Date: June 2, 2023
“Dr. Hooke is already a highly respected member of the guild of homiletics. With the publication of Sacramental Presence, I think she will clearly establish herself as one of the two or three leading theological voices in the guild.”
This glowing analysis was offered by the Rev. Ted A. Smith, Ph.D., Charles Howard Candler Professor of Divinity and Associate Dean of Faculty at the Candler School of Theology in the context of the recent review for promotion of the Rev. Ruthanna Hooke. I am proud to say that the Board of Trustees supported the recommendation of Dr. Smith and the VTS committee, and Dr. Hooke became Professor of Homiletics during the May Board meeting.
As reader of this commentary are aware, Dr. Hooke has been teaching at VTS since 2003, and has served as Associate Dean of Students from 2020-present.
In addition, she was also the Associate Dean of Chapel from 2015-2020, and has been the Project Director of Deep Calls to Deep since 2015. As she reflected on her past and future work at VTS, she has decided to step back from her role as Associate Dean of Students in order to more fully embrace her vocation of teacher and scholar.
I have truly enjoyed working with Ruthanna as Associate Dean of Students. She came into the post in a particularly challenging time in 2020 when many of our face-to-face operations were shut down. Also challenging in unexpected ways was the process of opening up the campus again. Through it all Ruthanna was superb in helping design thoughtful policies and providing emotional support. In addition, as the work of formation and vocational processes continued she walked with students in difficult and joyous seasons, and provided opportunities for them to strengthen our common life.
As a teacher, Dr. Hooke has honed her craft over more than twenty years and is uniquely gifted at creating faithful learning environments that encourage students to risk and grow. As a scholar, she has written a text that draws on performance studies and liturgical theology to consider preaching as a sacramental event of communion with God. With gratitude for her past service as Associate Dean of Students at VTS, we are excited about her future work with us as she more fully embraces her calling as teacher and scholar.
The Rev. Melody D. Knowles, Ph.D.
Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer
Associate Professor of Old Testament
Virginia Theological Seminary and General Theological Seminary