Claremont School of Theology’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously to extend the contract of the Rev. Dr. Kah-Jin Jeffrey Kuan to continue to serve as CST’s president. Board Chair, the Rev. Patricia Farris, said, “We believe that CST is blessed to have the dedication and commitment from our President that provides the leadership necessary to guide CST through these critical and generative days to secure the future of CST as part of Willamette. We are strong and our mission is foremost in all we do. With President Kuan, we look forward to a future of witness and service.”
President Kuan joined CST in 2013 when the school faced significant challenges. The Board expressed gratitude for his leadership over the last six years and for his vision of seeing CST thrive at Willamette University.
Dr. Stephen Thorsett, President of Willamette University, said, “We are pleased that CST’s Board has reaffirmed its confidence in President Kuan’s leadership. For me, he has been a wonderful, collaborative partner as we work towards the full transition of CST to Salem, and I have come to greatly admire his visionary leadership that has helped keep our mutual focus always on finding ways to better fulfill the School’s important mission.”
President Kuan sees his service to the school as his “Macedonian Call” and has expressed gratitude for the experience. Quoting Frederick Buechner’s definition of calling, he said, “As difficult and challenging as the last six and a half years have been, CST is still the place where my deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet. I am more convinced than ever that the world is hungry for the kind of theological education we do here at CST.”
Under President Kuan’s leadership, CST has overcome much. In February of 2019, WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) lifted its sanction and reaffirmed CST’s accreditation for a period of six years after putting the school on warning for four years. CST continues in good standing with the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) and the University Senate of The United Methodist Church. CST has prevailed on nearly all the actions and motions in its litigation with the Claremont Colleges, Inc. (formerly, Claremont University Consortium [CUC]). And according to President Kuan, CST is only eighteen to thirty months away from restoring its institutional financial health.
President Kuan says, “The Board has given me this privilege to answer my call and to do meaningful work and I am grateful. The transition is in process but the work is not yet done. I am honored to be invited by the Board and entrusted with the task of leading CST in Salem, OR, to where it needs to be, to become Claremont School of Theology at Willamette University, for the school to be financially healthy again in order to continue to carry out its mission to train leaders for the church, the academy, and the world at large! CST will thrive again!”