David Schenck, Jr. was born in Greensboro, North Carolina, on October 28, 1951. He is the son of David Schenck, Sr., who was mayor of Greensboro from 1961 to 1965.
David Schenck, Jr. received his B.A. degree from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1973 and his Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Duke University in 1979. He taught at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where he received the Lehigh/Lindback Junior Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1984. He also taught at Converse College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where he was chair of the Department of Religion and Philosophy, and Executive Assistant to the President. He later served as Executive Director of St. Luke’s Free Medical Clinic in Spartanburg, South Carolina.