Published on August 16, 2019 by Kristen Padilla  
Thomas L. Fuller
Thomas L. Fuller

Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School is pleased to announce the appointment of Thomas L. Fuller as the new associate dean for academic affairs, effective Oct. 1, 2019.

Fuller, who currently serves as Beeson Divinity’s Director of Ministry Studies, succeeds Beeson alum Grant D. Taylor, who has served in this role since 2015 and recently has been appointed as the Academic Dean and Lecturer in New Testament at Trinity Theological College in Perth, Australia.

“I am so grateful to the Lord for Dr. Fuller's willingness to assume our Associate Deanship,” said Dean Douglas A. Sweeney. “He complements me in all the most important ways. He has served Beeson Divinity School for more than two decades. He specializes in higher education administration, with extensive expertise in the field of accreditation. His ordination as a Southern Baptist complements my churchmanship in Lutheran denominations. And he knows Alabama like the back of his hand.” 

Fuller joined the divinity school twenty years ago as the director of the Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) program and later transitioned into the director of ministry leadership development, placement and assessment. Last year, he began serving again as director of the D.Min. program, overseeing a curriculum revision.

In his role as associate dean, Fuller will continue to supervise assessment and accreditation and will oversee the divinity school’s curriculum, Thriving in Ministry initiative and programs. Fuller contributes regularly to scholarly discussions through his research, speaking and writing. He has served in leadership capacities for the Association for Theological Field Education and the Evangelical Association of Theological Field Educators and presently serves on the editorial board for the international journal Christian Higher Education

An ordained Baptist minister, Fuller has served churches in Indiana and Alabama and is currently a member of Hunter Street Baptist Church in Hoover. He is married to Allison, and they have six children.

“I am immensely grateful for the opportunities I have been afforded to serve at Beeson Divinity School over the past 20 years, and now also for this opportunity to serve as associate dean,” Fuller said. “As we enter a new season under the leadership of Dean Doug Sweeney, I look forward to working with him and our faculty, staff, students and alumni to make Beeson even more effective in its mission of preparing God-called persons to serve as ministers in the church of Jesus Christ.”

With Fuller’s appointment, Methodist Chair of Divinity Michael Pasquarello III has agreed to oversee the D.Min. program, which he will direct along with the Robert Smith Jr. Preaching Institute, effective Sept. 1.

"Dr. Pasquarello is ideally suited to lead our D.Min. program, as he practices so well what we teach in D.Min. classes,” Sweeney said. “As our Methodist Chair of Divinity and director of the Robert Smith Jr. Preaching Institute, he embodies in his person, his ministry and his scholarship just what we need at the helm moving forward. His passion to equip pastors and churches theologically is, in my view, also what our congregations need to make disciples in an increasingly secular age."

Pasquarello came to Beeson Divinity in 2018 from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif., to lead the new Smith Institute and teach courses in Christian preaching and theology. Pasquarello is the author of eight books, including most recently The Beauty of Preaching: A Homiletic Aesthetics (Eerdmans, forthcoming), Dietrich: Bonhoeffer and the Theology of a Preaching Life (Baylor University Press, 2017) and God’s Ploughman: Hugh Latimer, A Preaching Life 1490-1555 (Paternoster Press, 2014), and has published numerous articles and essays.  

An ordained minister in the United Methodist Church, Pasquarello served as a full-time pastor in the North Carolina Annual Conference from 1983 to 2001. He is also active in several academic societies, including the Academy of Homiletics, the Wesleyan Theological Society and the Society of Biblical Literature. Pasquarello and his wife Patti have four children.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.