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Patrick Henry College Names New Academic Dean

May 10th, 2006

CONTACT:  David Halbrook
Patrick Henry College
(540) 338-8727

Dr. Gene Edward Veith
Dr. Gene Edward Veith

PURCELLVILLE, VA—Prolific author, cultural commentator, and longtime educator, Dr. Gene Edward Veith, has been named Academic Dean of Patrick Henry College by the College Board of Trustees. Presently the Cultural Editor of World Magazine, Dr. Veith is well-known in Christian, conservative and homeschooling circles through his writing and speaking on various aspects of Christianity and the culture. He begins his new position on July 1.

Dr. Veith has been a columnist for World Magazine since 1996, accepting a full-time position with the magazine in 2004. The bulk of Dr. Veith’s career, however, has been invested in Christian higher education, having served more than 20 years in Christian academia as a professor of English and, for eight years, as Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences at Concordia University-Wisconsin. In addition to his frequent columns for World, which explore the shifting intersection of faith and culture, Dr. Veith has published some 17 books in both scholarly and popular genres, several of which have been translated into foreign languages. His writings number more than 100 scholarly articles, reviews, and papers and include books on Christian vocation: God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life; Christianity and Literature: The Soul of the Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe and Reading Between the Lines: a Christian Guide to Literature; Christianity and culture: Loving God with All Your Mind: Thinking as a Christian in the Postmodern World, and Postmodern Times: A Christian Guide to Contemporary Thought and Culture (winner of the 1994 Christianity Today Book Award).

In discussing his transition from full-time columnist to academic dean of a Christian liberal arts college, Dr. Veith cited a general longing to return to academia coupled with a long-standing admiration for Patrick Henry College.

“I’ve known for a while that I wanted to get back into the academic world,” he explained from his home in Milwaukee, Wis. “Writing in the solitude of my home office these past two years, I missed the interaction with students and colleagues, and missed the peculiar energy of campus life. When I learned of the position at PHC, I was immediately interested, and thought it might be a good fit.”

Having observed through his research the cultural and intellectual forces that cause many Christian colleges to drift from a biblical foundation, he noted, “I’ve really appreciated Patrick Henry College’s conviction to remain steadfast to its mission.”

That appreciation draws, in part, from his investigation of the historic role of a classical liberal arts education in a book entitled, Classical Education: Towards the Revival of American Schooling, co-written with Andrew Kern. He found that, beyond the overbearing secularism found on most college campuses, the academic excellence of most homeschooled students can itself become an obstacle of sorts on many campuses.

“Our research revealed how homeschoolers are often so far advanced scholastically, compared with their peers, that when they get to college it’s difficult for them to adjust. Classical education proponents have known this for a long time—the value of going back to the study of liberal arts as it was practiced in the great moments of civilization, such as the Reformation and America’s founding. One chapter in our book cited Patrick Henry College as one of a very few places where these quality homeschooled students could go and continue to receive a rigorous, quality classical liberal arts education.”

Incoming PHC President, Dr. Graham Walker, who said he has followed Dr. Veith’s career and writings for more than a decade, recalled his excitement to learn, during his own final interviews for PHC’s presidency, that Dr. Veith had inquired about the academic deanship. Marvin Olasky, Editor in Chief of World Magazine, called Dr. Walker in Oklahoma to inform him of Veith’s interest. Convinced that that Dr. Veith’s insight and considerable academic leadership experience would prove invaluable to PHC, Walker immediately contacted Veith to encourage him and to share his vision for the College.

“In his books and essays over the last 10 years,” Dr. Walker recalls, “Dr. Veith has demonstrated a long track record of biblical insight and wisdom. And in essay after essay he has shown acute intellectual insight into the ways of contemporary American thinking on the Word of God from a standpoint of both spiritual depth and logical rigor.”

Likewise, he adds, Dr. Veith’s expertise in developing core curricula will help the College stand firm in its biblical commitments and maintain a proper linkage of faith and reason.

“Christians need not be afraid of real learning,” he said. “The facts are always on God’s side. But we must remain ever vigilant against the distortions that arise from being impressed by one’s own pursuit of learning. Dr. Veith understands that it’s not the facts themselves that corrupt but the pride of the inner spirit found in the human mind. He knows where the strengths and weaknesses of both lie, and how to avoid one in order to secure the other.”

As PHC’s Academic Dean, Dr. Veith said he expects to begin immediately augmenting existing openings with the aim of assembling “an excellent faculty committed to the mission of the institution, and to the historic Christian commitment we’re building everything else on. I want to help bring a sense of intimacy and fellowship to our faculty. My experience should be helpful in showing faculty members how the Christian worldview can be applied in practice in the classroom.”

Dr. Veith is also on the Board of Directors of Concordia Publishing Company, is a Senior Fellow at the Capital Research Center, and serves on the Executive Council of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. He and his wife, Jackquelyn, have three grown children, Paul, 31, Joanna, 28, and Mary, 24.

“I can see very clearly God’s hand in this exciting opportunity,” he said. “It seems that God is leading me in this direction, and I go where God calls me.”