mcdonald-chair-logo.jpgThe McDonald Agape Foundation has long supported Candler School of Theology, and its most recent gift promises to advance the study of the New Testament. The $1.2 million gift, which funds a New Testament professorship through the 2026–2027 academic year, is both timely and appreciated. “It provides seed funding for us to attract a scholar on the cutting edge of New Testament studies, one who will join our faculty as a tenured professor,” says Jan Love, Mary Lee Hardin Willard Dean and Professor of Christianity and World Politics.

The new position allows Candler to continue hiring eminent scholars, building on its dedication to excellence in biblical studies. This dovetails nicely with the McDonald Agape Foundation’s goal “to encourage distinguished scholars for Christ.”

Luke Timothy Johnson, Robert W. Woodruff Professor Emeritus of New Testament and Christian Origins, describes it as a “faith-filled and scholarly gift that exemplifies the continuing generosity of the McDonald Agape Foundation’s support of both Candler and Emory.”

The new position will also complement the longstanding Alonzo L. McDonald Family Chair on the Life and Teachings of Jesus and Their Impact on Culture, a yearly visiting professorship that explores how the life and teachings of Jesus Christ affect culture and how culture shapes views about Jesus. “This new professorship will examine what Christ says in the Gospels and New Testament, while the McDonald Family Chair examines how the teachings of Christ influence present-day life,” says Peter McDonald, president of the McDonald Agape Foundation. “One gift addresses biblical theology; the other, practical theology.” The recipient of the new McDonald Agape Foundation professorship may be named to an existing endowed position at the end of the gift’s term.

Peter McDonald is the son of Alonzo L. McDonald Jr. 48C, who created the foundation. “My father was an Emory graduate who became a devout Christian late in life,” he explains. The McDonald Agape Foundation, in addition to the two positions at Candler School of Theology, has funded in the School of Law 15 McDonald Distinguished Fellows in Law and Religion, as well as a distinguished professorship of law. “The foundation looks at how we can invite a more robust and distinguished narrative around questions of law, mercy, ethics, medicine, the arts, history, and theology across the university,” McDonald says.

“We want to help Candler continue to be a place where the Bible is studied with vigor and knowledge, with a faculty whose commitment to both learning and religious practices flourishes,” McDonald says. “We see this gift as an opportunity to create a greater understanding and a stronger practice around what Christ meant and does mean to the academy, the church, and the world.”

To inquire about making a gift to support Candler School of Theology, contact Assistant Dean of Advancement and Alumni Engagement Bill Doerr at 404.727.8882 or