From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Hispanic pastor to lead Iliff seminary, marking a first

From NewsDesk <NewsDesk@UMCOM.UMC.ORG>
Date 05 Apr 2000 14:46:51

April 5, 2000 News media contact: Linda Green·(615)742-5470·Nashville, Tenn.

NOTE: A head-and-shoulders photograph is available with this story.

By United Methodist News Service

The first Hispanic ever to lead a United Methodist-related seminary will
take office June 1 as president of 108-year-old Iliff School of Theology,  

The Rev. David Maldonado, 57, has been appointed as the 12th president of
the Denver seminary, succeeding the Rev. Donald E. Messer, who led the
school for 19 years. 

Besides being the first Hispanic to take the helm of one of the 13 United
Methodist-related theological schools, Maldonado is the only Hispanic to
lead one of the 135 Protestant denominational schools that are currently
members of the Association of Theological Schools, based in Pittsburgh.

Maldonado is a clergy member of the United Methodist Church's Rio Grande
Annual Conference. He is the professor of church and society at Perkins
School of Theology, a United Methodist-related seminary in Dallas, and he
will hold that same position at Iliff.

"It is an honor and a delight to serve such an historic and prestigious
institution," Maldonado said.  "Iliff has been at the forefront of many
theological and social issues, and I expect that it will continue to be so
in the future."

Nearly half of Iliff's 300 students are United Methodist, and the other half
consists of students from more than 30 other denominations. International
students from 16 countries also contribute to the diversity of the seminary.
The faculty includes Christians, a Buddhist and a Hindu. It also has
cross-registration with Denver Seminary, a conservative Baptist school in
south Denver.

Maldonado said that as president, he joins a community of faculty, staff,
students and supporters engaged in "serious theological reflection and
sincere efforts to address our social context."

The United Methodist Church and other denominations served by the seminary
are "important and integral partners" in preparing clergy and laity for
ministry, he said, and "anything I can do to foster these partnerships will
be my constant challenge."

"As a fourth-generation Methodist and a Hispanic, I bring a deep
appreciation for religious heritage and ethnic identity," he said. "I join
Iliff in affirming the ecumenical tradition and the spirit of diversity and

Maldonado has been associated with Perkins School of Theology since 1984 and
served as associate dean of academic affairs there from 1993 to 1997. He has
taught at the School of Health and Human Services at California State
University in Los Angeles and the Graduate School of Social Work at the
University of Texas at Arlington. He earned master's and doctoral degrees in
social work from the University of California, Berkeley, was a community
organizer in Fort Worth, Texas, and worked on a migrant project in Wichita,

He is the author of numerous articles and has contributed to a number of
books. He is the editor of Protestantes/Protestants: Hispanic Christianity
Within Mainline Traditions and coeditor with Paul Barton of Hispanic
Christianity Within Mainline Protestant Traditions -- A Bibliography.

J. Robert Young, chairman of Iliff's board of trustees, said Maldonado
brings to the president's position a record of academic scholarship, service
to the church and involvement in the public sector.

Said Young: "We are confident that he shares Iliff's commitment to prepare
students for quality religious, academic and community leadership and to
enhance the school's position as an educational center for the church and
the wider community."

# # #

United Methodist News Service
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