Editor’s note: We’re counting down the top ten Grove City College stories of the year. This story is number two based on audience interaction and institutional impact. It was originally published June 8.
Grove City College announced today that Dr. Donald D. Opitz, an ordained Presbyterian minister and accomplished scholar with a deep background in Christian higher education and pastoral care, will serve as the College’s new Chaplain and Senior Director of Christian Formation, effective August 3.
Opitz will oversee the College’s Chapel Ministry team, design and coordinate Chapel programming and collaborate with other GCC leaders in the nurturing of spiritual life on campus. Faith formation is a central feature of the College’s Christ-centered living and learning experience. The twice-a-week Chapel program focuses on the love of God and the love of neighbor.
“Don brings a remarkable breadth of experience to his new role. He is blessed with a deep understanding of the scriptures, passion for discipleship and devotion to pastoral care. He will serve our students and the entire College community with love and inspiration,” College President Paul J. McNulty ’80 said. “He is the ideal person to lead the spiritual life of our campus after the past two fruitful years under Dean Weaver’s extraordinary service in this role.”
Opitz comes to Grove City College from Messiah College, where he currently serves as campus pastor. He succeeds Dr. D. Dean Weaver ’86, who served two years as the College’s interim chaplain and was recently named Stated Clerk of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church.
"The invitation to join the academic community of Grove City College fulfills the dream of a lifetime. I am humbled and elated by God's grace in providing me this opportunity to exalt Lord Jesus and to nurture ever-deepening love and faithfulness of students as we seek to learn and serve together," Opitz said.
It will be a homecoming of sorts for Opitz, who grew up in Grove City and graduated from the local high school. He graduated from Westminster College in 1983 with a double major in religion and philosophy, earned a Master of Divinity degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in religion and culture in modern society from Boston University.
Opitz served as professor of higher education and sociology at Geneva College, where he was also director of the Lilly-funded PTEV program The Call. Early in his career, he was campus minister and director of training with the Coalition for Christian Outreach and a resident director at Gordon College.
His frequent presentations at educational conferences and prolific publications cover many areas of interest for Christian higher education, including student faith formation and worldview development. Opitz is the author, with Dereck Melleby, of “Learning for the Love of God,” a student’s guide to integrating faith and learning.
He and his wife Christine have two daughters, Lauren and Katie.