PORTLAND — A veteran Christian educator and pastor this month becomes president of Western Seminary, which is a longtime fixture in the Rose City and also has two campuses in California.
Charles “Chuck” Conniry has served as the seminary’s provost and vice president of academic affairs the past three years. He was unanimously chosen by the seminary’s board after an international search for a replacement for Randy Roberts, who has retired after 12 years as president and 40 years at the seminary. Conniry on Feb. 1 becomes the 13th president of Western since its founding in 1927.
“Dr. Conniry was chosen from among many highly qualified candidates and possesses the skills and experience to guide Western Seminary in our next season as a catalyst and resource for spiritual transformation,” said Mark Moosa, search committee chair. “Throughout the 11-month international search process, the committee’s priority was to find a qualified individual who demonstrates a humble dependency on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and is committed to protecting the doctrinal fidelity of Western Seminary and to gospel-centered transformation.””
Conniry comes to his new position with a lengthy resume, including more than two decades in seminary education in the Portland area.
From 1998 to 2008 he was associate professor of pastoral studies and director of the ministry doctorate program at George Fox University’s seminary program, now known as Portland Seminary. From 2008 to 2018 he was vice president and dean for that seminary as well as professor of theology.
From 1992 to 1998 Conniry was an assistant professor at Bethel University’s West Coast extension campus in San Diego, Calif, including as a faculty mentor in Bethel Theological Seminary’s Doctor of Ministry program from 1996 to 1998.
From 1991 to 1997 he also was senior pastor at Ramona First Baptist Church near San Diego. Before that, he held positions in two nearby churches — as associate pastor at Pacific Beach Church of Christ from 1982 to 1988, then founding pastor of Carmel Mountain Church of Christ from 1988 to 1990.
Conniry holds a doctoral degree of philosophy in theology from Fuller Theological Seminary. He earlier earned a master of divinity degree from Bethel Theological Seminary. He did his undergraduate work at American Christian School of Religion in West Monroe, La.
He is a member of the preaching team at Creekside Bible Church in Wilsonville.
Western Seminary has approximately 840 students between its campuses in Oregon and California and its online program. It also has an additional 2,000 non-degree students through its Center for Leadership Development. The school was originally known as Portland Baptist Bible Institute and then for many years as Western Baptist Theological Seminary. Its present five-acre campus in Portland was acquired in 1944. In 1985 its San Jose, Calif., campus launched on the grounds of a Los Gatos, Calif. church and later moved to Santa Clara, Calif., before settling at its current home in Milpitas, Calif. in 2016. The Sacramento, Calif., campus was founded at a church there in 1991 and moved to Rocklin, Calif., in 2014.