San Francisco Theological Seminary Closes So. Calif. Campus

A shot of San Francisco Theological Seminary on the campus of Pasadena Presbyterian Church in Southern California. The school will be effectively closed on June 30, 2011. (Photo: SFTS)

San Francisco Theological Seminary, a key educational institution for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), announced last week that it will be closing its Pasadena, Calif. campus by summer of this year.

The move, which will be made effective on June 30, is expected to save the institution about $450,000 – almost half of an estimated short fall of $850,000 for the fiscal year of 2012.

Plans are currently being developed to allow current Southern California-based students to complete their degree, while the campus' faculty and staff will be provided with severance packages to assist in their transitions.

"This is a painful decision for everyone associated with the Seminary," said Dr. Laird J. Stuart, interim president and professor of pastoral theology.

But while many are mourning the loss, the action is not the final word on SFTS's education in the region, according to Dr. Elizabeth Liebert, SFTS dean and professor of spiritual life.

"For example, we want to respond to new trends in online education and distance learning and we see these alternative learning options as important enhancements to our core academic program," shared Liebert. "We need to further develop our extended learning program, a plan that needs to include Southern California, as we strive to balance access with our fundamental belief in building community through worship, shared meals and personal conversations."

Established in 1990, San Francisco Theological Seminary's Pasadena campus has graduated nearly 300 alumni who are now serving in PC(USA) and other ministry settings.

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