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Kenyatta R. Gilbert Named Dean of Howard University School of Divinity

Dr. Kenyatta R. Gilbert

WASHINGTON – Howard University is pleased to announce the appointment of Kenyatta R. Gilbert, PhD, as dean of the School of Divinity. Since 2006, Gilbert has been a professor of homiletics at Howard University’s School of Divinity and is a nationally- recognized expert on African American preaching. He will report to Anthony Wutoh, PhD, Howard University Provost and Chief Academic Officer. 

“The entire Howard University community is proud to welcome Dr. Gilbert to his new position as dean of the School of Divinity. His 17 years of dedicated service to the University has prepared him well in addressing the needs of our students and leading the School of Divinity into the future,” said Wayne A. I. Frederick, MD, MBA, president of Howard University. “I also want to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Yolanda Pierce for her contributions as the first female dean of the School of Divinity for the past six years. Dean Pierce will be joining Vanderbilt University as the dean of their Divinity School. Further, I want to extend my special thanks to Dr. Frederick Ware who served as acting dean for the Spring 2023 semester while Dean Pierce was on sabbatical leave. Dr. Ware will resume his role as associate dean of the School of Divinity.” 

Gilbert earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Baylor University in 1996. He then completed an MDiv and PhD in practical theology (homiletics) from Princeton Theological Seminary. As an ordained Baptist minister, he has served congregations in Texas, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Kenya. He joined Howard as an Assistant Professor in 2006. A prolific writer and oft-featured expert on Black preaching, civil rights, and social justice, Gilbert has authored countless sermons and lectures, as well as four books: “Exodus Preaching: Crafting Sermons about Justice and Hope,” “A Pursued Justice: Black Preaching from the Great Migration to Civil Rights,” “Journey & Promise of African American Preaching,”; and “Just Living: Meditations for Engaging our Life and Times.” His writing has also been featured by such outlets as PBS NewsHour, Sojourners, Word & Way, and The Conversation

"Theological education matters.  It always has and always will.  So, I am humbled and excited by the privilege to serve as the next Dean of the world’s preeminent historically Black theological school,” said Gilbert. Serving in this capacity affords me an opportunity to showcase the scholarship of an ecumenically diverse, highly-skilled faculty who prepare promising divinity students to engage a deadly social world seduced by popular religion and political tribalism; to foster new and cultivate existing interdisciplinary collaborations with other units; to devise data-driven strategies to address issues related to faith and science, faith and economics, faith and mental health; and to provide spiritual resources for persons and communities facing life altering events.  I get to point the way to beloved community and rally people around a common vision of hope by advancing excellence in Black theological education, together." 

In 2011, Gilbert launched The Preaching Project, a ministry aimed at equipping ministers to better serve African American churches and communities. Gilbert is director of the “Equipping the Saints: Black Congregations Resource Center” at Howard University, the general editor of the forthcoming book series "Preaching, Theology, and Culture" (Fortress Press); member of the editorial board of Homiletic, a peer-reviewed journal sponsored by the Academy of Homiletics; Sandy Spring Friends School Board of Trustees, and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. 

In 2022, Gilbert was inducted into the Martin Luther King Jr. International Collegium of Scholars at Morehouse College. Gilbert is the son of Baylor University’s first African American graduate, Rev. Robert Gilbert, and Mrs. Elwayne Y. Gilbert, an alumna of Paul Quinn College. 




About Howard University

Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 14 schools and colleges. Students pursue more than 140 programs of study leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced two Schwarzman Scholars, four Marshall Scholars, four Rhodes Scholars, 12 Truman Scholars, 25 Pickering Fellows and more than 165 Fulbright recipients. Howard also produces more on-campus African American PhD. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, visit www.howard.edu.