Dinesh D'Souza Picked as President of Evangelical College in New York

August 20, 2010

The best-selling author and Christian apologist Dinesh D'Souza has been selected as the new president of the King's College, a small Christian institution located in the Empire State Building.

Mr. D'Souza is the author of books like Illiberal Education: The Politics of Race and Sex on Campus and What's So Great About Christianity. He was a White House policy analyst in the Reagan administration and is a former fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution. In recent years, he has become well known for high-profile debates against atheists like Christopher Hitchens.

In some ways, Mr. D'Souza is a surprising choice. He doesn't have a background in academic administration, and he is a Roman Catholic, while the King's College's has "its roots in the Protestant evangelical tradition" according to its Web site.

But in an interview Mr. D'Souza said that would not be a problem. He attended a nondenominational church in San Diego and has called himself "a believing Catholic but a poorly practicing one." He said that the college was "very well administered," and his job would be to help tailor its mission—along with bringing in more students and more money.

"I've been kind of a think-tank scholar for most of my career," he said. "In that sense, I've been part of a faculty of scholars, but in some ways I've seen myself as a lone operator, and this is a chance to spearhead an institution with a great history."

Mr. D'Souza said he would like to see the college grow from 450 students to four or five thousand. He said he wanted to take something that is "very young and build it into something."

The King's College has had its share of challenges. Founded in 1938 and accredited in 1955, the college closed its doors in 1994 because of financial problems but reopened in 1998. When it reopened, it was under the auspices of the Campus Crusade for Christ, though the news release announcing Mr. D'Souza's selection said that the college's Board of Directors had voted to "begin a process toward transferring full ownership to the college."

Mr. D'Souza said when he was approached about the job, he thought it was a good fit, and his only hesitation involved geography. "The harder thing for me," he said, "was just moving the family from sunny southern California."