The Board of Trustees of Central Baptist Theological Seminary elected Dr. Pamela R. Durso as the seminary’s 11th president in a special meeting held on Monday, February 24, 2020. She will begin her duties as president June 1, 2020. Dr. Molly T. Marshall will complete a sixteen-year presidency at the end of this academic year at which time she will retire.
Presidential search committee member and Central Seminary board chairman Bruce Morgan commended the outcome of the careful selection process:
“I take great delight in the united voice of the Central Seminary Presidential Search Committee and the Seminary Board of Trustees in inviting Dr. Pamela Durso to serve as Central’s next president. There is a strong sense of the Spirit’s leading in the way we came together to sense Pam’s excellent set of leadership skills that will serve Central well in the future. She will effectively build on Dr. Molly Marshall’s distinguished service and seamlessly move us forward. We are most thankful that she has sensed God’s leading in accepting our call to lead the seminary.”
Current seminary president Molly T. Marshall also expressed her confidence in this choice:
“I am giving thanks for the stellar work of the Search Committee and Board of Central as they have called Dr. Pamela R. Durso as Central’s 11th president. She is eminently qualified to take up this position, and I celebrate her election. She will lead the seminary toward new horizons of flourishing.”
Since July 2009, Durso has been serving as executive director of Baptist Women in Ministry, located in Atlanta, where she is an advocate and a resource for women serving in all areas of Christian ministry. She expressed a longtime affinity for the seminary and a desire to begin this new challenge:
“I am truly humbled to have been named as the 11th president of Central Baptist Theological Seminary, a school I have long respected and admired, one with a long and rich legacy of training ministers and nurturing their gifts, and one that now welcomes students from across theological, geographical, and denominational backgrounds to study and learn together. I look forward with great anticipation and excitement to discovering, along with the faculty and staff, the Spirit’s leadership in the seminary’s next season.”
Since receiving her Ph.D. in church history from Baylor University in 1992, Durso has been a strong supporter of clergywomen and has written and edited numerous articles and books on women. She co-edited with LeAnn Gunter Johns, The World is Waiting for You: Celebrating the 50th Ordination Anniversary of Addie Davis (2014). She also edited and contributed to This Is What A Preacher Looks Like: Sermons by Baptist Women in Ministry (2010), as well as authored five State of Women in Baptist Life reports (2005, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2015).
Durso’s other passion is Baptist history. She previously worked as associate executive director-treasurer of the Baptist History and Heritage Society and is currently serving as the president of their board. She has been serving as an adjunct professor for McAfee School of Theology since 2008, and previously served on the faculty of Campbell University Divinity School as assistant professor of church history and Baptist heritage.
Among Durso’s other books are On Mission with God: Free and Faithful Baptists in the Twenty-First Century (2011), The Story of Baptists in the United States (2006), which she co-wrote with her husband, Keith Durso.
Ordained in 2015 by Cornerstone Baptist Church of Snellville, Georgia, and Baptist Women in Ministry, Durso has served in ministry positions as interim pastor, associate minister, senior adult ministry director, and youth minister.
In addition to her service on the board of the Baptist History and Heritage Society, Durso also currently serves on the board of Amani Sasa: A Ministry with Refugees in Uganda; on the Advisory Committee for Women at the Wellsprings, Sacred Heart Monastery, Cullman, Alabama; and as co-chair of the Clergy Sexual Misconduct Task Force of the Baptist Women in Ministry and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. She is also a member of the Discovery Team and Theological Commission for Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.
Durso has been the recipient of several awards, including the Carolyn Weatherford Crumpler Leadership Alumni Award, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship; the Celebrating Excellence Award, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Oklahoma; the Lifetime Achievement Award, Christians for Biblical Equality; and the W. O. Carver Distinguished Service Award, Baptist History and Heritage Society.
Durso and her husband, Dr. Keith Durso, who earned his Ph.D. in ethics from Baylor University, have two adult children, Michael and Alex.
An interview with Durso was featured on Word&Way’s podcast, “Baptist Without an Adjective” (Episode 61), which can be heard here.