The school’s 9th President, Dr. Evans was, in 1990, the first African American to serve as CRCDS’ Chief Executive Officer. During his ten-year tenure, the seminary established the Program for the Study of Women and Gender in Church and Society, focused on faculty recruitment, increased the endowment, created the Tower Society, and increased available scholarships for students.
Dr. Evans joined the divinity school’s faculty in 1979 as an Instructor of Theology and Black Church Studies. Upon conferral of the Ph.D. in 1980, he was advanced to full-time tenure-track status. During his almost three decades of service to students and the broader community, Dr. Evans served with distinction as Dean of the Program of Black Church Studies, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Professor of Theology and Black Church Studies and, the Robert K. Davies Professor of Systematic Theology.
A member of several academic guilds, to include the Society for the Study of Black Religion, Dr. Evans is the author of numerous articles and five books: Playing: Christian Explorations of Daily Living; We Shall All Be Changed: Social Problems and Theological Renewal; We Have Been Believers: An African American Systematic Theology; Black Theology: A Critical Assessment and Annotated Bibliography; and Spiritual Empowerment in Afro-American Literature. Co-editor of Modern Christian Thought, Volume II, Second Edition, Dr. Evans authored a three-act play, Swamp Angel.
A native of Detroit, Michigan and the son of a Baptist minister, Dr. Evans is a graduate of the Cranbrook Schools, the University of Michigan (A.B.), Yale University Divinity School (M.Div.), and Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York (M.Phil. and Ph.D). He was consecrated as a Bishop in The Kingdom Council of Interdependent Christian Churches and Ministries in 2016. His service to church and numerous local and national non-profits and boards includes a four-year term as President of the American Baptist Association of Seminary Administrators, President of the Rochester Area College Presidents, and Vice Chair of the Board of Education and Publications for the Progressive National Baptist Convention, USA.
Dr. Evans and his wife, the Reverend Dr. Linda Hickmon Evans, are the founding Pastors of the St. Luke Tabernacle Community Church in Rochester, New York, established in 2000, and St. Luke Tabernacle Community Church of Detroit, Michigan in 2006. Bishop James H. Evans Jr., PhD is the father of three: James, Jamila, and Jumaane, and grandfather of four: Christian James, Jayla Symone, Jayden Valentina, and Josiah Beau.
News 10 NBC: First African-American President of Colgate Divinity School remembered for legacy of service