The Rev. Dr. Gary V. Nelson – Doctor of Divinity ('20)

Video transcript

“When the spine of identity is well established, it is possible to risk relating in depth to those who are different from ourselves. When the spine of identity is weak, then everything is a threat.”


The Rev. Dr. Gary V. Nelson is a proud western Canadian – passionate about the big sky and prairie life. However, his roots in the Maritimes run deep. He is the grandson of Gordon S. Vincent, former pastor of West End Baptist Church in Halifax and Woodstock Baptist Church in New Brunswick.

After several years serving in the renewal and revitalization of downtown urban church life, Dr. Nelson assumed the role of General Secretary of Canadian Baptist Ministries (CBM) in 2000. CBM expanded its global impact in leadership formation, theological education, sustainable community development, and educational resourcing for Canadian congregations during his ten-year tenure. He also served as a Vice-President of the Baptist World Alliance and the Chair of Baptist World Aid.

In 2010, Dr. Nelson was appointed President of Tyndale University in Toronto and served in that capacity until 2020. Those were years of expansion and growth for Tyndale, an institution whose history spans more than 125 years.

Dr. Nelson earned a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of British Columbia and master’s and doctoral degrees from Fuller Theological Seminary. As an educator, he has been involved in many creative approaches to theological and ministerial preparation.

He has lectured and taught at universities and seminaries across North America and on three continents. He now serves on the Board of the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary and the Institute for Middle Eastern Studies in Beirut, Lebanon. He has authored and presented numerous papers and four books on leadership, contemporary theology, and church community engagement.

Dr. Nelson is married to Carla, a former public school teacher and Professor of Education. They have one daughter, a son-in-law, and four grandchildren.