Joel N. Lohr, the new president of Hartford Seminary who arrived in the West End earlier this month from California, is poised to transform the small nondenominational graduate school into a more prominent trailblazer for Jewish-Christian-Muslim relations.
“My hope is to continue to raise the profile of the institution, locally here in Hartford, but also nationally and globally,” Lohr said. “I’m just delighted to be here.”
Lohr, 43, called the historic seminary a small microcosm of global life, teeming with diverse perspectives that have long stirred his passion for interreligious dialogue.
He smiles in recounting Hartford Seminary’s storied past dating to 1834 — the first seminary in the country to admit women, to create an accredited Islamic chaplaincy program, to establish a center devoted to the study of Christian-Muslim relations. Today, the seminary has about 200 students, alongside 17 core faculty members and associates.
Lohr, who is 6 feet 8 inches tall, tucks one leg beneath the other while sitting in the seminary’s library, which recently acquired his 10 published books.