Dr. Gillett installed as Seminary’s 17th president

Dr. Gillett and studentsLexington, Ky., Dec. 5, 2011 – Observing that hope “is more than wishful thinking,” the Rev. Dr. Charisse L. Gillett called upon all those who work in and alongside Lexington Theological Seminary to support its efforts to meet the needs of students and congregations at her service of installation as the Seminary’s 17th president Dec. 4.

“We must embrace a new narrative for LTS as we integrate and cultivate what we do in the classroom with our realities in the church…as we take God’s word and begin to shepherd God’s people,” Gillett said during her inaugural address. “We must, at every level, embrace the promise of all we have.” Gillett spoke of the transformational power of education and the Seminary’s bold choice to completely restructure its approach to theological education and shaping students for ministry.

The Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins, General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and delegates from church organizations, a host of congregations, other academic institutions, as well as former LTS presidents and current students, trustees, officers, faculty and staff participated in the service at Central Christian Church Sunday afternoon. On Saturday, Gillett was held in prayer at a service with her home congregation, East Second Street Christian Church in Lexington, where her husband, the Rev. Dr. Donald Gillett II, is senior pastor.

Gillett was welcomed as president in July following the retirement of the Rev. Dr. James Johnson. Gillett previously served as Vice President of Administration and Special Projects at LTS. She has more than 20 years of successful administrative experience in higher education, including service at Transylvania University, Midway College, Robert Morris College and University of Northern Iowa. She holds a doctorate in education from Northern Illinois University. A former moderator of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), she has been a commissioned minister by the Christian Church in Kentucky since August 2010. She is also a former LTS trustee and officer of the board.

Dr. Gillett’s appointment is a historic one in the 146-year history of LTS. She is the first woman and first African-American to lead the Seminary as president. “Dr. Gillett has an outstanding depth of knowledge and experience about the Seminary,” said LTS Board of Trustees president Rev. Gary Kidwell. “LTS has a storied history of shaping people for ministry, and with Dr. Gillett’s leadership, we look forward to an exciting future for the Seminary.”


Lexington Theological Seminary is a graduate theological institution of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), accredited by the Association of Theological Schools.  Consistent with the Disciples’ historic commitment to Christian unity, the Seminary is intentionally ecumenical with students, faculty, staff and trustees of various denominations. The Seminary has been preparing leaders for the church since 1865. For more information, visit www.lextheo.edu.