Westminster Seminary California (WSC) has appointed Joel-il Kim as its new president.
This marks the first time America’s mainstream seminary has designated a Korean-American to lead its institution.
Kim, 44, will become WSC’s just fourth chancellor in its history. His term officially begins on Aug. 1.
“The chancellor was appointed based on the characteristics, faith and administrative ability,” said a member of the WSC board of directors. “This is a radical appointment as Caucasians have been prominently representing WSC. This will be an opportunity for the institution to take a direction towards embracing more diversity.”
Kim immigrated to the United States with his family in 1982. After attending UCLA, WSC and Calvin Theological Seminary, he has worked as a professor at various institutions. He has also been the vice pastor of Segaero Presbyterian Church.
“There’s obviously pressure as I’m taking on an important role within the American Christian community,” Kim said. “Southern California is an area with many multicultural churches. There’s a responsibility that we must take. I’m going to make our school play the role that it’s responsible for in this particular area of the country.”
Meanwhile, Westminster Seminary was first founded in 1929 after breaking apart from Princeton Theological Seminary. The California seminary was founded in 1980. The institution has since been retaining its conservative Christian faith.
By Yeol Jang