Robert W. Edgar, an ordained United Methodist minister and former six-term Democratic Congressman from Pennsylvania, has been named president of the School of Theology at Claremont, it was announced this week.
Edgar, who holds a Master of Divinity degree from Drew University Theological School, pastored several churches in and around Philadelphia and was chaplain at Drexel University in that city before being elected to the House of Representatives in 1975.
He was defeated in his 1986 attempt to unseat Republican Sen. Arlen Specter.
Edgar, 46, will succeed the Rev. Richard W. Cain, who has headed the seminary for 13 years. Cain announced in January that he would retire after starting a year's sabbatical leave this June. The Methodist-run school--administratively unrelated to the Claremont Colleges--has an interdenominational student body of about 425 students.
Attorney Roy D. Miller of Los Angeles, chairman of the seminary's board of trustees, announced the appointment following a meeting of the board Tuesday.
Miller said Edgar "brings a clear vision" to the position. "He views the mission of the School of Theology as vital in its local setting (as well as) in this country and abroad," he said.
Miller said that Edgar raised $7 million as finance chairman for Illinois Sen. Paul Simon's bid in the 1988 election primaries for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Edgar currently is director of the Committee for National Security, a private "think tank" that is concerned with arms control and improved Soviet-American relations.
While in Congress, Edgar was a member of the Veteran Affairs Committee and the Public Works and Transportation Committee. He was active in pushing job-creating bills and weatherization programs aimed at counteracting rising fuel costs.
In 1982, Edgar received a "zero" rating on his voting record from Christian Voice, a conservative lobbying group that has analyzed Congressmen on "moral and biblical" issues and has usually given the highest marks to conservative Republicans.
When he was still a pastor in Philadelphia, Edgar founded the East Falls Human Relations Committee which led efforts to reduce gang violence and promote civil rights. In 1972, Edgar co-founded the People Energy Center, the first shelter for women and children in Philadelphia and a model nationally for housing homeless women and families.