Special Message from Helio Fred Garcia, Chair of Starr King Board of Trustees

Helio Fred Garcia

Dear Starr King School for the Ministry Community:

By now you have likely heard the news that Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker has chosen to retire as Starr King’s president at the end of next academic year, June 2014.

I am writing on behalf of the Starr King Board of Trustees to update you on that news and to give you a sense of what to expect.

Rebecca Parker’s Tenure as President

But first, a few reflections on Rebecca’s service.

  • When Rebecca became Starr King’s president she was the first woman called to head a seminary in North America.  She is now the longest-serving seminary president in North America.  When she retires she will have served as president for 25 years.  And her tenure at Starr King has both strengthened and transformed the institution.
  • When she started the student headcount was around 35.  This spring it was 125, a 250 percent increase.  Full-time equivalent students rose from 35 to 74.4, a 120 percent increase.
  • When she started the Starr King endowment was barely a million dollars.  Today it is over 7 million, an increase of 700 percent.
  • When she started Starr King offered an M.Div degree. Today in addition to the M.Div Starr King offers the Master’s in Social Change (M.A.S.C.); and two certificates (one in Unitarian Universalist Studies and one in Multi-Religious Studies).  And the school serves full-time, part-time, high-residency, low-residency, and special students.
  • When she started Starr King’s small faculty and staff was mono-cultural–all Euro-American.  Today the school’s enlarged faculty and staff is multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-lingual, and multi-religious as well as Unitarian Universalist.
  • This spring, after five years of development, testing, and tweaking, Starr King formally launched our Emergent Educational Design that is Global in scope, Relational in educational practice, and Adaptive in its modes of teaching and learning.  See Personalized Courses of Study for more.

What’s Next

At a board meeting last week the Starr King Board of Trustees formally approved a series of steps as part of a year-long transition.

We are in the process of forming two committees to manage the multitude of tasks ahead before Rebecca retires:

  • A Transition Committee whose charge includes managing the details of Rebecca’s transition to retirement; advising on the logistics of that transition; and managing the hand-off to her successor.  Starr King grad Amir Kia, Vice Chair of the Board, is chairing that committee, which is currently in formation.
  • A Search Committee to manage the search for a new president.  The committee’s tasks will include developing the description of and requirements for the position; managing the process of soliciting and screening applicants; recommending a short list of finalists to the Board; and managing the process of contracting with the new president.  Board member Jenny Weil is chair of this committee, which is also in formation.

We welcome input from you about any of these matters.

UUA General Assembly

Rebecca will be at UUA General Assembly in Louisville this week.  I will be there as well, both in my capacity as Board Chair and representing Jenny Weil, our Search Committee chair, who will not be able to attend.

Please stop by the Starr King booth to say hello to Rebecca or me.  You can also stop by the booth to ask to speak during or after GA with me or Jenny about the search.  Or feel free to send an e-mail to presidentialsearch@sksm.edu.

Rebecca and I are looking forward to seeing you at GA.

Thank you for your support of the Starr King School for the Ministry.

F Garcia signature

Helio Fred Garcia
Chair, Board of Trustees

Fred Garcia and Rebecca Parker