News Release:

Apr. 29,  2010

O'Day named dean of Wake Forest Divinity

Dr. Gail R. O'Day

Candler School of Theology's senior associate dean of faculty and academic affairs and A.H. Shatford professor of preaching and New Testament, Gail R. O'Day, has been named dean of the Wake Forest University School of Divinity. She will become dean and professor of New Testament and preaching at the 10-year-old school on August 1, 2010, succeeding Bill J. Leonard, who is retiring as dean.

O'Day joined Candler's faculty as an assistant professor of biblical preaching in 1987 and has since held a number of leadership positions at the school, including serving as chief academic officer and directing the school's recent strategic planning process. As part of the strategic planning process, O'Day led the implementation of several key initiatives, including retooling the curriculum for core degree programs and developing a student-focused advising system. She also has been a key leader in faculty development, including faculty searches.

O'Day's husband, Thomas E. Frank, is professor of religious leadership and administration and coordinator of the Initiative in Religious Practices and Practical Theology at Candler. He will join the Wake Forest faculty as University Professor and teach in a range of units across the university.

In a letter to Candler faculty and staff, Dean Jan Love noted both O'Day's and Frank's 23 years of remarkable service to Candler. "These appointments are wonderful, well-deserved opportunities for Gail and Tom to exercise their considerable talents and creative energy, but the loss for Candler will be keenly felt," she writes.

"Gail's long-standing experience, exceptional skills for strategic visioning and planning, and robust administrative acumen—combined with her deep and abiding commitment to the faculty and the whole institution’s well-being—have been invaluable to me and to Candler. The Graduate Division of Religion has similarly benefited from Gail’s many contributions, and Emory regularly calls on her to provide leadership across the University. I am deeply grateful for how she has used her remarkable array of talents for the common good," Love continues.

Love also expresses gratitude for Frank's "commitment to using his considerable skills and talents to ensure that faculty, students, and staff at Candler and Emory thrive," pointing to his leadership as president of Emory’s University Senate and Faculty Council, director of Methodist Studies at Candler, coordinator of the Initiative in Religious Practices and Practical Theology, and work in a number of agencies and judicatories of The United Methodist Church.

A graduate of Brown University, O'Day earned a master's degree in theological studies from Harvard Divinity School and a doctorate in New Testament from Emory. She is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ.

Her research focuses on the Gospel of John, the Bible and preaching, and the history of biblical interpretation. She has written, edited or co-edited a number of books and articles, including, most recently, "Theological Bible Commentary" (Louisville Westminster John Knox Press, 2009) and "Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary: A Guide" (Nashville Abingdon Press, 2007).

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