Program Director Transition: Honoring Rev. Dr. McNair

Written by Hannah Crivello
April 22, 2014

Rev. Dr. Clinton McNair has announced his retirement, and will be transitioning out of his role as Program Director for the school's Master of Arts in Relationship & Pastoral Therapy, a couples and family therapy program. Dr. McNair joined the faculty of the school in January of 2006 for the purposes of founding a master degree in pastoral counseling.?? He laid the complicated foundation for the degree, and has helped to mature it into a unique approach to counseling ? integrating spirituality into the specialization of couples and family therapy.? The School of Theology and Ministry program is now officially called the Master of Arts in Relationship and Pastoral Therapy?as of this past 2013-2014 academic year.

Dean Mark Markuly comments:

?The school has been privileged to work with the Rev. Dr. Clinton McNair over the past eight years. Over and above founding one of our programs, his presence at faculty meetings has brought a much deeper sensitivity to mental health, recovery and therapy issues that are increasingly informing our entire school curriculum.? Dr. McNair has a deep understanding of the dramatic changes occurring in American culture, and brings fresh insight into theological discussions by looking at them through the lens of a mental health expert.? One of his trademarks is an infectious laugh.? He brings joy into the most complicated discussions, and can often go to the heart of a complicated issue with an insightful summary of many perspectives.?

Dr. McNair said this month that he will miss the community most. He commented:

?It has been my privilege to come to Seattle University and be a part of creating the Pastoral Counseling (now Relationship and Pastoral Therapy) Program. It has been a rich experience working with faculty colleagues, staff, students, and administrators to develop this program. I am filled with joy when I see our graduates from this program, and learn that they are doing so well in their careers and citing experiences they had while studying here that is helping them now. I shall be forever grateful for the opportunity to have served in Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry. As I take my leave, know that you shall always be in my spirit, thoughts, and prayers.?

The school is proud to announce that current Program Co-Director and core faculty member, Dr. Christie Eppler, will become Program Director for the 2014-2015 academic year.

Dean Markuly shares:

?We were very fortunate to attract Dr. Christie Eppler to our core faculty team a number of years ago.? She has been an active participant in the evolution of our pastoral counseling program into the Master of Arts in Relationship & Pastoral Therapy, and has done remarkable work on building the structure for making this a world-class program for our students.? The faculty are excited about her willingness to step into the responsibilities of direction during this interim period.?

Dr. Eppler comments:

?I?ve enjoyed being a co-director with Rev. Dr. Clinton McNair because of the history and tradition he brings to pastoral therapy. Often when I would bring a pioneering text about integrating spirituality and therapy into his office Clinton would say that he had gone to school or worked with the author. As co-directors we wanted to bring new, innovative practices into therapeutic practice while honoring the foundations of our field. Of course, changes can be hard; Clinton leaves big shoes to fill. As the Master of Arts in Relationship & Pastoral Therapy progresses and evolves, we will continue to live into Clinton?s strengths of having a pastoral presence in therapy, disseminating meaning through oral narratives, and asking boldly for resources needed to serve others. I?m excited that the program Clinton helped to build will continue to graduate skilled and competent therapists who will help heal and clinically serve couples, families, and individuals from all walks of life."