Rev. Dr. Carnegie Samuel Calian
Carnegie Samuel Calian, President Emeritus of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary was born in New York City in 1933 to Armenian immigrants seeking refuge, freedom and opportunity. They moved to Los Angeles, California when he was 3 years old. The family’s financial means were always modest; father died when Carnegie was in 8th grade, leaving a young widow with 2 children. His mother would often repeat, ”Thank God daily that you are in America! Study hard; it is the passport to your future,” as she left for her work in the garment district of Los Angeles.
In the sophomore year on scholarship at Occidental College, Carnegie seriously considered study for the pastoral ministry. His mother’s response was, “But why? You can do almost anything you wish with a college education; try business or law!” Like many immigrant parents, she sought social and financial upward mobility for him and his future family. She was a very practical Armenian-American. However, pursuing his heart’s desire and God’s will was more important to him. He admired many caring and intelligent clergy who enjoyed learning and who nurtured him. His elementary school librarian also encouraged and expanded his reading from the start. He saw ministry as a positive way to serve God and humanity simultaneously.
Although he was baptized in the Eastern Orthodox tradition (the Armenian Apostolic Church), he was drawn to attend the Presbyterian Church with my high school friends. The welcoming atmosphere led him to realize that life has more questions than answers. Presbyterians let him feel that a thinking believer with doubts is an acceptable part of the faith journey. His questions and doubts no longer caused anxiety. He also discovered that healthy relationships depend on trust and truth-telling.
Parishioners in his first assignment at Calvary Presbyterian Church in Hawthorne, CA recognized his teaching gifts and encouraged him to serve in higher education following doctoral studies at the University of Basel, Switzerland under a renowned faculty including Karl Barth, an outstanding theologian of the 20th century. Barth’s questioning spirit, great sense of humor and personal humility exemplified an academic who never stopped learning.
Most of his years in higher education have been centered in graduate theological education (namely seminaries), but he has also taught at colleges and universities. Twenty-five years were spent as President and Professor of Theology at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (1981-2006) associated with the Presbyterian Church USA. Since his “retirement,” his learning curve has continued as a visiting scholar and professor at three universities—Harris Manchester College of Oxford University (UK), Tepper Graduate School of Business of Carnegie Mellon University (PGH), and the Katz Graduate School of Business of the University of Pittsburgh—with research and teaching interests in leadership, ethics and strategy.
Dr. Calian has published 12 books and over 200 articles in numerous journals. His areas of interest are Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox beliefs and traditions, world religions, interfaith dialogue, religious ethics, business practices and leadership models and ethics, contemporary cultural and historical issues. A present area of research interest is the interface between business and religion: the practice of forgiveness within today’s global society.
Dr. Calian lectures and consults extensively nationally and internationally at colleges, universities, religious institutions, and business organizations throughout the United States, Middle East, Eastern and Western Europe and Asia. He has served on several Ecumenical and Educational Boards including the Board of Trustees of Haigazian University of Beirut, Lebanon from 1999 – 2009. He has also preached and lectured on several occasions from the pulpits of the Armenian Evangelical Churches.
He is married to Doris Zobian and together they have three children, Lois Calian Trautvetter, Philip Calian, and Sara Calian Kaprielian. Currently they reside in Evanston, II, where he is working on his new book, Designing Your Biblical Passport: For a Fuller Life in a Changing World, and enjoying the company and love of his grandchildren who live nearby.