United Theological Seminary awarded $1M grant for new program

United Theological Seminary President, Kent Millard talks to a small crowd at the school Monday Jan. 10 celebrating the schools 150 year anniversary. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

Credit: JIM NOELKER

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United Theological Seminary President, Kent Millard talks to a small crowd at the school Monday Jan. 10 celebrating the schools 150 year anniversary. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Seminary also received a $3 million donation to reduce debt for seminary students.

United Theological Seminary in Trotwood has received a grant of $1 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help support its Houses of Study program, on the heels of receiving a $3 million gift to reduce debt for seminary students.

United’s Houses of Study program offers specialized theological education, designed to leverage support from partnering religious organizations.

Two Houses of Study enrolled students at United for the spring 2022 semester. Fresh Expressions is focused on cultivating Christian community primarily among those who are not yet part of any church. Mosaix emphasizes multiethnic and economically diverse churches.

In fall 2022, the seminary will launch four more Houses of Study: one for Spanish-speaking students in Hispanic contexts, one for Black United Methodist leaders, one for students in Pentecostal and Charismatic traditions, and another for those in Wesleyan traditions.

“We are in an exciting time at United as we build relationships with Christian denominations, faith-based groups, and networks,” said Rosario Picardo, director of the Houses of Study initiative. “United’s Houses of Study aim to help fulfill the seminary’s overall mission in preparing faithful and fruitful Christian leaders in their respective traditions as they live out their calling to ministry.”

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United Theological Seminary trustee, Dr. Tom Lasley, left, and seminary president Dr. Kent Millard hold a proclamation from Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted celebrating the school's 150 year anniversary year. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

Credit: JIM NOELKER

United Theological Seminary trustee, Dr. Tom Lasley, left, and seminary president Dr. Kent Millard hold a proclamation from Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted celebrating the school's 150 year anniversary year. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

Credit: JIM NOELKER

caption arrowCaption
United Theological Seminary trustee, Dr. Tom Lasley, left, and seminary president Dr. Kent Millard hold a proclamation from Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted celebrating the school's 150 year anniversary year. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Credit: JIM NOELKER

United President Kent Millard said a House of Study provides a “track” for United’s current master’s programs, building on existing curriculum with the addition of specialized electives in the House’s area of focus.

“Each House of Study is led by a director with expertise in the area of study, who teaches these electives and also mentors students through their course of study,” Millard said.

The project is being funded through Lilly Endowment’s Pathways for Tomorrow Initiative, which is designed to help theological schools across the United States and Canada prepare pastoral leaders for Christian congregations.

Lilly’s funding will help United hire directors, as well as increase administrative support for the House of Study program as a whole, Millard said.

“The grant is a five-year grant, at the end of which we hope the Houses of Study will be self-sustaining, supported by the tuition of participating students,” Millard noted.

Gift to address student debt

United Theological Seminary has received $3 million from a donor to reduce student debt.

The donor, who the seminary said chose to remain anonymous, first provided a $1 million grant to support scholarships for students answering a call to ministry. Those funds have already assisted 14 students who began their seminary work this fall.

In October, United celebrated the beginning of its 150th anniversary year by paying off a $4 million mortgage to become debt-free. The same donor contributed a $2 million gift to help graduating students reduce their debt as well.

Each graduate will receive up to $20,000 to reduce his or her educational debt from both theological and previous academic studies. The Seminary’s Office of Financial Aid says that 30% of the anticipated 106 master’s and doctoral graduates will graduate entirely free of debt.

Last year, United Theological Seminary served 488 students, who represented 39 states, 11 nations and 37 Christian denominations.

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