Dear Members of the Syracuse University Community: Over the last several months, hundreds of students, faculty, staff, administrators and trustees have engaged in constructive, collaborative and respectful dialogue. The Board of Trustees created a Special Committee on University Climate, Diversity…
Chancellor Syverud Names the Rev. Dr. Brian E. Konkol 7th Dean of Hendricks Chapel
Syracuse University Chancellor Kent Syverud today announced the appointment of the Rev. Dr. Brian E. Konkol as dean of Hendricks Chapel. Reporting directly to the Chancellor, Dean Konkol will strengthen the role of the chapel as the spiritual heart of the campus and a model for diversity and inclusion of philosophies and religions. Konkol’s appointment is effective July 15 and has been approved by the Board of Trustees Executive Committee.
“Brian has an impressive depth of experience in spiritual leadership and campus outreach that will generate wider community engagement with the chapel, its facilities and services,” says Chancellor Syverud. “This is a pivotal year for Hendricks Chapel. It will expand its role as the spiritual center of a global university where all viewpoints are explored and respected, and where diverse constituencies can come together and find common ground.”
Konkol comes to Syracuse from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota. There, he has served as chaplain of the college since 2013. In this role, he provides strategic leadership to the Office of the Chaplains and is a faculty member of the Peace, Justice and Conflict Studies program. He also serves as the faculty liaison to the men’s basketball team.
“Syracuse University is gifted with history and bursting with possibility,” says Konkol. “In addition to an exceptional assembly of faculty, students, staff and alumni, there exists a visible and vibrant yearning to honor our most pressing questions surrounding meaning, purpose, dignity and hope. At a time when engaging such matters of religion, spirituality and ethics is increasingly viewed as an educational necessity, I am honored and excited to carry forward the profound legacy of Hendricks Chapel.”
Konkol, an ordained minister of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), has a diverse and global background of service, ministry and teaching. Prior to his appointment to Gustavus Adolphus College, he served as co-pastor of Lake Edge Lutheran Church in Madison, Wisconsin, with responsibilities surrounding multicultural engagement and public advocacy. From 2008 to 2012, he served in South Africa as country coordinator of the Young Adults in Global Mission program of the ELCA. He also assisted in parish ministry alongside isiZulu-speaking congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa, lectured at the Lutheran Theological Institute and participated with the World Council of Churches and Lutheran World Federation in the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
From 2003 to 2007, Konkol interned with and later served a parish with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Guyana, where he also lectured at the Lutheran Lay Academy and co-hosted the nationally televised broadcast “Word for the World.” He served on a variety of community organizing committees, many of which focused on ecumenical and interfaith cooperation, poverty, children and youth development, and ecological sustainability.
Konkol is originally from Amherst Junction, Wisconsin. He is a graduate of Amherst High School and earned a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice from Viterbo University, La Crosse, Wisconsin. He earned a master of divinity degree from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, and master of theology and doctor of philosophy degrees in the School of Religion, Philosophy, and Classics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
“I am grateful to the dedication and diligence of the search committee, led by Hendricks Chapel Interim Dean Sam Clemence and Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff Candace Campbell Jackson,” adds Syverud. “They understood how critical it was to find a strong and innovative leader for the chapel, which has been a home for all faiths and a place for all people for more than eight decades.”
“This appointment represents a new chapter in the storied life of Hendricks Chapel,” says Clemence. “Early on in the search process, all of us on the search committee knew Brian possessed the experience, skills and character necessary for this critically important role at Syracuse University. We are delighted he will be leading the chapel and are eager to see the great things he will accomplish.”
The search committee, assisted by the executive recruiting firm Witt/Kieffer, included Andrew Clark, senior associate vice president, Operational Excellence; Rabbi Leah Fein, Hillel Center and Jewish Chaplaincy; Daniel Feng, community representative; Mara Julin, student representative; Joan Nicholson, University Board of Trustees; Martha Sutter, director and assistant professor, Setnor School of Music, College of Visual and Performing Arts; and David Van Slyke, dean, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.
A sought-after preacher, frequent presenter at conferences, and a prolific writer (with a book on mission and dehumanization set for release with Fortress Press in June), Konkol will be charged with reviewing and instituting recommendations from the Hendricks Chapel Study Committee to enhance the chapel’s role and impact in the community.
Konkol and his wife, Dr. Kristen (Tews) Konkol, an assistant professor of exercise science/exercise physiology at Minnesota State University, Mankato, have a son, Khaya, and a daughter, Tobi.