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Meadville Lombard Theological School

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Meadville Lombard Theological School
Meadville Lombard Logo.png
Former names
Meadville Theological School
Lombard College
Motto"Changing Lives to Change the World"
TypePrivate, Unitarian Universalist
Established1844 - Meadville Theological School
1853 - Lombard College
Endowment$25.4 million (2019)[1]
PresidentElias Ortega-Aponte
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Location, ,
United States of America

41°52′26″N 87°37′29″W / 41.8740°N 87.6247°W / 41.8740; -87.6247
AffiliationsAssociation of Chicago Theological Schools (ACTS), International Association for Religious Freedom (IARF)

The Meadville Lombard Theological School is a Unitarian Universalist seminary in Chicago, Illinois.


Meadville Lombard is a result of a merger in the 1930s between two institutions, a Unitarian seminary and a Universalist seminary.

Meadville Theological School was founded in 1844 in Meadville, Pennsylvania. Most of the original funding came from Harm Jan Huidekoper, a recent convert to Christian Unitarianism and a wealthy businessman, and from the Independent Congregational Church.[2][3]

Meadville Theological School moved to Chicago and became affiliated with the University of Chicago in 1926. It began construction on its permanent building in 1929, located across the street from First Unitarian Church of Chicago and designed by the same architect.

Lombard College building, from an 1876 catalog
Lombard College building, from an 1876 catalog

Lombard College was a Universalist institution in Galesburg, Illinois, founded in 1853. From the 1880s to 1913 it was the seat of the Ryder School of Divinity. When the college closed in 1930, the Lombard charter was transferred to Meadville Theological School in Chicago. bringing with it Lombard's privilege of a tax exemption, "one of only three in Illinois granting full tax-exempt status in perpetuity for all college-owned property."[4] The combined institution became Meadville Lombard Theological School.

After 2000

In the first decade of the 2000s, the school implemented cost-cutting measures as its endowment declined in value from $18 million to $12 million,[5] and funding from the Unitarian Universalist Association was reduced.[6]

In 2005 Meadville Lombard made public their decision to hold merger talks with the other Unitarian Universalist seminary in the United States, Starr King School for the Ministry, but in July 2006 it was decided that a merger would not be in the best interest of the seminaries.[7][8]

Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership
Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership

In June 2010, Meadville Lombard and Andover Newton Theological School in Newton, Massachusetts, affiliated with the American Baptist Churches USA and the United Church of Christ, announced plans to create a "new university-style institution" based at Andover Newton's campus with an interfaith model for theological education.[9][10] Meadville Lombard would have become the Unitarian Universalist college in the new theological university. The two schools, Meadville Lombard and Andover Newton, announced they were seeking additional partners for the proposed institution.[11] They announced their intention to form the new university as a legal entity by June 15, 2011, but the two institutions withdrew from the plan in April 2011, citing issues related to governance and finances.[12]

In 2011, the seminary's Hyde Park buildings were sold and the school relocated to the Spertus Institute building in Chicago's downtown Loop.[13]


Meadville Lombard Theological School is one of two Unitarian Universalist seminaries (the other being Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley, California) and offers the following graduate degree programs: Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Religion, and the Master of Arts in Leadership Studies (with the option to add a concentration in Lay Community Ministry).


The seminary's historic 16,000 sq. ft. Collegiate Gothic style building was erected in 1933 on 5701 S. Woodlawn Avenue, across from First Unitarian Church of Chicago and near the campus of the University of Chicago in Hyde Park. In 2011 the University of Chicago purchased the building and hired Kliment Halsband Architects to turn it into a home for the Neubauer Family Collegium for Culture and Society.[14][15]

Meadville Lombard is now located in the South Loop neighborhood of Chicago, sharing space with the Spertus Institute of Jewish Learning and Leadership.

Notable alumni

Notable academics


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2019. "U.S. and Canadian 2019 NTSE Participating Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2019 Endowment Market Value, and Percentage Change in Market Value from FY18 to FY19 (Revised)". National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. Retrieved September 19, 2020.
  2. ^ "National Historic Landmarks & National Register of Historic Places in Pennsylvania" (Searchable database). CRGIS: Cultural Resources Geographic Information System. Note: This includes Mrs. Anne Stewart and William K. Watson (August 1977). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form: Independent Congregational Church" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-02-02. Retrieved 2012-08-18.
  3. ^ Harm Jan Huidekoper, Dictionary of Unitarian & Universalist Biography.
  4. ^ "Lombard College, alive and well in Chicago". The Zephyr. October 20, 1999.
  5. ^ Michelle Bates Deakin (July 13, 2009). "UU seminaries feel economic pinch". Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations. Retrieved January 24, 2014.
  6. ^ Michelle Bates Deakin (September 22, 2008). "Meadville Lombard introduces sweeping curricular changes". Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations. Archived from the original on April 16, 2013. Retrieved January 24, 2014.
  7. ^ Rev. Dr. Dave Sammons (October 2006). "Message from the Acting President". Starr King School for the Ministry.
  8. ^ Michelle Bates Deakin (2008-09-22). "Meadville Lombard introduces sweeping curricular changes". UUWorld.
  9. ^ Lisa Wangsness (2010-06-24). "Theological schools' partnership could reshape training". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2010-07-06.
  10. ^ Lisa Wangsness (2011-04-25). "Meadville Lombard, Andover Newton end plans for 'theological university'". UUWorld.
  11. ^ Manya A. Brachaer (2010-07-12). "Chicago seminary hopes to join other faiths: So far, Unitarian Universalist theological school in Hyde Park has one partner, a United Church of Christ seminary in the Boston area". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2010-09-08.
  12. ^ "Mass. theology school for religions not to open". Associated Press (via Boston Globe). April 21, 2011.
  13. ^ Michelle Bates Deakin (January 31, 2011). "Meadville Lombard sells main building". Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations. Retrieved January 24, 2014.
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Meadville Lombard sells main building". 31 January 2011. Retrieved 11 October 2018.

External links

This page was last edited on 14 December 2020, at 20:21
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