Life in the Marketplace of Ideas
The New "Game-Changer" President of Gordon College
Today Gordon College, one of the premier educational institutions in the firmament of American evangelicalism, catches a rising star as it completes a seven-month international search and names D. Michael Lindsay its new President. It's a bold, brilliant, sensational choice.
Dr. Lindsay co-authored two books with George Gallup, Jr., while still a graduate student. With degrees from Baylor, Princeton Theological Seminary, Oxford and Princeton University, Lindsay has published in leading journals in three fields, and his first solo book, Faith in the Halls of Power: How Evangelicals Joined the American Elite, was published by Oxford University Press and nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Now a professor of sociology at Rice who specializes in matters of leadership, culture and faith, Dr. Lindsay has interviewed former Presidents and world leaders and titans of industry, he has lectured on four continents, and his work—profiled in scores of media outlets from The New York Times and CNN to The Wall Street Journal and Fox News—reached an estimated audience of 145 million readers in the last year alone.
And Dr. Lindsay is not yet forty.
In 2006, the World Congress of Sociology named him the most promising sociologist in the world under the age of thirty-five. Now Gordon College has named him its President, and the chairman of the Board of Trustees, Kurt Keilhacker, calls him "a game-changer." The selection of D. Michael Lindsay represents a passing of the generational torch, a commitment to new ideas and new approaches, and an opportunity to raise the school's profile on the national and international stage. Gordon College announced the selection this morning; Dr. Lindsay spoke with Timothy Dalrymple by phone.
This selection means moving your family, shouldering responsibilities that ordinary academics do not have to bear, and becoming the spokesperson for one of the top Christian colleges in the nation. How do you feel?
I'm thrilled with this opportunity, extraordinarily blessed to be given a chance at this moment in Gordon's history. It's an amazing institution with a terrific legacy, and it's a very strong institution. Dr. Judson Carlberg has been a terrific President for nineteen years. So it's a dream job for someone who aspires to build on an island of strength, and Gordon is definitely that.
You're unusually young for a college president, and are leaping directly from a faculty position into the presidency rather than passing through the typical intermediate administrative positions. What makes you think you're ready?
I bring a scholar's passion, a young person's positive energy, and a deep sense of calling to this work. I love the constituency of Gordon College: its students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends. Although I'm not a Gordon alumnus, I understand the school's DNA. I've studied it, I appreciate it, and I embrace it.
I think that those are the kinds of things that are vital for someone to be effective as a college President. It's because I feel such a deep alignment with the school and its mission that I'm hopeful I can add real value.
Dr. Timothy Dalrymple is the Associate Director of Content at Patheos, and writes weekly on faith, politics, and culture for Patheos' Evangelical Portal. Follow him at his blog, Philosophical Fragments, on Facebook or on Twitter.