Two Historic Pennsylvania Seminaries Become United Lutheran Seminary July 1

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June 28, 2017 (Gettysburg and Philadelphia, Penn.) At the exact midpoint of the 500th anniversary year of Martin Luther’s initiation of the 16th Century Reformation, two American theological seminaries will become one school. At the stroke of midnight, July 1, 2017 Gettysburg Seminary and The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia will form United Lutheran Seminary on two campuses, one in Gettysburg and one in Philadelphia.

Founded in 1826, Gettysburg Seminary is the oldest continuing Lutheran theological school in the Americas and The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia got its start in 1864. Together the schools have graduated more than 10,000 church leaders who have served in religious and public contexts.

“The United Lutheran Seminary is a new venture founded on rich traditions,” said Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, speaking for the 3.8-million member Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). “It brings together urban and rural, Lutheran and ecumenical ministries,” she added.

United Lutheran Seminary opens with 325 students and 21 faculty members, with another 50 staff members working across the two campuses. The decision to unite came from a determination by both schools’ boards in January 2016 to create a stronger single theological seminary, one that could offer premier programs on both campuses, sustain a larger faculty than either alone, and offer enhanced learning formats in distributed, online and hybrid class settings. The campuses are located at 7301 Germantown Avenue, in Northwest Philadelphia and 61 Seminary Ridge in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  

As the united school comes into being, it will also receive its first leader, the Rev. Dr. Theresa F. Latini, who will assume the office of United Lutheran Seminary President as of July 1st.  As the leader of the new theological school, Latini said the “strength of United Lutheran Seminary comes from its trust in God’s grace and its call to join Jesus’ ministry of healing, justice, and reconciliation.” She added “Our wide array of educational programs as well as our communal practices of worship and care will prepare students for faithful and innovative ministry in the twenty-first century.”

With the new school comes a newly-designed, integrative curriculum. Kristin Johnston Largen and Kiran Sebastian, co-deans of the Seminary, emphasize that faculty will offer interdisciplinary perspectives in classrooms in ways that enrich the pedagogy for seminarians.

Student debt for graduate seminarians remains an issue in today’s religious communities. United Lutheran Seminary offers unprecedented financial aid for its students, with full tuition scholarships for eligible full time ELCA students and generous matching of grants to students from other traditions up to full tuition levels.

United Lutheran Seminary begins its life fully accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and the Association of Theological Schools. The Department of Education of the Commonwealth of PA has issued approval of the consolidation of the two schools. All current students have pathways to complete their degrees in the normal timetable according to the school’s deans.  

Both schools bring particular, distinctive gifts to the united school, with Philadelphia offering a specialized and broadly ecumenical Urban Theological Institute, and a large commuting population in the metropolitan area and Gettysburg contributing strong community life of residential learning and a commitment to green practices. The Gettysburg campus also features the award-winning Seminary Ridge Museum interpreting the national tensions of slavery and freedom in the historic seminary building that served as the largest fixed field hospital on the battlefield.

Even though President Latini will begin mid-summer, her inauguration is planned for November 2, 2017 in Lancaster, PA. She will live on both Gettysburg and Philadelphia campuses, and serve as Professor of Pastoral Theology as well. July 1st also marks the retirement of Gettysburg Seminary President Michael Cooper-White after 17 years at the helm, and President David Lose of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, begins a new call to serve as senior pastor of Mount Olivet Lutheran Church, Minneapolis, MN.

“May God bless students, faculty and staff as they set out on this journey together,” said Presiding Bishop Eaton, and “Godspeed!” to this new school.

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The United Lutheran Seminary, the oldest of seven seminaries of the 3.8-million member Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, is a consolidation of Gettysburg Seminary and The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. One seminary on two campuses, ULS prepares women and men to be outreach oriented public theologians and mission leaders. It provides programs in continuing studies, advanced theological education, and specialized educational programs for informed lay persons, ordained and other rostered church leaders. More information is available at the Seminary’s web site:  www.UnitedLutheranSeminary.edu, by email info@ULS.edu or by phone at 717.338.3000.

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United Lutheran Seminary Names Staff

The following list identifies the staff named to date for United Lutheran Seminary, with additional operations, financial services, support and library staff to be named.  This list is up to date as of June 13, 2017.  All positions are full time unless marked part time (PT).

Advancement Services Administrator, Kathie Afflerbach
Co-Director of Technology & Director of Operations (Philly), Kyle Barger
Library Director, Evan Boyd
Director of Advancement Services, Conor Brooks
Director of Financial Aid, Kimberly Clark
Grounds Manager,(Philly), Jim Cratin
Technical Services Specialist, Andy Crouse
Maintenance Staff (Gburg), Dave Davies
Communication Assistant & Manger of Print & Mailroom, Grainne Davies Housekeeping (Gburg), Melanie DelSignore
Senior Major Gifts Officer, Vincent Dent
Associate Director of Admissions, Becca Ehrlich
Lieutenant, Night Watch Supervisor (Philly), Michael Fabian
Chief of Safety and Security, Operations Manager (Philly), Vince Ferguson
Night Watch Supervisor (Philly), Michael Fabian
Operations Manager/Chief of Security (Philly), Vince Ferguson
Custodian (Gburg), Randolph Fullerton
Chief Financial Officer, Scott Ganley
Director of Communications, Katy Giebenhain
Director of Life Long Learning, Chelle Huth
Contextual Formation, Life Long Learning & UTI Assistant, Lyn Jackson
VP Student Services and Enrollment, Trina Johnsten
Co-Dean of the Seminary, Kristin Largen
Housekeeping (Gburg, PT), Carole Laughman
Coordinator of Admissions Services, Marlita Lee
Major Gifts Officer, Regional Gift Planner ELCA, Yvonne Jones Lembo
Associate VP for Church Relations, President of the Gettysburg Seminary
Endowment Foundation, Glenn Ludwig
Gifts Processor (PT), Stella Ludwig
Executive Assistant to the Senior VP of Advancement, and Director of
Advancement Operations, Karol Mason
Executive Assistant to the President & Director of HR, Elizabeth Meighan Maintenance (Gburg), Randy Miller
Coordinator of Facilities & Maintenance (Philly), Kareem Mitchell Dir of Housing, Facilities & Special Events (Gburg), Wendy Mizenko Director of Director of Admissions, Nate Preisinger
Co-Director of Technology, Don Redman
Director of Maintenance & Project Management (Gburg), Dave Reecher
Educational Technologist & Assessment, Alex Reid
Deputy Chief of Security (Philly), Michael Reid
Reception/Switchboard (Gburg) Sherry Rippman
Registrar and Senior Assistant to the Dean, Julie Ritter
Director of Student Services, Heidi Rodrick-Schnaath
Visit, Scholarship & Student Life Support & Events Specialist, Bea Schultz
Co-Dean of the Seminary, Kiran Sebastian
Senior VP for Administration, John Spangler
Housekeeping (Gburg, PT) Taija Snyder
Senior VP for Advancement, President of the Lutheran Theological
Seminary Foundation, Dennis Trotter
Custodial Coordinator (Gburg), Shania West
Music, Gettysburg! Assistant, (PT) Dana Witt
Receptionist/Mailroom (Philly), Jim Ziebell
VP for Advancement, Angela Zimmann
Major Gifts Officer, Alumni/ae Relations Director, Marty Zimmann Assistant Registrar & Assistant to the Dean, Rachel Zimmerman