Joseph C. Hough, Jr., served as Interim President of Claremont Graduate University from March 2009 to November 2010. Dr. Hough previously served for nine years (1999-2008) as the fifteenth president of Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York, where he is the William E. Dodge Professor of Social Ethics Emeritus.
While at Union, Dr. Hough raised nearly $30 million in capital funds for the Seminary as part of a $39 million comprehensive campaign completed in 2004. At the same time he guided Union through a strategic plan which made the Seminary fiscally viable, invigorated its academic programs, and strengthened the historic ties with neighboring institutions. He played a major role in establishing the Henry Luce III Chair in Reformation Church History and the Ane Marie and Bent Emil Nielsen Chair in Late Antique and Byzantine Christian History—two important new endowed chairs in Union's Church History Field. He was also instrumental in securing full funding for two existing chairs: the Reinhold Niebuhr Chair in Social Ethics and the Paul Tillich Chair of Theology, World Religions, and Culture. On the occasion of his retirement from Union, trustees and friends celebrated his work at Union by contributing $5 million to establish a new endowment for merit scholarships in honor of him and his wife Heidi.
Prior to assuming the post at Union, Dr. Hough served as Dean and Professor of Ethics of the Vanderbilt University Divinity School in Nashville, Tennessee, for nine years. He was also the first director of the Cal Turner Program in Moral Leadership, a program for the law, divinity, medical, and business schools of Vanderbilt. Before that, he served on the faculty of Claremont School of Theology and Chair of the Religion Department of Claremont Graduate School. He also served as dean of the Claremont School of Theology from 1974 to 1987.
Dr. Hough has earned numerous honors over the years, including a Doctor of Divinity from Wake Forest University and the Centennial Medal for Distinguished Service from Claremont in 1986. He also received the Joshua Award from the Jewish Federation Council in 1986 for outstanding contributions to human relations.
In 2007, Dr. Hough was the recipient of the Alumni Award for Distinction in Theological Education from Yale Divinity School, and in 2008 he received the "Urban Angels" Award from New York Theological Seminary. He was also the 2008 recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the Association of Theological Schools of the United States and Canada. This award, given every two years, recognized Dr. Hough's contributions to the institutions he has served and to the wider work of theological education.
A native of North Carolina, Hough did his undergraduate studies at Wake Forest and earned the B.D. from Yale Divinity School and after three years in local church ministry returned to Yale University to earn his M.A. in 1964 and his Ph.D. in Ethics in 1965.
Dr. Hough, an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, is the author, coauthor, or editor of several books including Christian Identity and Theological Education; Beyond Clericalism: The Congregation as a Focus for Theological Education; Theology and the University; and Black Power and White Protestants. He is frequently called on to speak to media and public gatherings as a strong voice for religious tolerance.
Joe and Heidi Hough are once again residents of Claremont, California, where they lived for 25 years and raised their two sons.