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Presbyterian Theological Seminary (Omaha, Nebraska)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Omaha Presbyterian Theological Seminary
General information
Town or cityOmaha, Nebraska
CountryUnited States
Construction started1901

The Omaha Presbyterian Theological Seminary was located at 3303 North 21st Place in North Omaha, Nebraska, United States. Opened in 1891 in downtown Omaha, the institution moved to the Kountze Place neighborhood in North Omaha in 1902 and closed in 1943. Converted to apartments, the building stood until 1979 when a fire destroyed it.


On February 17, 1891, a group of Presbyterian pastors and lay leaders gathered to establish a Presbyterian Seminary in Omaha. They felt a need for educated clergy to serve small, rural communities in the Midwestern United States.[1] Enrolling its first students in September 1891, from 1895 to 1902 the seminary was located in the former Cozzens House Hotel at 9th and Harney Streets in Downtown Omaha. It was replaced in 1902 when a new facility was built in the Kountze Place suburb of North Omaha.[2] The building was demolished later that year.[3]

In 1901 the seminary purchased 5 acres (20,000 m2) in Kountze Place for $20,000. Within a year a building was completed that included dormitory rooms, classrooms, offices, a library and a chapel, as well as a dining room, janitor's quarters and other rooms. It was a three story tall gray stone building with high basement windows and a bell tower above the middle section.[4] In 1903, funds from Judge Charles E. Vanderburgh's estate were bequeathed to the seminary to support the construction of the president's home on campus.[5] Mary Sibbet Copley was the primary philanthropist supporting the seminary. After her initial contribution of the Cozzens Hotel in downtown Omaha in 1902, she made regular donations, practically underwriting the institution. In 1929, she left a bequest of $150,000 to the seminary.[6]

In 1909 the University of Omaha was established a few blocks north of the seminary and most of the teachers were recruited from seminary faculty. Three of the university's first four presidents were ordained Presbyterian ministers.[7]

In 1943 the general assembly of the United States Presbyterian Church voted to close the seminary after it failed to meet the minimum accreditation standards of the American Association of Theological Schools.[8] More than 1,000 graduates served in the Midwest, other states and around the world.[9]

The seminary's governing board continued to exist for several decades after its closure, and today operates as the Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation. After turning the building into an apartment house they became committed to raising funds to support theology students attending schools around the world.[10][11]

The building was demolished in the 1970s.

Notable alumni

  • Frederick Wedge, Presbyterian pastor, evangelist and educator, who had boxed professionally as "Kid" Wedge

See also


  1. ^ "History" Archived 2008-08-07 at the Wayback Machine, Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation. Retrieved 4/11/08.
  2. ^ "Presbyterian Theological Seminary", Nebraska Memories. Retrieved 3/27/15.
  3. ^ Fletcher Sasse, Adam (2016) North Omaha History, Volume Three. Olympia, WA: CommonAction Publishing. p 185.
  4. ^ "Presbyterian Theological Seminary", Nebraska Memories. Retrieved 3/27/15.
  5. ^ Hawley, Charles A. (1941) Fifty Years on the Nebraska Frontier: The history of the Presbyterian Theological Seminary at Omaha. Omaha, NE: Ralph Printing Co.
  6. ^ Hawley, Charles A. (1941) Fifty Years on the Nebraska Frontier: The history of the Presbyterian Theological Seminary at Omaha. Omaha, NE: Ralph Printing Co. pages 121-122.
  7. ^ "History of Omaha at a glance" Archived 2008-10-29 at the Wayback Machine, Douglas County Historical Society. Retrieved 4/10/08. p 65.
  8. ^ Hawley, C. (1941) Fifty Years on the Nebraska Frontier: A History of the Presbyterian Theological Seminary at Omaha. Ralph Printing Company.
  9. ^ "History" Archived 2008-08-07 at the Wayback Machine, Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation. Retrieved 4/11/08.
  10. ^ Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation Archived 2008-04-06 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 4/11/08.
  11. ^ Cattau, D. "Closed Seminary Still Has Clout in Presbyterian Church." Omaha World-Herald, August 13, 1978.

Further reading

  • Hawley, C.A. (1941) "Fifty Years on the Nebraska Frontier: History of the Presbyterian Theological Seminary at Omaha," Church History. 10(4) December. pp. 384–38.

External links

This page was last edited on 3 July 2020, at 06:56
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