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Appointment of the next College Principal

Rev Principal W Gordon Campbell


Union Theological College is pleased to announce the appointment of Rev Prof Michael McClenahan as the next College Principal. The 2023 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, meeting in Belfast from 21st to 24th June, appointed Prof McClenahan to serve for a period of three years. He will take up the duties of principalship on 1st  September, when the current Principal, Rev Prof Gordon Campbell, steps down from the post.

 Looking back on his time as Principal, Prof Campbell highlights the journey that the College has been on.

“I have found serving Union in this role to be exciting and exhausting, in roughly equal measure! In just a few years, our College has come quite far, and rather fast, along a new and challenging road. For many years we delivered Theology up to PhD-level for Queen’s University, while training ministerial students for service in the Presbyterian Church as our core activity. Since 2019, ministerial students, serving ministers and many others besides have been preparing for Gospel ministry or other outcomes even as Union has been evolving, before their eyes, into a small specialist University in its own right, awarding our own postgraduate degrees in Theology and Divinity, under our Royal Charter. While teaching out courses to remaining QUB students – the last of whom graduates this summer – we have been welcoming school-leavers once more, since Sept. 2022, through our new BA in Theology, developed with a new collaborative partner: St. Mary’s University, Twickenham. In addition, other higher-education partnerships are enriching our postgraduate taught and, especially, our postgraduate research degrees, as world-leading researchers who meet our stringent criteria bring their expertise to bear in teaching or in helping supervise cutting-edge doctoral projects. In all of this, Union now enjoys a global reach to its ministry and mission and the College has its own independent public credentials, documented by our external examiners’ reports and scrutinised by the national Quality Assurance Agency.”

 With the prospect of serving as Principal from this autumn, Prof McClenahan underlines the privilege of working with a great team of committed staff at Union:

‘I’m grateful to our current Principal for his dedication to the college over many years and particularly during his time as Principal. Union is a wonderful place to work and an exciting place to study. I’m really looking forward to working with an amazing group of professional and academic staff who show every day their love for Union and the students who study with us. In this time of great need and challenge in the global arena of theological education I am looking forward to leading this next chapter of Union’s long history and all for the glory of God.’

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