Rev. Dr. Craig Kocher
University Chaplain
Jessie Ball duPont Chair of the Chaplaincy

The Rev. Dr. Craig Kocher is University chaplain and Jessie Ball duPont Chair of the Chaplaincy.

Dr. Kocher is responsible for overall leadership of Chaplaincy programming, staff, and campus ministries.  He works at the intersection of religious expression, student development, academic inquiry, and community engagement.  Chaplain Kocher is active in many areas of campus life, is a member of the Student Development Leadership team, and is a sought after speaker and teacher on campus, in the Richmond region, and beyond.   

Prior to arriving at Richmond in August 2009, Dr. Kocher served six years at Duke University, first as assistant dean, then acting dean, and subsequently associate dean of the Chapel and director of religious life.  From 2001-03, he was associate pastor at Davidson United Methodist Church and a campus minister at Davidson College. In 2016-2017 he was senior pastor of Oak Ridge United Methodist Church, a 1700 member congregation in Oak Ridge, North Carolina. 

Chaplain Kocher loves to travel and has led students on short-term study abroad programs and pilgrimages to various parts of Canada, the Dominican Republic, England, France, Honduras, Israel, New Mexico, Poland, Scotland, South Korea, and Turkey. 

He has received many awards for his work on campus and in the pulpit including the Jameson Jones Preaching award given by Duke Divinity School, the John Wesley Preaching award from the Finch-Hunt Institute of Homiletics, and the ODK award for service to Davidson College. In 2012 he received the Administrator of the Year award from the Richmond College Student Government Association and in 2013 he was given the Servant Leader Award by the Jepson School of Leadership Studies Student Government Association. He was inducted as an honorary member of Richmond’s chapter of the Golden Key Honour Society in 2014.

He is the co-editor of two books, “Frontiers in Spiritual Leadership: Discovering the Better Angels of Our Nature,” edited and authored with University of Richmond colleagues, and “Mentoring for Ministry: The Grace of Growing Pastors,” edited and authored with clergy colleagues.  Dr. Kocher’s sermons and essays have been published in The Christian Century, the Feasting on the Word and Feasting on the Gospels commentaries, the Wesley Study Bible, Pulpit Resource, Lectionary Homiletics, the Richmond Times-Dispatch, and Duke Divinity School’s Faith and Leadership.    

Dr. Kocher holds a Bachelor of Arts in American History from UNC-Chapel Hill, a Master of Divinity magna cum laude from Duke Divinity School, and a Doctor of Ministry from Columbia Theological Seminary. He is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. 

Before attending divinity school, Kocher served as the play-by-play radio voice of the UNC women’s basketball team and the UNC baseball team, and as sports director of WCHL AM 1360 in his home town of Chapel Hill, NC. 

In his free time, Kocher loves to participate in many sports especially racquetball, softball, and fly-fishing. He is married to the Rev. Abby Kocher, who is also a United Methodist minister.  Craig and Abby have two daughters, Caroline and Catherine. On weekends you might find the Kochers cheering on the Spiders, hiking the Virginia Blue Ridge, or swimming along the North Carolina coast.  


Jepson School of Leadership Studies Student Government Association “Servant Leader Award” 2013

Richmond College Student Government Association “Administrator of the Year” 2012

Golden Key Honor Society, University of Richmond
Jameson Jones Preaching award, Duke Divinity School
John Wesley Preaching award, Finch-Hunt Institute for Homilectics
ODK, Davidson College
Professional Experience
Associate Pastor (2001-03)
Davidson United Methodist Church
Campus Minister (2001-03)
Davidson College
Associate Dean of the Chapel and Director of Religious Life (2003-09)
Duke University
Senior Pastor, Oak Ridge United Methodist Church (2016-2017)
Selected Publications
Additional Publications


Frontiers in Spiritual Leadership: Discovering the Better Angels of Our Nature

Mentoring for Ministry: The Grace of Growing Pastors


Reflection on pastoral leadership in the midst of public tragedy

Reflection on being a minister without a congregation during Advent and Christmas

Commentary on Matthew 20:1-16 originally published in The Christian Century

Commentary on Romans 14:1-12 originally published in The Christian Century

Essay on managing a mid-sized staff team published by Duke Divinity School


The Long Division

Sermon preached at Duke University Chapel on July 20, 2014

Inspiring Generous Faith; Engaging the Heart of the University

Sermon preached in Cannon Chapel at the University of Richmond

The Good Wine

Sermon preached at Duke University Chapel on alcohol and college life

Learning to Let Go

Easter Sunday sermon preached in the Duke University Gardens


Column on the faith of legendary basketball coach, Dean Smith

Column published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch on September 10, 2011

Column published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch on December 25, 2010

Q&A with Craig Kocher

One thing that led you to be a part of the Office of the Chaplaincy:

I love working with students at the intersection of faith, academic life, and personal discovery.   

Favorite part of working at UR:

The talented, kind, and creative people. 

Hobbies and interests:

Playing all kinds of sports, especially racquetball, basketball, and fly-fishing; going on hikes with my wife, Abby, and our dog, Maggie; and movies, current events, and reading. I love to read. 

Favorite movie of all time:

A River Runs Through It. I love family stories, stories about pain and redemption, the rugged American West, and fly-fishing. 


Maggie, the golden retriever, and Athena, the calico cat.

Craziest job:

I was a sportscaster for a while and had a 3-6 am weekend shift on a small network of stations in North Carolina. I'm convinced my father was the only person listening.

A question you get all the time:

Do you pull for UNC or Duke?

D.Min., Columbia Theological Seminary
M.Div., Duke University
B.A., UNC - Chapel Hill
American History
Contact Information
(804) 289-8500