The Rev. Neale S. Bennet, an Anglican priest from the diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, has been appointed the next president of the Halifax-based Atlantic School of Theology (AST).
Bennet, who is currently the director of organizational learning at Nova Scotia Community College, will assume his new post effective July 1, 2015.
A graduate of the AST, Bennet has a background in strategic organizational leadership, organizational learning and leadership development, according to an AST news release announcing his appointment.
“I’m thrilled to be returning to AST in this role,” said Bennet in the news release. “AST offers students a transformative learning experience enabled by outstanding faculty who are thought leaders in their field. And with more than a 40-year history of ecumenical collaboration, the university is a living example of community in diversity.”
Bennet said he was looking forward to building new partnerships and linking with organizations “who see society’s need for inspired leadership grounded in deep values.”
Bennet succeeds Daniel O’Brien, who will complete his second one-year term as president.
Steve Foran, chair of the AST board of governors, said the board found in Bennet “the leader we have been looking for at this unique time.” Noting that the AST plays a crucial role in Canadian society and in “shaping effective and faithful leaders who make a difference in the lives of their communities,” Foran said the board wanted someone “who embodies what the university stands for and who has the right mix of skills and experience to take AST forward into the next century.”
Founded in 1971 by the Anglican Church of Canada, the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of Halifax and the United Church of Canada, AST’s website describes it as an ecumenical school of theology that “cultivates excellence in graduate-level theological education and research, creative and faithful formation for lay and ordained ministries, and understanding among communities of faith.”
Bennet co-leads the diocese of Nova Scotia and PEI’s vision strategy and support team on Building Healthy Leadership and is a conference leader at its annual gathering for people discerning a call to ordained ministry in the Anglican Church of Canada.
Ordained in 2004, after a career in marketing and communications, he is an honorary assistant at St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Halifax.
Previously, he served as director of organizational development and transformation at Capital Health.
Bennet and his wife, Sharon, and their grown children Jack and Claire, reside in Halifax.