The Meadville Lombard Theological School, located in Chicago, is one of the only Unitarian Universalist seminary schools in the United States.
Meadville Lombard is a result of a merger in the 1930s between 2 institutions, a Unitarian seminary and a Universalist seminary. Meadville Lombard Theological School is one of two Unitarian Universalist seminaries and offers the following graduate degree programs: Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Religion, Doctor of Ministry, and the dual degree of Master of Divinity/Master of Arts in Leadership Studies. The school's mission is to educate students in the Unitarian Universalist tradition to embody liberal religious ministry in Unitarian Universalist congregations and wherever else they are called to serve. Meadville Lombard hopes their students take into the world the Unitarian Universalist vision of justice, equity, and compassion.
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. One of its best-known alumni was Jenkin Lloyd Jones, who played a prominent role in the growth of the Western Unitarian Convention.
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. With the failure of Ryder Divinity School and Lombard College in 1930, the Lombard charter moved to Meadville Theological School in Chicago and became Meadville Lombard Theological School. The school is unique as it has a tax exemption, "one of only three in Illinois granting full tax-exempt status in perpetuity for all college-owned property. Monmouth College and Northwestern University have the other two."
Meadville Lombard is distinctive as a seminary for the caliber of its faculty, including world-renowned ethicist Sharon D. Welch, Michael Hogue (2008 recipient of the Templeton Award for Theological Promise), as well as graduates and affiliated faculty members William F. Schulz and Mark Morrison-Reed.
The school offers four full-tuition merit scholarships, partial tuition scholarships, and provides financial aid. It is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada. In the Fall of 2009, Meadville Lombard launched their new educational model, Meaville Lombard TouchPoint℠ model. The model blends traditional rigorous academic learning with experiential learning in community and congregational settings.
In 2011, the seminary's Hyde Park buildings were sold and the school relocated to the Spertus Institute in Chicago's downtown Loop.
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