Kleinhans, a pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, was the first woman hired to teach religion full time at Wartburg in 1993 and has served as the McCoy Family Chair since 2013.
“I can’t imagine a better place to have been for the last 24 1/2 years than Wartburg College,” Kleinhans said. “I have been blessed with the opportunity to work with colleagues from many disciplines and to teach and mentor students pursuing many vocations. Wartburg’s mission is, and will remain, dear to my heart.”
Trinity Lutheran Seminary at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, will begin operations Jan. 1 under Kleinhans’ leadership. The schools have intermittently been connected since 1830, when Capital and the then-Evangelical Lutheran Theological Seminary were united as one institution.
“It’s precisely my experience in the undergraduate context at Wartburg that will allow me to guide Trinity Lutheran Seminary as it becomes part of Capital University,” Kleinhans said.
Like Wartburg, Capital and Trinity are schools affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.
“I believe that the work I have done as the McCoy Family Distinguished Chair in Lutheran Heritage and Mission will allow me to enrich Capital’s understanding of its own heritage and mission,” Kleinhans said.
Kleinhans earned a bachelor’s degree in theology from Valparaiso University, a Master of Divinity from Christ Seminary — Seminex and the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and a doctorate in theological studies from Emory University. She chaired Wartburg’s Department of Religion and Philosophy from 1999 to 2010. Kleinhans also is a highly respected scholar with expertise on the theology of Martin Luther and the Lutheran Confessions.
“I am so happy for Kit. She has served Wartburg College and the wider ELCA so capably for so many years that this opportunity and challenge is a perfect next step for her,” said Wartburg President Darrel Colson. “We will miss her very much at Wartburg but could not be prouder of her success.”