The Board of Directors of the Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research has named Dr. Jacqueline Bussie, an award-winning author, speaker, public theologian, and religion professor at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, as its 5th executive director. Dr. Bussie succeeds Don Ottenhoff and will begin her new role on September 1, 2021.
“We are excited that Dr. Bussie, our first female executive director, will bring her considerable gifts and passions to guide the Collegeville Institute,” said Bill Cahoy, chair of the Board of Directors. “The Collegeville Institute has been blessed with four outstanding leaders in its 54-year history and we are confident that Dr. Bussie will carry that tradition forward.”
The Collegeville Institute is a residential center that brings together diverse groups of scholars, writers, artists, and faith leaders through its various programs. Located on the grounds of Saint John’s Abbey and University in central Minnesota, the Collegeville Institute was founded in 1967 by Fr. Kilian McDonnell, OSB, in order to nurture scholarly research and promote mutual understanding across denominational differences. The Collegeville Institute is rooted in the Christian Benedictine tradition and sees its mission as fostering the world’s healing through the power of religious ideas, insight, and practices.
“I’m overjoyed and humbled by this appointment to serve as the Collegeville Institute’s next Executive Director,” said Dr. Bussie in her address to the Board of Directors earlier this month. “This marvelous and mutilated world needs the gifts that the Collegeville Institute offers more than ever—world-transforming scholarship, soul-sustaining worship, bridge-building dialogue, and life-giving community.”
Dr. Bussie is a trusted regional, local, and national expert in interfaith relations. She is the founding director of Concordia College’s Forum on Faith & Life, an interfaith peace-building center that hosts a first-class signature speaker series. She teaches religion, theology, and interfaith classes at Concordia College where, since 2011, she has served as Professor of Religion and, since 2015, as Co-Chair of Interfaith Studies. She is an active mentor to students and was named the national Outstanding Ally of the Year in 2014-15 by Interfaith Youth Core.
Dr. Bussie is also a leader in interfaith efforts by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA). She was a contributing author to their Interreligious Policy Statement, as well as the “Rooted and Open” statement adopted by all 26 Network of ELCA Colleges and Universities (NECU), which maintains a core Lutheran faith identity while including others outside that tradition.
“In these times of deep division, the Collegeville Institute’s mission of bringing people together to bridge differences is needed more than ever,” said Cahoy. “Dr. Bussie’s achievements and commitments prepare her well to lead us into the next chapter for the Collegeville Institute.”
Dr. Bussie is an award-winning author of books that translate academic theology for a more popular audience. Her most recent book Love Without Limits (Fortress, 2018) won three major international awards: the 2020 IAN Outstanding Religion Book of the Year Award, the 2020 IAN 3rd Place Non-Fiction Book of the Year Award, and the Reader’s Favorite Bronze Medal Award for Christian Living. Her previous book Outlaw Christian (Thomas Nelson, 2016) won the 2017 Gold Medal Illumination Award for Christian Living.
She received her PhD in Theology, Ethics, and Culture from the University of Virginia, where she was the Graduate School Dissertation Year Fellowship Winner in 2001-2 among other distinctions. Dr. Bussie also holds a MA in Religion from Yale University and a BA from Davidson College, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with Honors.
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