WTS Announces Appointment of New President


Louise.Johnson-webDUBUQUE, IA – April 22, 2015 – In its spring board meeting, the Wartburg Theological Seminary Board of Directors elected its fourteenth president, Rev. Louise N. Johnson. She was joyfully welcomed at a seminary community gathering following chapel today.  Rev. Johnson is a graduate of Wartburg Theological Seminary and has served at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) since 2004 where she is currently Vice President for Mission Advancement.

Chair of the Presidential Search Committee and Chair of the Board of Directors, Rev. Dr. Stephen Cornils, said, “The Wartburg Seminary Presidential Search Committee and Board of Directors believe God has called the Rev. Louise N. Johnson to extend Wartburg’s deep commitments, traditions and shape of mission forward in bold visioning and holy experimentation:  serving the Lord’s Church as a spirit-driven seminary hardwired for courageous cultural engagement and evangelical effectiveness.”

Johnson has served in various roles at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia since 2004, most recently as the Vice President for Mission Advancement, a position she has held since 2012. Prior to her time at LTSP, she served as the Associate Director of Admissions at Wartburg Theological Seminary from 1999 to 2004 and also as the pastor of Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church in Spragueville, Iowa from 2000 to 2004. Johnson received her Master of Divinity degree from Wartburg Theological Seminary (1999) and her Bachelor of Arts in German from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio (1991).

President-Elect Johnson said of her new appointment, “I am incredibly proud to be a WTS graduate.  We can certainly claim our fair share of Bishops, teachers, and churchwide leaders, but what makes me really proud to say I am a graduate are the thousands of church leaders who are on the front lines making the difference in people’s lives everyday – those who sit by bedsides and stand at gravesides, those who preach and pray and accompany, the ones who tend to children, and serve and love the least, the lost, and the broken.  I am proud to be part of this tradition and proud to lead the school that has formed valued leaders for 161 years and running. We are nimble, faithful, cohesive, missional – and more than these, Wartburg is ready to serve God and the church.”

Johnson will begin her leadership for Wartburg Theological Seminary on June 17, 2015.  She follows President Rev. Dr. Stanley N. Olson, who has served at Wartburg since January 1, 2011.

Wartburg Theological Seminary is one of eight theological schools of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).  Wartburg is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools and the Higher Learning Commission.  Wartburg educates women and men to serve the church as ordained and lay leaders.  Wartburg Theological Seminary was established in Dubuque, Iowa in 1854.