James and Marilyn Dunn Chair in Baptist Studies and University Professor of African American Studies

Alton B. Pollard III is the James and Marilyn Dunn Chair in Baptist Studies in the School of Divinity and University Professor of African American Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences.

He is president emeritus of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. A scholar, author, consultant, and speaker on the subject of African American and U.S. religion and culture, Pollard was previously dean of the School of Divinity and professor of religion and culture at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Prior to his years at Howard University, Pollard served as director of Black Church Studies at Candler School of Theology and chair of American Religious Cultures in the Graduate Division of Religion at Emory University, having taught at Wake Forest University and St. Olaf College.

Pollard is the author of Mysticism and Social Change: The Social Witness of Howard Thurman, and a new edition of W.E.B. DuBois’s The Negro Church, as well as coauthor of Helpers for a Healing Community: A Pastoral Care Manual for HIV/AIDS. Other volumes he has co-edited include How Long This Road: Race, Religion and the Legacy of C. Eric Lincoln (2003); The Papers of Howard Washington Thurman Volumes I and II; and The Black Church Studies Reader. He has also written dozens of book chapters, journal articles, and op-eds.

He serves on the Board of Directors for In Trust Center for Theological Schools and chaired the Louisville Institute Advisory Board. He has served on the Hanover College Board of Trustees, the Board of the Center for Congregations, and the Luce Fund for Theological Education Advisory Committee, among others. Pollard was on the Board of Commissioners for the Association of Theological Schools from 2010-2016 and was chair from 2014-2016. He is a member of the Society for the Study of Black Religion and the American Academy of Religion.

Pollard earned his doctorate from Duke University, his Master of Divinity degree from Harvard Divinity School, and his Bachelor of Arts degree from Fisk University.

A native of St. Paul, Minnesota, Pollard and his wife Jessica have two adult children and three grandchildren.


Office: Divinity and Religious Studies Building

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