Headshot of Rev. Dr.Craig  Kocher

Rev. Dr. Craig Kocher

University Chaplain

Jessie Ball duPont Chair of the Chaplaincy

  • Profile

    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 and spiritual practice, student development, academic inquiry, and community engagement.  Chaplain Kocher is active in many areas of campus life, serves on the Student Development Leadership team, and is a sought after speaker and teacher on campus, in the Richmond region, and beyond. Additionally, Dr. Kocher teaches courses in leadership, ethics, and world religions as a member of the University faculty.

    During his time at Richmond, he has also been a member of the President's Cabinet, a Center for Civic Engagement Faculty Fellow, has taught in the Sophomore Scholars in Residence Program, and served on the University's econometrics modeling team, among other responsibilities.

    Prior to arriving at UR 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.  Before his time at Duke Chapel, 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, the Holy Land, New Mexico, Poland, Scotland, South Korea, and Turkey. 

    He has received multiple 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. At Richmond, he received the Administrator of the Year award from the Richmond College Student Government Association and the Servant Leader Award from the Jepson School of Leadership Studies Student Government Association. He was also inducted as an honorary member of Richmond’s chapter of the Golden Key Honor Society.

    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. 

    Craig is an avid reader and loves to participate in many sports especially racquetball, squash, softball, and fly-fishing. He is married to the Rev. Abby Kocher, who is also a United Methodist minister.  The couple 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.  

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    • Awards

      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