SMU Perkins School of Theology Dean Craig Hill announces retirement

Craig C Hill

DALLAS (SMU) – Craig C. Hill, dean of SMU’s Perkins School of Theology, will retire as dean December 31, 2022 due to medical reasons. Hill, the Leighton K. Farrell Endowed Dean and Professor of New Testament, will remain a member of the Perkins faculty until December 31, 2023. 

“Dean Hill has led the Perkins School of Theology with a steady and compassionate hand during a time of great challenge within the United Methodist Church,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “His insight, outreach and vision have left a lasting mark on the Perkins School.”

Hill became the 11th dean of Perkins School of Theology in July, 2016. During his years at Perkins he led a thorough study and reorganization of the Office of Enrollment Management, doubling new student enrollment from 2016-2017 to 2019-2020. Under his leadership, financial aid to students increased by 50 percent. He also reinvigorated the Houston-Galveston extension site as a hybrid program. Hill broadened academic offerings to include the development of the Baptist House of Studies, the Black/Africana Studies and a healthcare chaplaincy program. In addition, a $7 million renovation of Perkins’ renowned Bridwell Library was completed in 2021, enabling significant acquisitions, such as the collection of the World Methodist Museum.

 “Under Dean Hill’s thoughtful leadership, the Perkins School has made great strides and has done so in the face of considerable headwinds,” said Elizabeth Loboa, SMU provost and vice president for academic affairs. “The school’s enrollment growth during his time as dean, both in on-campus programs and through innovative off-campus partnerships, has improved Perkins’ budget prospectus and has well positioned the school with greater equity, transparency and financial flexibility moving forward.”

Provost Loboa will work with Perkins faculty, executive board members, staff and students in the coming weeks to select an interim dean.

Hill came to SMU from Duke Divinity School, where he was executive director of the Doctor of Ministry and Master of Christian Practice programs and a research professor of theological pedagogy. Prior to his tenure at Duke, he served 15 years at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., as professor of New Testament. In addition, he holds an extensive list of global academic appointments including visiting professor in Russia and South Korea and served as a visiting fellow at the University of Cambridge and a Henry R. Luce Fellow at Yale Divinity School. His church appointments include serving at United Methodist churches in Connecticut and Illinois and as chaplain at Christ Church College, University of Oxford, England.

Hill earned a Bachelor of Arts in religion from Illinois Wesleyan University, a Master of Divinity from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the Christ Church College, University of Oxford.


About Perkins

Perkins School of Theology, founded in 1911, is one of five official University-related schools of theology of The United Methodist Church. Degree programs include the Master of Divinity, Master of Sacred Music, Master of Theological Studies, Master of Arts in Ministry, Master of Theology, Doctor of Ministry, and Doctor of Pastoral Music, as well as the Ph.D., in cooperation with the graduate program in religious studies at SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

About SMU

SMU (Southern Methodist University) is the nationally ranked global research university in the dynamic city of Dallas. SMU’s alumni, faculty and over 12,000 students in eight degree-granting schools demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit as they lead change in their professions, communities and the world.