Home > About > News and Events > News Releases > News Releases 2012 > Moravian's President Christopher M. Thomforde to Retire in 2013
News Release

Moravian’s President Christopher M. Thomforde to Retire in 2013

President of both the College and the Seminary to retire after seven years of leadership


Click for high resolution image

Bethlehem, Pa., June 26, 2012—Christopher M. Thomforde announced he will retire from his position as president of Moravian College and Moravian Theological Seminary, approximately one year from now in July of 2013. His retirement, after leading Moravian for seven years, will cap a highly successful career in higher education.

“Serving Moravian has been a privilege and an honor,” said Thomforde who has served as president since 2006. “As I reflect upon the activity of the past six years, I am most grateful for all that has been accomplished by so many good and committed people at both the College and the Seminary. At the same time, I am looking forward to working with faculty, staff and administrators to continue to strengthen the College this coming year.”

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I acknowledge with regret the retirement of President Thomforde as President of Moravian College, effective July 2013” said Lyn Trodahl Chynoweth, chair of Moravian’s Joint Board of Trustees. “Chris's leadership, during especially tumultuous times, has been solid and strongly affirmed by the board of trustees and the Moravian community. His commitment to our mission and our purpose has been steadfast. He has overseen projects that enhanced programs and improved facilities for our students. We are most grateful for Chris’s tenure and the imprint his Presidency will leave behind.” 

During his tenure, Thomforde led the College through the development of a strategic plan that focused on enrolling and supporting a student body that mirrored that of the world into which students go to lead and serve. That goal resulted in significantly increased enrollment of first generation students and historically under-represented students. He also guided the College as it strengthened the academic curriculum and added new programs including an innovative IN FOCUS program to promote in-depth examination of complex issues from multi-disciplinary perspectives; a Freshman Seminar for all first year students; and a college-readiness experience for first year students “Advancing Into Moravian” (AIM). In the past year, the College launched its first comprehensive capital campaign in the College’s history. 

Thomforde also presided over improvements to the campus facilities and infrastructure including significant new buildings and renovations: the 231-bed Hurd Integrated Living and Learning Community (The HILL); a new home for the Comenius Center, Benigna Hall; renovations to the Haupert Union Building including the Pavilion; and a new state-of-the-art fitness facility. In addition, renovations to Comenius Hall and the Collier Hall of Science are now underway.

Thomforde, who also serves as president of Moravian Theological Seminary, has been equally impactful in improving its programs and facilities. “Chris has been a prophetic voice in his leadership of the Seminary” said the Rev. David Bennett, chair of the Seminary Board of Trustees. “Foreseeing the need to adapt to the ever changing needs of the Church, he is leading us through curriculum revisions which will better prepare our students for effective leadership and service. He also led the Seminary through a successful capital campaign resulting in enhancements to the Bahnson Center and financial support for faculty positions and student financial aid.”

Thomforde’s extensive career in higher education includes the following: 

Thomforde earned a B.A. in Medieval and Russian history from Princeton University in 1969. 

Following intensive course work in Mandarin Chinese at Middlebury College, Thomforde taught Western languages and Medieval European history at Tunghai University, Taichung, Taiwan, until 1971. He subsequently enrolled at Yale University Divinity School, where he received a Master of Divinity degree in 1974, with concentrations in biblical studies, church history, and philosophy.

From 1974 to 1978, Thomforde was an assistant chaplain and instructor in philosophy and religion at Colgate University. From 1978 to 1986, he served as pastor at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Dansville, New York, where he provided pastoral care and leadership for his congregation, held leadership roles in regional and synod church affairs, and was very active in community organizations. Thomforde served as chaplain at Susquehanna University and taught in the Department of Philosophy and Religion from 1986 until 1996. Susquehanna University awarded him an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree in 2001.

Thomforde also served as president of Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas, from 1996 to 2000. During his tenure as Bethany president, Thomforde completed requirements for a D. Min. from Princeton Theological Seminary; he was awarded that degree in 2000. Before his appointment as the President of Moravian College and Moravian Theological Seminary, he served as the President of St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota from 2001-2006.

Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America's sixth-oldest college. Moravian partners with students to build a strong foundation for their future. Visit the College’s Web site at www.moravian.edu.