Prior to current president Mark Labberton, Fuller Seminary has had four presidents since its founding in 1947:
Harold John Ockenga, Founding President
Edward John Carnell, Second President
David Allan Hubbard, Third President
Richard J. Mouw, Fourth President
Read more about each of these presidents in the tabs that follow.
Harold OckengaHarold John Ockenga (1947–1954 and 1960–1963)
served as the seminary’s first president, making untold numbers of transcontinental journeys in order to carry out his duties in Pasadena while continuing to serve as pastor of thehistoric Park Street Church in Boston. Articulate and well educated, Ockenga laid a strong foundation for the seminary’s emphasis on excellence in scholarship. He contributed enormously to the establishment of Fuller as a leading voice in evangelicalism,engaging the broader culture and setting in motion the kind of critical thought and social engagement that has come to characterize Fuller Seminary. Read excerpts from Dr. Ockenga’s opening convocation address, “The Challenge to the Christian Culture of the West.”
Edward CarnellEdward John Carnell (1954–1959)
, Fuller Seminary’s second president, was the first to serve in full-time residence. A visionary apologist and popular teacher, Carnell squarely faced the fundamentalism movement with intellectual rigor, forging a path that was both thoughtful and theologically orthodox. His presidential inaugural address, “The Glory of a Theological Seminary,”
controversial at the time he delivered it, expressed the kind of gentle, tolerant evangelicalism that is central to Fuller Seminary today. During his tenure, in 1957, the seminary received full accreditation from the American Association of Theological Schools.
Carnell resigned from the presidency in 1959 to devote himself fully to teaching and writing, and Ockenga again became president for an interim term.
David A. HubbardDavid Allan Hubbard (1963–1993)
, named Fuller’s third president at the age of 35, guided the school through a formative three decades with wisdom and vision. Referring to Fuller as partaking in an “ecumenical experiment,” Hubbard advocated for unity in the midst of diversity across the evangelical spectrum. He skillfully steered what he called “The Good Ship Fuller”
through times of controversy in the 1960s and 1970s concerning biblical infallibility, standing for the authority of Scripture while recognizing differing perspectives and the need for dialogue among mainline, evangelical, liberal, and conservative Christians.
Under Hubbard’s leadership the Schools of Psychology and World Mission were founded, joining the School of Theology. All three schools were accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges in 1969. Also under Hubbard’s direction, Fuller developed its “Mission Beyond the Mission” statement, addressing a broad range of challenging moral and ethical issues from a scriptural perspective. Read Dr. Hubbard’s inaugural address, “Is the Ministry Keeping Pace?” and his 1979 lecture “Destined to Boldness: A Biography of an Evangelical Institution.”
Richard MouwRichard J. Mouw (1993–2013)
, Fuller’s fourth president, substantially furthered the seminary’s call for evangelical engagement in the public square while continuing a firm commitment to excellence in biblical scholarship grounded in the gospel. A respected leader in the evangelical world, Mouw advocated building bridges across divides of faith and culture through dialogue characterized by “convicted civility.” He established Fuller as a convening place where diverse peoples—from international students to those of different faith traditions—could share disparate views and forge new understandings.
Significant achievements during Mouw’s presidency included the development of several innovative centers and institutes—the Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts
, Max De Pree Center for Leadership
, and Fuller Youth Institute
among them—numerous international partnerships, new degree offerings at Fuller’s regional campuses, and online program options. Also during his tenure the David Allan Hubbard Library, Chang Commons student housing, and Student Services Center were opened at the Pasadena campus.See, read, watch more about Dr. Mouw’s presidency, his addresses, writings, reflections, and tributes from others on “Honoring President Richard J. Mouw: A Legacy of Global Evangelical Leadership.”