One-time New Testament professor Linda McKinnish Bridges will return to Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond as president if approved by the Virginia seminary’s trustee board March 21.
A presidential search committee announced her nomination to replace current President Ron Crawford, who retires July 1.
McKinnish Bridges, currently senior director of Shorelight Education, a consulting firm based in Boston that specializes in international higher education, was part of the original faculty when BTSR opened for classes in 1991.
She moved to Wake Forest University in 2001, holding a variety of positions at the school in Winston-Salem, N.C.: associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, consultant to the provost, associate director of admissions and adjunct professor , director of admissions for Wake Forest Divinity School, director of the WFU China Initiative and associate dean of admissions and director of program development in China in the provost’s office.
Since January 2016 she has been managing director of the International University Alliance, a global network of educational institutions working together to build international relationships.
Daughter of a “mountain preacher” who led churches in North and South Carolina and preached revivals across a dozen states, McKinnish Bridges graduated from Meredith College before serving with her husband as a Southern Baptist missionary to Taiwan, where she preached on weekends in Mandarin Chinese.
She returned to the United States to attend Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where she earned both the M.Div. and Ph.D. degrees and was active in the founding of Baptist Women in Ministry.
She was invited to teach Greek at the seminary during the 1980s-era theological conflict in the Southern Baptist Convention, but was eventually told her contract would not be renewed because the school’s conservative leaders did not approve of a woman teaching or holding authority over men.
If elected McKinnish Bridges will become third president of the free-standing seminary formed by the Alliance of Baptists, and the first woman to hold the position. Today it is one of 15 theological education programs partnering with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.
“Rev. Dr. Linda McKinnish Bridges represents our heritage as one of the seminary’s original professors at its founding,” said Bert Browning, chair of the presidential search committee. “She embodies our hope, as we look to her wise leadership for the challenging and promising days ahead. She joins us in the here and now to link our past and our future.”
On top of her theological studies, she added an MBA from Wake Forest University in 2004.