PHC Names Veith New Academic Dean
Prolific author, cultural commentator, and longtime educator Dr. Gene Edward Veith has been named academic dean of Patrick Henry College by the board of trustees. Dr. Veith is well known in Christian, conservative, and homeschooling circles through his writing and speaking on various aspects of Christianity and the culture.
|Dr. Gene Edward Veith, who is well known for his writing and speaking on various aspects of Christianity and the culture, has been named academic dean of Patrick Henry College.
Dr. Veith has been a columnist for World magazine since 1996, accepting a full-time position with the magazine in 2004. The bulk of his career, however, has been invested in Christian higher education. He has served for more than 20 years in Christian academia as a professor of English and, for eight years, as dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Concordia University Wisconsin.
In addition to his frequent columns for World, which explore the shifting intersection of faith and culture, Dr. Veith has published some 17 books in both scholarly and popular genres, several of which have been translated into foreign languages. His writings number more than 100 scholarly articles, reviews, and papers, and include books such as God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life, and Postmodern Times: A Christian Guide to Contemporary Thought and Culture (winner of the 1994 Christianity Today Book Award).
In discussing his transition from full-time columnist to academic dean of a Christian liberal arts college, Dr. Veith cited a general longing to return to academia coupled with a longstanding admiration for Patrick Henry College.
Having observed the cultural and intellectual forces that cause many Christian colleges to drift from a biblical foundation, he noted, “I’ve really appreciated Patrick Henry College’s conviction to remain steadfast to its mission.”
That appreciation draws, in part, from his investigation of the historic role of a classical liberal arts education in a book entitled Classical Education: Towards the Revival of American Schooling, co-written with Andrew Kern. “Our research revealed how homeschoolers are often so far advanced scholastically, compared with their peers, that when they get to college it’s difficult for them to adjust. . . . One chapter in our book cited Patrick Henry College as one of a very few places where these quality homeschooled students could go and continue to receive a rigorous, quality classical liberal arts education.”
PHC President Dr. Graham Walker, who said he has followed Dr. Veith’s career and writings for more than a decade, recalled his excitement to learn, during his own final interviews for PHC’s presidency, that Dr. Veith had inquired about the academic deanship. Marvin Olasky, editor in chief of World magazine, called Dr. Walker in Oklahoma to inform him of Veith’s interest. Convinced that Dr. Veith’s insight and considerable academic leadership experience would prove invaluable to PHC, Walker immediately contacted Veith to encourage him and to share his vision for the college.
“In his books and essays over the last 10 years, Dr. Veith has demonstrated a long track record of biblical insight and wisdom,” Dr. Walker recalled. “And in essay after essay he has shown acute intellectual insight into the ways of contemporary American thinking on the Word of God from a standpoint of both spiritual depth and logical rigor.”
Likewise, he added, Dr. Veith’s expertise in developing core curricula will help the college stand firm in its biblical commitments and maintain a proper linkage of faith and reason.
“Christians need not be afraid of real learning,” Walker said. “The facts are always on God’s side. But we must remain ever vigilant against the distortions that arise from being impressed by one’s own pursuit of learning. Dr. Veith understands that it’s not the facts themselves that corrupt but the pride of the inner spirit found in the human mind.”
As PHC’s academic dean, Dr. Veith said he expects to immediately begin filling existing openings with the aim of assembling “an excellent faculty committed to the mission of the institution, and to the historic Christian commitment we’re building everything else on. I want to help bring a sense of intimacy and fellowship to our faculty.”
Dr. Veith is also on the board of directors of Concordia Publishing Company, is a senior fellow at the Capital Research Center, and serves on the executive council of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. He and his wife, Jackquelyn, have three grown children, Paul, Joanna, and Mary.
“I can see very clearly God’s hand in this exciting opportunity,” he said. “It seems that God is leading me in this direction, and I go where God calls me.”