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January 2020

Headshot of Fr. Joseph Mueller, S.J.,  in collar

Headshot of Fr. Joseph Mueller, S.J., in collar

Marquette University Jesuit Rector, Theologian, to Lead Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University

Santa Clara University has chosen Marquette University Jesuit Rector Joseph Mueller, S.J. to be dean of its Jesuit School of Theology.

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Jan. 23, 2020— Joseph G. Mueller, S.J., 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).

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.

Mueller, 60, 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, a post typically offered to experienced Jesuits.

He is the author of the French language book, “The Old Testament in the Ecclesiology of Fathers” which analyzes a collection of ancient church administration sources known as the Apostolic Constitutions. 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 Kevin O’Brien, S.J. “We are blessed to have his strong leadership.”

Mueller grew up in Livonia, a Detroit suburb, the seventh of 10 children. His father worked for 30 years as a mechanical and electrical engineer—and sometimes test driver—for Chrysler. His mother worked the midnight shift as a registered nurse after the birth of her 10th child. Mueller attended the University of Detroit Jesuit High School then went “sight unseen” to Marquette University, after which he joined the Detroit Province of 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 the doctorate, in North America, Europe, and Africa.

In addition to his B.A. in French and theology from Marquette, Mueller received two theology degrees from Centre Sèvres in Paris; a master's in divinity from Weston School of Theology (now part of Boston College); and an M.A. in philosophy from Loyola University of Chicago.

Mueller joins JST-SCU at a time of deep innovation and expansion led by former Dean O’Brien and cultivated by Interim Dean Alison Benders. The school in early 2018 completed an ambitious strategic plan with goals of actively engaging the public on timely issues by deepening JST-SCU’s expertise in the culturally contextualized study of theology; deepening students’ academic and ministerial formation through experiential and interdisciplinary learning; and devoting resources to advancing academic and ministerial excellence and innovation.

“I am looking forward to helping JST form the next generation of lay and ordained ministers for the Church,” said 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.”

About the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University
The Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University, located in Berkeley, California, is a preeminent international center for the culturally contextualized study of theology. Its mission is to inspire and prepare men and women to become leaders in the Church, academy, and society, serving others through a faith that does justice. Rooted in Ignatian spirituality, JST-SCU educates and trains Jesuits, religious, ordained, and lay students from across the United States and from 40 other countries for lives dedicated to ministry and scholarship.

About Santa Clara University
Founded in 1851, Santa Clara University sits in the heart of Silicon Valley—the world’s most innovative and entrepreneurial region. The University’s stunningly landscaped 106-acre campus is home to the historic Mission Santa Clara de Asís. Ranked among the top 15 percent of national universities by U.S. News & World Report, SCU has among the best four-year graduation rates in the nation and is rated by PayScale in the top 1 percent of universities with the highest-paid graduates. SCU has produced elite levels of Fulbright Scholars as well as four Rhodes Scholars. With undergraduate programs in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, and graduate programs in six disciplines, the curriculum blends high-tech innovation with social consciousness grounded in the tradition of Jesuit, Catholic education. For more information see

Media Contact
Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Communications | | 408-554-5121


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