Pamela R. Durso was appointed as the 11th president of Central Seminary in Shawnee, Kansas by the Board of Trustees in February 2020 and began her tenure on June 1 in the midst of the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. With most of the seminary faculty and staff working from home and classes confined to the zoom online platform, her first weeks as president were not what anyone expected, but the seminary community welcomed her virtually and in socially distanced ways. Despite the limitations of the pandemic, President Durso immersed herself in the life of the seminary and has experienced the joys of being part of the Central community.
President Durso holds two degrees from Baylor University, earning a B.A. degree in religion in 1983 and a Ph.D. in church history in 1992. She received from Master of Divinity degree in 1987 from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. From 2003-2009, she served as associate executive director-treasurer of the Baptist History and Heritage Society and from 1999-2003, she was assistant professor of church history and Baptist heritage at Campbell University Divinity School in Buies Creek, North Carolina. She also was an adjunct faculty member for ten years at McAfee School of Theology in Atlanta, teaching Baptist history and church history electives.
From 2009 until 2020, President Durso served as executive director of Baptist Women in Ministry, where she was a resource for women serving in all areas of Christian ministry. She has used her voice as an advocate for women ministers, calling on Baptist churches to re-imagine their futures, to re-think their leadership, and to re-create their identities.
President Durso is the author and/or editor of ten books, including The Story of Baptists in the United States, which she co-wrote with her husband Keith, and The Power of Woman: The Life and Writings of Sarah Moore Grimké, which was based on her doctoral dissertation. She has also written numerous journal articles and book chapters.
The recipient of numerous awards, President Durso was presented with the Carolyn Weatherford Crumpler Leadership Alumni Award from the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (2018) Lifetime Achievement Award by Christians for Biblical Equality (2015), and the Baptist History and Heritage Society’s W. O. Carver Distinguished Service Award (2010).