The Rev. Dr. David Vásquez has been recommended to the Pacific School of Religion,

Berkley, California, Board of Trustees by the Presidential Search Committee and Trustee leadership to become the next president of PSR. The Board of Trustees will act on this recommendation at an August meeting. It is anticipated a new president will begin work Jan. 1, 2015.

Pastor Vásquez has served as campus pastor at Luther College in Decorah since 2001. In that position, Vásquez and his colleagues supported a dynamic campus congregation by cultivating student leadership, developing and enhancing worship and study opportunities, small group ministries and interfaith engagement, and leading educational experiences in Guatemala, Ghana, Israel, Palestine and Jordan. He was awarded a $15,000 Louisville Institute grant to develop his "People on the Move" project aimed at encouraging pastoral leaders to extend their leadership in ways that benefit the broader church and culture.

Following the May 2008 immigration raid in nearby Postville Vásquez went to the scene to support local people who were affected and to help determine how the larger community could respond. Through the creation of the Postville Relief Effort, Vásquez led a core team to marshal resources to meet food, housing and legal aid, all the while advocating for the needs of those affected and for more humane immigration policies. This work led him to serve as a consultant on various documentaries, speak before a congressional hearing on immigration policy, coordinate refugee resettlement with the Lutheran Refugee Committee in Canada and attend two White House briefings, adding a faith perspective to the national conversation on immigration.

At the time of Luther's Sesquicentenial, Vásquez served on a regent-chartered task force aimed at positioning Luther to respond to economic challenges and major shifts and disruptions taking place in higher education while preparing the college for presidential transition. He is a member of the College Resource Council that advises the administration and regents on resource management and allocation in support of institutional goals.

His recent research focus has been on migration as a central image in sacred texts, exploring migration stories in the Bible and in people's lives, including authoring "Out of the Waters: Resisting the Power of Fear," a Bible study on the book of Exodus published by the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services; "1 and 2 Samuel," from the Books of Faith Bible Study Series by Augsburg Fortress Publishers; and co-authoring with Diane Jacobson "Ruth," published under the same series. Current projects include a study on accompaniment for the ELCA Global Mission Unit.

Vásquez is a regular speaker and preacher at regional and national events, addressing themes of migration and faith, youth and adult development, biblical fluency, and higher education as vocation.

Previously Vásquez was pastor at St. Mark's Lutheran church in Batesville, Indiana.

Vásquez holds a bachelor's degree in computer science from Texas Lutheran University, a master's degree in divinity from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, and studied at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. He received a Doctorate of Ministry in Preaching (D. Min.) through the Association of Chicago Theological Schools.

Vásquez lives in Decorah with his wife Dr. Karla Suomala, associate professor of religion, and their two children, Dawit and Meheret.

“We want to congratulate Pastor David, to wish him the best on this new adventure in vocation, and to thank Pastor David and Professor Karla Suomala for their 13 years of dedicated service to Luther,” said Luther President Paula Carlson.

“During his time at Luther, Pastor David has worked with the campus congregation and student leadership to develop and enhance worship opportunities, traveled around the world with student groups for mission work, was awarded a $15,000 grant to develop his "People on the Move" project and has twice traveled to Washington D.C. to meet with lawmakers concerning fair and compassionate immigration reform. His service to the college and the greater community has made a distinctive mark that will not soon be forgotten.”