The Rev. Richard Kannwischer '95, didn’t take a single religion course until his senior year, but he’s making up for lost time!
by Donna Parker
Richard graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration. He went on to complete his graduate work at the Princeton Theological Seminary, quickly becoming Pastor of a Houston church, where he ministered for three years. Life changed dramatically when at 28, he was called to lead a suburban New York City congregation through the horrific events of 9-11. “I was put into highly demanding leadership challenges at a young age and have been given the grace to survive,” he modestly states.
Recently, Richard was named senior pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in San Antonio—the same church he attended as a Trinity student. Easter Sunday was his first day in the pulpit; a challenging event that drew praise from the local newspaper which printed, “Rev. Kannwischer brought tears to the eyes of some parishioners with his message of hope and redemption that is available to all.” It’s noteworthy that he had a tough act to follow—the previous minister had been there 34 years. Overwhelming? “No,” says Kannwischer, “the experience has been encouraging, uplifting, and wonderful.”
As have his marriage to Princeton classmate, Kelly and the ensuing births of two daughters, Danica, almost 2, and Ashby, just 3 months old. Richard says becoming a father is a spiritual act that has made him more compassionate and self-aware. It’s the continuation of a growth process initially fueled by Trinity professors such as Don VanEynde, who counseled him during school about what it means to become a whole person by balancing career, family, and life.
What this modern minister cherishes most about college are the friends he made. They meet annually for a ‘guys’ weekend in places such as Yosemite National Park, Big Bend, and Los Angeles. That’s when he, the pediatrician, the entrepreneur, and the software developer, ‘eat sushi and relax on the beach!’ The friendships support his words for a happy life, which are; “Love God. Love people. Nothing else matters.”