Richard Tholin

Class Year: 1949
Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 2009

The Reverend Dr. Richard Tholin ’49 is a distinguished scholar and leader in seminary education, including long service as vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. He has been recognized for his leadership in the United Methodist Church (UMC) and as a community activist focused on peace and justice, affordable housing and the abolition of nuclear weapons. After North Central College, Richard earned a bachelor of divinity from Evangelical Theological Seminary in 1952, a master’s degree in world mission in 1960 and a doctorate in Christian ethics in 1967 from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. His career path included serving as pastor of Diversey Parkway Evangelical United Brethren Church, Chicago (1952-1959) before going on to become a teacher, administrator and senior scholar at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.
Special recognitions in the UMC include election as a delegate to the General Conference four times and membership on the General Board of Church and Society (1968-1976). As a member of the General Board of Global Ministries (1976-1984), he chaired the task force that developed the Africa Church Growth and Development Program and served on its board (1977-1986).
Richard and his wife, Phyllis Eckardt ’49 Tholin, are loyal supporters of North Central and have donated their extensive collection of books on Chicago to the College. This working collection, particularly useful for students in the Chicago Term program, is housed in the Haven Hubbard room in Oesterle Library.