General Seminary Appoints Interim President

New York City – In accordance with an action plan made at their meeting last month, the Board of Trustees of The General Theological Seminary on June 9 unanimously approved the Rev. Lang Lowrey III, 56, to be the Seminary’s Interim President. Lowrey is currently founding vicar at St. Benedict’s Episcopal Church in Smyrna, Georgia and also serves as a senior partner in two Atlanta based firms, Renova, a bank restructuring and consulting company, and Genesis Business Advisory, which provides management and investment services to small- and mid-sized businesses.

Seminary trustees decided that the serious financial challenges currently faced by the Seminary would be most effectively addressed by dividing the position of Dean and President into two separate positions, a practice common in most academic institutions. As President, Lowrey will have all constitutional powers previously lodged with the Dean and President; however the Seminary will also begin an immediate search for a Dean to have oversight of the academic and day-to-day operations of General. “We believe Fr. Lowrey is uniquely qualified to lead the Seminary in addressing its immediate challenges and to prepare the way for longer-term leadership beyond the interim period,” said Chair of the Board’s search committee Dr. Michael Gilligan.

After college at Georgia Tech and Georgia State, Lowrey owned and ran several successful ventures before selling them to create Buckhead Technology Angels to incubate emerging technology companies. He twice was selected to run Fortune 500 firms facing difficult challenges, implementing complex turnaround plans and securing robust equity events. Following a period of discernment, he responded to a call to ordained ministry. As a postulant from the Diocese of Atlanta, he attended Candler School of Theology and was ordained to priesthood in 2004. Following parish ministry in Florida, Fr. Lowrey was asked by Bishop Neil Alexander to plant a church and day school in the Diocese of Atlanta.  This new start involved locating, financing and purchasing land, designing the facility, building the church and most importantly, finding parishioners.  St. Benedict’s Episcopal Church and Day School is now fully established, and is in the process of calling a rector to replace Lowrey, the founding vicar.

“Fr. Lowrey brings to GTS a unique combination of skills that match perfectly the Seminary’s immediate institutional needs,” said Board chair the Rev. Canon Denis O’Pray at a gathering of students, faculty, and staff following the Board meeting. “He has high-level and proven abilities in the areas of management, finance, and administration while also possessing an in-depth knowledge of the Episcopal Church and its ordained ministry.” Following the remarks by Canon O’Pray, Lowrey addressed the community. “God is offering us a great opportunity,” he told those assembled in Seabury Auditorium. “Dramatic actions are needed within the next sixty days but the opportunity to take this task and to succeed is truly awesome. We need to embrace the reality of the situation but I have confidence in our collective abilities.” O’Pray said that Fr. Lowrey would begin work immediately, before the departure of the Seminary’s current Dean and President, the Very Rev. Ward B. Ewing, so that there is ample time for the two to work together to ensure a smooth transition. Dean Ewing had announced in December of 2009 his intention to retire and, with his wife Jenny Ewing, to return to their family homestead in Ten Mile, Tennessee. On the evening of May 18 over 300 well wishers attended a Festive Farewell to the Ewings held in the space that will become the Seminary’s new library.

The General Theological Seminary in the heart of Manhattan is a vibrant community dedicated to the critically important enterprise of theological education.  Founded in 1817 as the first seminary of the Episcopal Church, General cherishes its heritage while enthusiastically embracing the challenges of preparing leaders for the church in a changing world. Over the past decade, the Seminary has made a $70 million investment in preserving its landmarked campus; has opened a major conference facility, the Desmond Tutu Center; and has undertaken one of the largest geothermal initiatives in the northeast. General’s new state-of-the-art library is slated to open in 2011. The Seminary extends a warm invitation for all constituencies to share in its mission and in the excitement of its ongoing life.

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Media Contact:

Bruce Parker
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The General Theological Seminary
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The General Seminary of the Protestant Episcopal Church is a tax exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.