The Rev. Dr. Dean O. Wenthe has accepted the call, effective immediately, to serve as president of the Concordia University System (CUS), which serves to further the objectives of higher education within The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod as carried out by its colleges and universities.
Wenthe, retired president of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind., has been serving as CUS interim president since October 2013.
Chief among Wenthe’s responsibilities will be overseeing the collective and cooperative efforts of the CUS colleges and universities in the development of curriculum, funding, information systems, communications and shared services, all while working to ensure and maintain a core Lutheran identity across the CUS.
“As one who is a lifelong beneficiary of a superlative education at Concordia University Wisconsin, Mequon, and Concordia Senior College (then at Fort Wayne, Ind.), it is a great privilege to serve in this capacity and by God’s grace support and enhance a system that has enriched the church’s life so significantly and promises to provide the spiritual depth and intellectual rigor that will form students as witnesses to the beauty and trustworthiness of the Christian faith,” said Wenthe. “Our universities — defined by our confession of Christ and our Lutheran identity — are jewels in the church’s culture and call for our affection and support.”
Wenthe served as president of Concordia Theological Seminary from 1996 to 2011, and remains a member of the faculty, now deployed, as professor of exegetical theology. He originally joined the faculty in 1980 as a professor of the Old Testament.
A 1971 graduate of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Wenthe also earned a master’s degree in the Old Testament and ethics from Princeton Theological Seminary (1975), and a master’s degree in the Old Testament, ethics, and the New Testament (1985) and a doctorate (1991) from the University of Notre Dame. He served as pastor of Zion Lutheran Church, Atlantic, Iowa, from 1974 to 1980 and as pastoral assistant at Emanuel Lutheran Church, New Haven, Ind., from 1990 to 1996.
Wenthe is the general editor of Concordia Commentary: A Theological Exposition of Sacred Scripture (Concordia Publishing House) and was associate editor of the NIV Concordia Self-Study Bible (Concordia Publishing House). He also edited the volume on Jeremiah/Lamentations in the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (InterVarsity Press, 2009).
“I give heartfelt thanks to God for leading Dr. Wenthe to accept this call of service to his Lord, Jesus Christ,” said the Rev. Dr. Daniel N. Jastram, CUS board chairman. “Dr. Wenthe’s manifold talents and rich experience in higher education, scholarship, academic administration, development, leadership and overall churchmanship provide the highest recommendation our board could desire. We pray that God will bless Dr. Wenthe’s work of ministry as president of the Concordia University System to the glory of God’s holy name, the building of His church, and the temporal and eternal welfare of many people.”
As required by LCMS Bylaws, the appointing of the university system’s president was made with the concurrence of LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison.