Meet the President
Dr. Joseph Castleberry
Christian higher education seeks to bring people into vibrant relationship with God and help them fulfill their human potential. The chief end of humanity, according to the Westminster Shorter Catechism, is “to know God and enjoy him forever,” and that’s what I live for—to know God, and to give other people the pleasure of knowing God in the fullness of human experience. My primary work has always concentrated on higher education and church ministry. I preach the Gospel frequently in churches, and I also enjoy writing about spiritual themes and how they fit into life and society. My latest book is 40 Days of Christmas (Broadstreet, 2018; Spanish version, 2019). I am also the author of The New Pilgrims: How Immigrants are Renewing America’s Faith and Values (Worthy, 2015), The Kingdom Net: Learning to Network Like Jesus (My Healthy Church, 2013), and Your Deepest Dream (NavPress, 2012). You can read my latest thoughts at my blog on Leadership and Culture.
A native of Alabama, I came to the Pacific Northwest after a transcultural career that took my family to New Jersey, New York City, Texas, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Ecuador, and Missouri. Sensing a dual call early in life to church ministry and higher education, I began professional ministry as a youth pastor in Princeton, N.J. For three years I was a chaplain at Princeton University, before beginning 20 years of missionary service in Latin America. After three years as a university professor and pastor in El Salvador, Central America, I became Associate Dean for Latin America at Global University in Texas. I later went on to serve as a pastor, seminary dean, and community development leader in Ecuador. Returning to the United States in 2002, I was Academic Dean of the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary until my election as President at NU in 2007.
I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Evangel University in 1983, a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1988, and a Doctor of Education degree in International Educational Development from Columbia University in 1999. I have pursued additional studies at Instituto de Lengua Espanola (Costa Rica), Alliance Française (Costa Rica), Missouri State University, Auburn Theological Seminary, Indiana University, and Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education (New Presidents Seminar).
I have enjoyed a happy marriage with my wife Kathleen since 1983, and we are the proud parents of three daughters (Jessica Austin, Jodie Valdez, and Sophie Bender); our family includes three sons-in-law (Nathan Austin, Roberto Valdez, and Andrew Bender); and six grandchildren (Emerson Austin, Miranda Austin, Dylan Austin, Aurora Valdez, Luna Valdez and Jack Bender).