Covenant Seminary is pleased to announce that, at the April 2021 meeting of the board, the Seminary’s Board of Trustees named Dr. Mark Dalbey President Emeritus. The announcement was made public at a special night of celebration for Dr. Dalbey held at the Seminary on Friday, April 30. [You can see photos of the event here, or watch the video here.]
Dalbey, who has served as the institution’s fifth President since 2013, will step down from his role as President at the end of the current academic year after faithfully serving in many different capacities for more than two decades. The move is part of a planned leadership transition as Dr. Dalbey prepares for retirement and a new phase of life and ministry. He will continue to serve the Seminary in the near future as a special advisor to incoming President Dr. Tom Gibbs, currently Senior Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church (PCA), who will take over the office this summer.
Dalbey first came to work at Covenant Seminary in 1999 as Dean of Students and Assistant Professor of Practical Theology (later Associate Professor of Applied Theology). Since that time, he has served in a variety of roles across the institution, including Vice President of Student Development and Vice President of Academics and Faculty Development, a post he held until becoming Interim President in 2012. In 2013 he became the institution’s fifth President. Throughout his time at Covenant, he has continued to teach courses on Christian Worship, Gospel-Centered Leadership, and Gospel-Centered Spirituality, as well as an occasional class on Gospel-Centered Parenting, co-taught with his wife, Beth. That last course is a subject dear to Mark’s heart as he and Beth have been married for nearly 50 years and have three grown, married children and eleven grandchildren.
Originally from Portland, Oregon, Dr. Dalbey comes from a long line of pastors and served in pastoral and educational positions himself for two decades before coming to Covenant. He was student-pastor of Bridgewater United Presbyterian Church in Beaver, Pennsylvania (1975–1977), during his time at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, then served as Assistant Dean of Religious Services (Chaplain) and Instructor in Bible at Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania (1977–1984); Solo Pastor of Church of the Covenant (PCA) in Cincinnati, Ohio (1984–1992); and Senior Pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Richmond, Indiana (1992–1999). Dalbey holds a BA in philosophy from Tarkio College, an MDiv from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, and a DMin from Covenant Seminary, where his dissertation focused on “A Biblical, Historical, and Contemporary Look at the Regulative Principle of Worship.” As a churchman, he has been active on a variety of committees at the presbytery and denominational levels for the Presbyterian Church in America.
Dr. Dalbey has led the Seminary through a period of significant change and innovation since 2012 which has included new degrees and delivery methods, the development of new extension sites and field education opportunities, a new Church Planting Track to accommodate the growing need for trained leaders to plant more gospel-preaching churches, increased scholarships and other support for students, and expanded partnerships with churches and institutions around the country and the world that help the Seminary meet the educational challenges of learning in a digital age and amidst a global pandemic.
Under his leadership the Seminary also recently completed the largest capital campaign in the institution’s history—the Hope for the Future campaign, which raised over $42 million in gifts and pledges for endowed scholarships, endowed faculty chairs, operational endowment, expanded educational and leadership training resources, and extensive improvements to campus technology to facilitate increased online and hybrid learning opportunities. Through it all, Dalbey’s leadership has remained steadfastly focused on the gospel of God’s grace and on the Seminary’s primary purpose to “glorify the triune God by training his servants to walk in God’s grace, minister God’s Word, and equip God’s people—all for God’s mission.”
Seminary Board Chairman, Dr. Miles Gresham noted, “In his time as President, Mark has been a faithful example of wise and godly leadership. His calm and humble demeanor and unwavering trust in the Lord have been a source of steady strength for the seminary of the Presbyterian Church in America, especially through the challenging times our denomination and our country have experienced in recent years.”
As he prepares to step away from his post, Dalbey notes, “It has been a great honor and privilege for me to serve over the years with the many faithful men and women of the faculty, staff, and student body of Covenant Seminary. I am grateful as well for the prayers, support, and friendship of our alumni, donors, and Board members. And I am especially grateful to the Lord for the opportunity he gave me to lead the Seminary through some challenging but also very exciting times that have enabled us to begin several new initiatives and further expand our ability to equip pastors and leaders for his church and Kingdom. It has been both the most humbling and the most fulfilling experience of my life in ministry.”
We are grateful for Dr. Dalbey’s years of faithful service and we rejoice in the many blessings God has brought under his leadership. Please rejoice with us as we look forward to seeing what the Lord will do through Mark as he enters a new chapter of his life and ministry.