Dean of the Earlham School of Religion

The dean is the chief academic and administrative officer of ESR. The dean’s role and responsibilities will be further specified in a position description prepared by the president of Earlham College in consultation with the faculty and subject to the approval of the Board of Trustees. The dean reports to the president and appoints and evaluates other administrative faculty of ESR.



About the Dean

Gretchen Castle is the dean of the Earlham School of Religion. A global Quaker leader, she joined ESR in 2021 as the school’s first female dean.

Before coming to Earlham School of Religion, Castle served as the General Secretary of the Friends World Committee for Consultation in the Quaker World Office in London, traveling extensively to bring greater unity to Quakers worldwide.

Over her career, Castle has gained broad experience among Friends globally and across different Quaker traditions. She has served at the Quaker United Nations Offices in New York and Geneva, and participates in the Christian World Communions Annual Meeting of the General Secretaries, where she was appointed the first woman chair and the first Quaker chair. As part of the Christian World Communions, she attended the inauguration of Pope Francis in Rome in 2013.

In the United States, she was the presiding clerk of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, Director of Leadership Development for several Quaker retirement communities, and a board development consultant for over 20 years.

Castle is no stranger to Richmond, Indiana. She attended nursery school at Stout Meetinghouse on Earlham’s campus and also earned her undergraduate degree in human development and social relations from the College in 1979. Her father, David Castle, was a former pastor at First Friends Meeting in Richmond.

She later earned her master’s degree in organizational development and adult learning from Temple University in Philadelphia.

“ESR serves a critically important role in the global Quaker community, preparing people for ministry, whatever form it takes, and I am thrilled to be joining ESR as its next dean.”

Gretchen Castle, Dean of ESR