The McDonald Chair

McDonald Agape Foundation logo

The Alonzo L. McDonald Family Chair on the Life and Teachings of Jesus and Their Impact on Culture is a distinguished visiting professorship at Candler School of Theology devoted to exploring Jesus’s effect on culture and, conversely, culture’s shaping of the figure of Jesus.

Interdisciplinary in character, The McDonald Chair allows scholars to approach the concept of Jesus and culture from a variety of perspectives. Holders of the chair have included artists, musicians, and poets, as well as scholars in the humanities and social sciences.

The McDonald Chair is supported by gifts from the McDonald Agape Foundation, founded by The Honorable Alonzo L. McDonald 48C, a longtime trustee of Emory University. The McDonald Agape Foundation “supports lectures and other public presentations that deal creatively and imaginatively with the person and teachings of Jesus as they shape and form culture.”

Learn more about the McDonald Agape Foundation.

Bishop Hee-Soo Jung, McDonald Chair 2023-24

Current Chair

Hee-Soo Jung has served as the resident bishop in the Wisconsin Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church since September of 2012. Jung played a key role in Wisconsin’s Imagine No Malaria Campaign, which raised more than $1 million.

Prior to leading the Wisconsin Conference UMC, Bishop Jung served eight years as bishop of the Northern Illinois Conference (Chicago area). He was instrumental in inspiring the Harvest 2020 movement in Northern Illinois, which resulted in many new faith communities.

Previously, Bishop Jung served as an elder in the Wisconsin Conference, where he was a pastor and a district superintendent. Bishop Jung taught and chaired the Department of Religion and Philosophy at Kangnam University in South Korea. He also served as pastor of congregations in California, Texas, and South Korea.

He is currently the president of the General Board of Global Ministry, chair of the UM Korean National Plan, and a member of the Board of Directors for Bread for the World. Bishop Jung serves as a member of the Ecumenical Forum for Korea at Geneva, Switzerland, and is actively involved in Korea peace and reconciliation. He has served as faculty for the Two-Year Academy for Spiritual Formation since 2005, and has taught in various Five-Day Academy sessions in the U.S. and abroad.

Previously, Bishop Jung served as president of United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), and as a member of the Board of Directors for the General Board of Discipleship, the UM National Hispanic Plan, the General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns, and the General Commission on United Methodist Men.

Upcoming Lectures

“Kenosis and Sunyata: Jesus Christ in Interfaith Context”

“Jesus’ Tears: Messianic Hope and Liberation in the Korean Diaspora”

Past McDonald Chairs


Christian Smith, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society, University of Notre Dame


Luke Timothy Johnson, Robert W. Woodruff Professor Emeritus of New Testament and Christian Origins


M. Shawn Copeland, Professor Emerita of Systematic Theology, Boston College


Roberto S. Goizueta, Margaret O’Brien Flatley Professor of Catholic Theology Emeritus, Boston College


Walter Fluker, Martin Luther King, Jr. Professor of Ethical Leadership at Boston University School of Theology


David F. Ford, Regius Professor of Divinity Emeritus, University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Selwyn College


David H. Kelsey, Luther A. Weigle Professor Emeritus of Theology, Yale Divinity School


Lloyd Baugh, Pontifical Georgian University (Rome)


Garry Wills, author, journalist and historian