CHICAGO (Dec. 19, 2022) — The Rev. Lamont Wells has been named executive director of the Network of ELCA Colleges and Universities (NECU), effective Jan. 3, 2023.


Wells has served as program director for ELCA Campus Ministry since 2019. In this role he has provided leadership to the Lutheran Campus Ministry Network (LuMin), comprising over 240 colleges and universities. Wells is also national president of the African Descent Lutheran Association (ADLA).


“I’m excited to join the Network of ELCA Colleges and Universities as executive director,” said Wells. “NECU is known for dynamic experiences in higher education that help students gain meaning and purpose alongside rigorous academic pursuits. I look forward to expanding our reach to a wider audience through our mission and strategic plan. I intend to build upon the synergy of our Lutheran heritage and innovation, along with NECU’s academic leadership, faculty and staff.”


NECU was established in 2015 in collaboration with the ELCA’s 27 colleges and universities to promote their shared mission and identity.


“The ELCA and our colleges and universities have forged a strong partnership over the last few years,” said the Rev. Philip Hirsch, ELCA executive director for Christian Community and Leadership. “We look forward to Pastor Wells’ leadership that will help identify and create new opportunities for shared mission, especially as we consider that over half of those under 21 are reflective of the growing diversity in our communities and, we hope, in our church.”


Wells earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in sociology and religion from Morehouse College in Atlanta in 1995, and Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Christian Education degrees from Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta in 2003.


“The presidents of NECU’s institutions found the breadth of Pastor Wells’ professional experience and his student-centered approach very compelling,” said Dr. Susan Traverso, president of Thiel College and of NECU. “We believe he will readily build effective and trusted partnerships across our campuses to complement the many relationships he currently enjoys within the church, inspiring action and collaboration that will empower constituencies to successfully implement NECU’s strategic plan.”


“As I take on this new and critically important role,” Wells said, “my prayer is to faithfully lead NECU in an educational renaissance that collectively embraces a culture of diversity, equity, inclusion and lifelong learning. My greatest hope is that we will see the profound impact of this network of 27 colleges and universities producing more graduates that will fulfill their divine calling, address global inequities and facilitate new pathways for sustainability.”


The Rev. Mark Wilhelm has served as NECU executive director since 2015 and will retire Jan. 31,  2023.


The Rev. Lamont Wells will continue his work as Strategic Advisor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion with Wartburg Theological Seminary.