ATS Executive Director Commencement Speaker


Dr. Frank Yamada, executive director of the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), will speak at Saint Vincent Seminary’s 173rd annual commencement, Friday, May 10, The vespers and commencement will be held in the Archabbey Basilica. As executive director of the ATS, Dr. Yamada serves as administrator to the Association and its Commission on Accrediting. The ATS accredits and provides services to more than 270 seminaries and graduate schools in the United States and Canada.

Prior to being appointed to lead the ATS in 2017, Dr. Yamada was an associate professor of Hebrew Bible, director of the Center for Asian American Ministries at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, and was the tenth president at McCormick, making him the first Asian-American to lead a Presbyterian (USA) Seminary. While at McCormick, his tenure was marked by increasing diversity in the student body and creative engagement with the shifting realities of theological education. He previously taught Hebrew Bible/Old Testament for nine years at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. 

Dr. Yamada is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature and is an active chair of the Asian American Biblical Hermeneutics Group, and the Committee for Underrepresented Racial and Ethnic Minorities in the Profession. He was previously a member of the Ethnic Chinese Biblical Colloquium and the American Academy of Religion, and the co-chair for the Managing Board of the Asian Pacific Americans and Religion Research Initiative annual conference.

His interest in cross-cultural hermeneutics led to his authorship of Configurations of Rape in the Hebrew Bible: A Literary Analysis of Three Rape Narratives, and was an editor and contributor to The Peoples’ Companion to the Bible and The Peoples’ Bible. 

He received a bachelor of arts degree in religion from Southern California College and master of divinity and doctor of philosophy degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary. He is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church. He resides in Pittsburgh with his wife Michelle. They have two sons, Stephen and Adam.