January 27, 2020 — Fr. Joseph G. Mueller, SJ, the rector of Marquette University’s Jesuit Community and a seasoned administrator and professor of theology, has been chosen as the new dean of the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University (JST-SCU).
Fr. Mueller will start his new role at the 86-year-old Berkeley-based institution July 1.
JST-SCU is a leading institution in Catholic theological studies and ministry. Its students are lay women and men, Jesuits in formation and members of other religious orders of all ages, who come to JST from across the nation and from 40 countries to prepare for a broad range of ministries in service to the church and world. It is one of two theologates in the U.S. that provide advanced degrees and education to Jesuits.
Fr. Mueller has taught at Marquette for more than 20 years, after a year as a philosophy instructor at Boston College. He has also spent a semester as a visiting professor at the Institute of Theology of the Society of Jesus in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
He was previously associate dean for academic affairs in Marquette’s Helen Way Klingler College of Arts and Sciences and also served as director of graduate studies and assistant chairman for the Department of Theology. He served for seven years for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on the Faith and Order Commission of the National Council of Churches of Christ. In 2017, he was named rector of Marquette’s Jesuit Community.
In his scholarly work, he specializes in the study of early Christian theologians, especially those of the first five centuries, and of ancient and contemporary ideas on the nature, structure and mission of the church.
“Fr. Mueller brings broad theological, pastoral, managerial and administrative experience that will serve him extremely well as our next JST dean,” said Santa Clara University President and former JST-SCU Dean Fr. Kevin O’Brien, SJ. “We are blessed to have his strong leadership.”
Fr. Mueller grew up in Livonia, a Detroit suburb, the seventh of 10 children. He attended the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and then went “sight unseen” to Marquette University, after which he joined the Society of Jesus in 1982. Ordained to the priesthood in 1993, he has worked in Jesuit educational institutions at every level from kindergarten to graduate school, in North America, Europe and Africa.
In addition to his bachelor's degree in French and theology from Marquette, Fr. Mueller received two theology degrees from Centre Sèvres in Paris; a master's degree in divinity from Weston School of Theology (now part of Boston College); and a master's degree in philosophy from Loyola University of Chicago.
“I am looking forward to helping JST form the next generation of lay and ordained ministers for the church,” said Fr. Mueller. “I want to help our school continue to grow as it addresses the changing needs of the church in all the regions and countries where our alumni serve.” [Source: Santa Clara University, Jesuits West]