An Episcopal Center for Learning & Discipleship


From the Archives

Dynamic Institution...Familiar Emotions...Continual Support 

Archive Books 72dpiBexley Hall, Seabury, Western, Seabury-Western, and Bexley Seabury have each been dynamic since their inceptions. Twin principles of mission, along with the very highest education standards, have persisted with us. That is part of the reason our alumnae, alumni and other supporters, always taking time to adjust to new developments, have continually supported this seminary education. Thank you for being among those alums and other supporters.

Starting with a letter from earlier this month, and going back in our shared history, here is a peek at some of the institutional dynamism which punctuates the decades. I think today we have a sense of some of the emotions our forebearers experienced.

[November 9, 2015 letter from Board Chair Michie Klusmeyer and President Roger Ferlo]

Today, we are pleased to share new developments emerging from the Beyond Walls Task Force...At the October 15–16 Board meeting, the Task Force presented its first set of recommendations. All were enthusiastically received, and all were unanimously approved by the Board.

First, beginning with the Fall 2016 term, Bexley Seabury will operate all programs—Anglican Studies, Master of Divinity, Doctor of Ministry, and lifelong learning—from one site, in Chicago...

[Moving Forward: 2015–2017 strategic plan; Bexley Seabury Magazine, Summer 2015]

Increase access to theological education

Continuing to open our doors to more of the church is inherent in our mission.

  • Assess our trajectory. Appoint a “Beyond Walls” task force to challenge where we are and where we are heading, ensuring sound long-range thinking and planning in the context of what we are learning through innovative platforms and partnerships...

[Typewritten recruitment document, circa 1970s, Seabury Western] 

SEABURY-WESTERN THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY was formed in 1933 by the merger of the Seabury Divinity School of Faribault, Minnesota and Western Theological Seminary of Evanston, Illinois. Seabury with its strong missionary tradition and Western with its proven reputation for having the very highest educational standards were brought together in the midst of the Depression.

WESTERN THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY was founded in 1883 by Dr. Tolman Wheeler, a physician, at the request of Bishop William F. McLaren, D.D. It occupied a site on Washington Blvd. near California in Chicago. The aim of the founder was “to provide a school where western men could be trained for work in the Mid-west and where any layman could study theology″.

In 1923 it accepted the joint offer of Northwestern University and the Garrett Biblical Institute of its present location in Evanston. Here, in 1929, it opened its new buildings to classes. 

[Bexley Hall: 150 Years, A Brief History, Richard M. Spielmann, 1974, CRDS/Bexley Hall/Crozer]

Beginning in February 1943 and continuing until the war’s end, various army, navy, and air force units used the college’s building for a variety of military purposes. The seminary was asked to relocate temporarily because the Bexley Hall building was needed for college and military purposes...President Chalmers designated Virginia Theological Seminary as Bexley’s wartime home. The president, and the trustees, took great care to inform all concerned that “our students at Virginia are still Bexley students, accepted by us," under the supervision of our Dean, and candidates for the Kenyon degree...The original agreement was only for the 1943-44 academic year, but despite protests from Bexley alumni, it was renewed for 1944-45.

Conrad Selnick
Vice President for Advancement and Church Relations