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Dr. Viera has both ministerial and administrative experience.

As an undergraduate, Javier Viera worked as a summer intern for a U.S. congressman and confided to the politician that he loved politics and was considering law school, but also felt a strong calling to become a minister.

Viera, who was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Florida, said he’ll never forget what the congressman said to him, “The world needs a lot more good ministers than politicians.”

Viera said it was the push he needed to pursue his calling to the church. Fast forward two decades, and Viera has built an impressive résumé that combines church leadership, rigorous academic study and a record of community building around the world.

It is because of his expertise in a variety of areas and his visionary approach that he has been chosen as the new dean of Drew Theological School.

Viera, who is executive minister of Christ Church in New York City and also worked as senior minister at Mamaroneck, N.Y., United Methodist Church, was the unanimous choice of the search committee to head the Theological School, which has 23 full-time faculty and 461 students.

“Javier spent his professional life building bridges between the church and higher education. He has a proven track record in leading complex organizations, including extensive experience in fundraising, and has a vision for the future of theological education that holds great promise for us in these challenging times,” says Professor J. Terry Todd, who headed the dean search committee.

Viera’s academic credentials are impressive: A bachelor’s degree from Florida Southern College, a Master of Divinity from Duke University, a Master of Sacred Theology from Yale University and a doctorate in adult learning and leadership from Columbia University. He was a Canon Scholar at Yale and a Dean’s Scholar at Duke, has delivered sermons at both Harvard and Yale and advises and co-directs doctoral student dissertations at Teachers College at Columbia.

Viera said he was drawn to Drew because of the university’s commitment to expanding its global outreach and presence and because of the energy, creativity and passion of the Theological School faculty. [Learn more in the full press release about his appointment.]

Viera will start at Drew on July 1.