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VST Names Rev. Dr. Patricia Dutcher-Walls Professor Emerita

VANCOUVER, BC. June 7, 2024. The Vancouver School of Theology is delighted to name Rev. Dr. Patricia Dutcher-Walls Professor Emerita in appreciation of her years of teaching and ministry at VST and in the broader church.

The title of Professor Emerita/Emeritus is awarded to Associate and Full Professors who have retired from their full-time appointments at the Vancouver School of Theology after fulfilling a certain accumulation of time and with the support of the President, Faculty Association, and Board of Governors.

The Rev. Dr. Patricia Dutcher-Walls retired as Professor of Hebrew Bible and Dean of the Faculty at Vancouver School of Theology on July 1, 2021. Several decades of students, first at Knox College and then at VST, have Prof. Dutcher-Walls to thank for their introduction to the Hebrew Bible, and lay people from Coast to Coast have benefited from her ministries of teaching and preaching. Prof. Dutcher-Walls’ colleagues say, “She was inspirational in her care and attention to the students she worked with in her capacity as professor and as Dean. Students felt deeply supported and heard.”

Prof. Dutcher-Walls holds degrees from the College of Wooster in Ohio, Harvard Divinity School, and the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA. During her student years, she was active in the church through part-time congregational leadership, preaching, and social ministries, including anti-nuclear and anti-war demonstrations and civil disobedience. She was ordained in the United Presbyterian Church (USA) in 1978 and began ministry as Associate Chaplain at Colgate University, New York, where she was the first ordained female minister in that presbytery.

In 1995, Prof. Dutcher-Walls was appointed to the position of Assistant Professor of Old Testament at Knox College—one of the first women appointed to that faculty—and became a minister in the Presbyterian Church in Canada. In her nine years at Knox, she gained tenure, published three books and several articles, and served as Department Secretary for the Biblical Department of the Toronto School of Theology.

Prof. Dutcher-Walls was appointed Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible at Vancouver School of Theology in 2004. During her time at VST, she became Full Professor in 2007, published two more books and many articles, and presented on papers at academic conferences. Her teaching fields included the Deuteronomistic history, the social world of ancient Israel, social justice, the ideology and theology of kingship, and feminist biblical hermeneutics.

Early on at VST, academic administration became an additional aspect of her ministry, and she found a happy balance between teaching and leading in a variety of roles at various times, including Dean of Students, Dean of Studies, Director of the VST Library, and Dean of the Faculty.

Beyond the colleges of the church, Prof. Dutcher-Walls has been committed to a teaching ministry for adults in local congregations. On top of serving on various committees, she has offered numerous sermons, adult education courses, retreats, workshops, and web series. Many elders and lay people in local churches have participated in her typical small discussion groups, underlining biblical texts with pencil crayons and wrestling to search out new insights of wisdom and interpretation for God’s people today. Most recently, Prof. Dutcher-Walls was elected Moderator of the 2024 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Canada.

VST is grateful to have been part of Prof. Dutcher-Walls’ life-giving ministry. Her leadership in the classroom and as an administrator have been invaluable to decades of students, and to VST’s ability to flourish for the future. VST is proud to call Prof. Dutcher-Walls Professor Emerita.