Dr. Lisa Dahill Appointed as Miriam Therese Winter Chair

April 12, 2022
Dr. Lisa Dahill out doors with trees and flowers

The Hartford International University Board of Trustees has approved the appointment of Dr. Lisa Dahill, a professor and scholar of Christian spirituality, Earth-centered traditions, and inter-religious eco-theology, as the Miriam Therese Winter Chair for Transformative Leadership and Spirituality.

Dr. Dahill comes to us from California Lutheran University, where she is Professor of Religion teaching courses such as Environmental Ethics, Rites of Passage, and Spirituality and the Arts. She will start her work at Hartford International University on July 1.

The Miriam Therese Winter Chair for Transformative Leadership and Spirituality is named after renowned Professor Emerita Miriam Therese Winter, a Medical Mission Sister, a feminist theologian, an acclaimed author, and an internationally known musician who has written hundreds of hymns and songs, including the iconic “Joy Is Like the Rain.”

In her 40-plus years at HIU, Dr. Winter has influenced thousands of lives through her teaching and through programs she established, such as the Women’s Leadership Institute and the MA in Transformative Leadership and Spirituality. Through the generous gifts of numerous donors, the endowed position will support transformative leadership and spirituality, and ensure that the legacy of Dr. Winter has a permanent home at the University.

President Joel N. Lohr said of the appointment, “We always knew this would be an important hire. Named after an internationally celebrated, renowned spiritual force and leading scholar-practitioner, I confess I have long worried whether we would ever find someone who could possibly live up to and live into all that Professor Emerita Miriam Therese Winter represents. In Professor Dahill, we have found just that. Lisa is an incredible scholar, teacher, and spiritual leader, someone who is deeply in tune with God, humankind, and all of creation. HIU is immensely blessed to announce this hire and welcome Professor Dahill to our thriving community.”

Dr. Dahill received her BA from Gustavus Adolphus College and her Master of Divinity from The Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. She is ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). She earned her Doctor of Philosophy in Theology from the Graduate Theological Union, and she served on the faculty of Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, OH, prior to her appointment to California Lutheran University in 2015.

Much of her writing has focused on the work of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, as well as ecological issues. Her latest book is Eco-Reformation: Grace and Hope for a Planet in Peril, co-edited with James B. Martin-Schramm, and she is working now on a new book on reading Bonhoeffer ecologically.

Dr. Winter had these words of welcome for Dr. Dahill: "With deep gratitude to the Spirit so tangibly present here at HIU, and to those charged with finding someone to fill the academic Chair in Transformative Leadership and Spirituality, I rejoice in their selection and look forward wholeheartedly to supporting Dr. Lisa Dahill as we journey together into a rapidly evolving future."

In March 2021, Dr. Dahill received a Sabbatical Grant for Researchers from the Louisville Institute for “Rewilding Life Together: Bonhoeffer, Spirituality, and Interspecies Community.” She has also received a number of Hewlett Research Grants and has been a Poet in Residence for several institutions. Her extensive resume includes dozens of articles, book chapters, and presentations, as well as books oriented to both scholarly and popular audiences.

In response to her appointment, Dr. Dahill said, “I am truly thrilled to be invited into the dynamic community of HIU – forward-thinking energy, its people of all backgrounds, its rivers and trees and place in the world. To help carry forward MT Winter's decades of leadership and her vision of an encompassing and transformative spirituality alive in all the cosmos is a profoundly energizing call, and I can't wait to jump in.”

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