. 1, 2013.

“Bill understands what it means to help a school turn into the wind of social change,” Barnes says. “Like all seminaries, Princeton has to make the adjustments necessary to be relevant to the church and the culture in which it exists. Bill has more insight about higher education administration than anyone I know.”

Robinson, who has served on Princeton’s board since 2000, says he looks forward to continuing to support Whitworth alumni who attend the seminary. Whitworth is one of the leading undergraduate institutions in the number of students it sends to Princeton. “Over the years, that's been a very fascinating part of my trustee role, the opportunity to spend time with Whitworth alumni at Princeton,” Robinson says.

Robinson served as Whitworth's 17th president from 1993 to 2010, after serving previously as president of Manchester College (now Manchester University), in Indiana, from 1986 to 1993. His tenure as Whitworth's president was the second longest and one of the most influential in the university's history. In his role as president emeritus, Robinson works closely with Whitworth President Beck Taylor and the university's institutional advancement staff on external relations. He also writes and speaks widely on leadership, organizational culture and communication in corporate, non-profit and ministry settings.

Princeton Seminary was established in 1812 by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church as a post-graduate professional school of theology. It is the largest Presbyterian seminary in the country, with more than 500 students in six graduate degree programs.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The university, which has an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Barbara Chaapel, director of communications and publications, Princeton Theological Seminary, (609) 497-7760 or

Lucas Beechinor, media relations manager, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or