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Aug. 19, 2015

Aug. 19, 2015

WATERLOO — Waterloo Lutheran Seminary’s Board of Governors is pleased to announce the appointment of Rev. Dr. Mark Harris as the seminary’s new principal-dean.

After an extensive search process the committee charged with identifying a new principal-dean recommended Harris for the position, says Rod Kruger, the board’s chairman.

“It was a unanimous decision,” he said. “Mark has the vision, the administrative skills and the experience to take the helm at an exciting time in the seminary’s history.”

The seminary is in the process of changing its name to Martin Luther University and, during the next few years, is set to undergo a multi-million dollar rejuvenation of its facilities.

“Mark has the ability to think and reason, listen and negotiate,” Kruger said. “As an experienced pastor and educator, he has the qualities to effectively continue the seminary’s long tradition of forming clergy for the Evangelical Lutheran community. He also has the vision, confidence and skills to implement the school’s business plan as we train leaders to serve in many roles in the broader community well into the future.”

Harris says he is humbled and honored to be offered the position.

“I look forward to working with the board, the faculty and students, the university, and our many partners in the wider community, as we strive to build upon our strengths and meet the challenges and opportunities which lie before us,” Harris said.

Harris has been an assistant professor of functional theology at the seminary since 2012. Before that he served as assistant to the bishop of the Eastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) and, for 27 years, as a Lutheran pastor in Peterborough, Owen Sound, and Waterloo. Harris has also served as the chair of Canadian Lutheran World Relief and on the boards of the Evangelical Lutheran Foundation of Eastern Canada (ELFEC); Lutheran Homes: Kitchener-Waterloo; Lutheran Social Services: Owen Sound; and a variety of other ecumenical and not-for-profit boards. He earned a doctorate at the University of Toronto and Victoria University in 2008, an M.Div. at Wilfrid Laurier University, and a BA (Anthropology) at Pennsylvania State University. Harris and his wife, Connie, are parents of three grown children.

Founded in 1911, the seminary is an institution of the ELCIC’s Eastern Synod. Rev. Dr. Michael Pryse, the synod’s bishop and member of the seminary’s and Wilfrid Laurier University’s governing boards, says he is thrilled with the results of the search process.

“I believe that the board has appointed both the best qualified candidate, and the candidate who is most capable of building upon and advancing our institutional momentum.

“I’ve worked with Mark in various capacities over three decades and have no doubt that he is absolutely the right leader for WLS in this present moment, and for Martin Luther University in our near future.”

Harris is taking over the post from Rev. Dr. David Pfrimmer who announced this past spring that he was stepping down after serving as principal-dean for 10 years.

“Having had the privilege of working with Mark over the years, I have found him to be an exemplary pastor, a good scholar, and a great organizer with thoughtful attention to details,” said Pfrimmer. “I think he will provide just the kind of strong and wise leadership the seminary needs as it serves students and changes to meet the challenges of the future.”

Waterloo Lutheran Seminary is a federated college of Wilfrid Laurier University.

Dr. Max Blouw, president and vice-chancellor of Laurier, welcomes Harris as he prepares to take on his new role at the seminary.

“I am delighted by Mark’s appointment and I look forward to working with him to preserve and strengthen the successful relationship that has long existed between the seminary and the university,” says Blouw. Harris begins his new role at the seminary, a five-year term, on Sept. 1, 2015. An installation service is being planned for the fall term. Details will be distributed after they have been finalized.

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Mirko Petricevic, Director
Communications & Public Affairs
Waterloo Lutheran Seminary

T: 519.884.0710 x2162  



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