Completion of key phase of strategic plan ensures 100% tuition assistance for all master's-level students.
Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary has completed the first phase of its Covenant for the Future strategic plan, which kicked off in 2011. The seminary had generated enough funds to offer full-tuition assistance for its master's-level students during the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 academic years. By reaching its goal of $2.4 million for the first phase of the capital campaign, 100 percent tuition assistance for all master’s-level students is now a permanent benefit of attending Louisville Seminary.
“From the beginning, our hope has been that other seminaries around the country will join us in relieving student indebtedness – not just Presbyterian students, but all master’s-level students,” said Louisville Seminary President Michael Jinkins. “About 87 percent of our students qualify for need-based financial aid. We don’t want the burden of seminary tuition debt to stand in the way of an innovative and creative individual’s calling to serve the church and the world. Our plan allows for future leaders of our church to answer God’s call.”
In addition to the tuition assistance, the strategic plan calls for the institutionalization of the seminary’s Doors to Dialogue (D2D) and Black Church Studies (BCS) programs. During the initial five-year horizon of the plan, the seminary received grants from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations and the Henry Luce Foundation to significantly expand these programs, test new ideas, and provide time to find ways to integrate these programs into the life and budget of the school.
“Interfaith and ecumenical perspectives have become a part of the life and study of virtually all our professors, influencing research and teaching in subjects as varied as Old Testament and pastoral counseling,” said Clifton Kirkpatrick, professor of ecumenical studies and global ministries. “Furthermore, we have received considerable acclaim as an established national leader in interfaith studies and religious literacy.”
The BCS program has moved from being largely an underfunded aspiration to an integrated aspect of the school’s educational program and community life. The program brings to campus church leaders and thinkers and forges partnerships with African American church leaders in Louisville and beyond. The influence of the program runs through the entire curriculum with dedicated courses in Black Church Studies and a Doctor of Ministry track in Black Church Studies. In July 2015, the seminary hired Felicia Howell LaBoy, a recognized expert in the fields of faith-based community development, social justice, evangelism, racial reconciliation and leadership development, to oversee the BCS program as the seminary’s associate dean for black church studies and advanced learning.
“I am excited to work with the faculty and staff at Louisville Seminary as it seeks to prepare church leaders to be bridge builders in ways that truly honor diversity and seek genuine unity and reconciliation, especially as these matters pertain to race and interreligious dialogue,” said LaBoy.
With these milestones reached, Louisville Seminary will now direct its strategic plan efforts toward improvements to its information technology infrastructure as well as new student housing. Along with these campus improvements, the seminary will identify scholarship opportunities that include housing. Jinkins said that a strong, close-knit campus community, which develops personally, professionally and spiritually in communion with one another and with their professors, is essential to the quality educational experience that Louisville Seminary provides. He adds that the Covenant for the Future strategic plan is designed to make Louisville Seminary attractive to those who show great promise for ministry.
“We believe there is barely the capacity needed in this country to provide enough highly trained ministers, counsellors and church leaders for the church’s future,” said Jinkins. “We need not only to staff existing churches and social service institutions, we need to reach whole populations of people who have been neglected, left untouched or damaged. Is there a future for ministers, pastors, counsellors and chaplains who have been educated and formed to live among and lead among communities that bring healing to the world? Emphatically, yes!” About Louisville Seminary Founded in 1853, Louisville Seminary offers an inclusive and diverse learning community, welcoming students from wide ecumenical backgrounds while maintaining its long, historic commitment to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A). Louisville Seminary is committed to building bridges across the world's religious, racial and cultural divides. It is distinguished by its nationally-recognized marriage and family therapy and field education programs, the scholarship and church service among its faculty and a commitment to training women and men to participate in the continuing ministry of Jesus Christ. For more information, call (800) 264-1839 or log onto www.lpts.edu.