Meadville Lombard Theological School
|Meadville Lombard Theological School|
|Motto||Changing Lives to Change the World|
1844 - Meadville Theological School
1853 - Lombard College
|Type||Private, Unitarian Universalist|
|Endowment||Undisclosed but estimated to be around $20-25 million|
|President||Rev. Dr. Lee Barker|
|Provost||Dr. Sharon Welch|
|Location||Chicago, Illinois, USA
|Former names||Meadville Theological School
|Affiliations||Association of Chicago Theological Schools (ACTS), International Association for Religious Freedom (IARF)|
Meadville Lombard is a result of a merger in the 1930s between 2 institutions, a Unitarian seminary and a Universalist seminary. Meadville Lombard Theological School is one of two Unitarian Universalist seminaries and offers the following graduate degree programs: Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Religion, Doctor of Ministry, and the dual degree of Master of Divinity/Master of Arts in Leadership Studies. The school's mission is to educate students in the Unitarian Universalist tradition to embody liberal religious ministry in Unitarian Universalist congregations and wherever else they are called to serve. Meadville Lombard hopes their students take into the world the Unitarian Universalist vision of justice, equity, and compassion.
Meadville Theological School was founded in 1844 in Meadville, Pennsylvania. Most of the original funding came from Harm Jan Huidekoper, a recent convert to Christian Unitarianism and a wealthy businessman, and from the Independent Congregational Church. One of its best-known alumni was Jenkin Lloyd Jones, who played a prominent role in the growth of the Western Unitarian Convention.
Meadville Theological School moved to Chicago and became affiliated with the University of Chicago in 1926. It began construction on its permanent building in 1929, located across the street from First Unitarian Church of Chicago and designed by the same architect.
With the failure of Ryder Divinity School and Lombard College in 1930, the Lombard charter moved to Meadville Theological School in Chicago and became Meadville Lombard Theological School. The school is unique as it has a tax exemption, "one of only three in Illinois granting full tax-exempt status in perpetuity for all college-owned property. Monmouth College and Northwestern University have the other two."
Meadville Lombard is distinctive as a seminary for the caliber of its faculty, including world-renowned ethicist Sharon D. Welch, Michael Hogue (2008 recipient of the Templeton Award for Theological Promise), as well as graduates and affiliated faculty members William F. Schulz and Mark Morrison-Reed.
The school offers four full-tuition merit scholarships, partial tuition scholarships, and provides financial aid. It is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada. In the Fall of 2009, Meadville Lombard launched their new educational model, Meaville Lombard TouchPoint℠ model. The model blends traditional rigorous academic learning with experiential learning in community and congregational settings.
New Theological University proposal
In 2005 Meadville Lombard made public their decision to hold merger talks with the other Unitarian Universalist seminary in the United States, Starr King School for the Ministry, but in July 2006 it was decided that a merger would not be in the best interest of the seminaries. 
While also under the leadership of the President Rev. Dr. Lee Barker, in June 2010 Meadville Lombard and Andover Newton Theological School, the oldest seminary in the United States, situated in Newton, Massachusetts, affiliated with the American Baptist Churches USA and the United Church of Christ, announced plans to create a "new university-style institution" based at Andover Newton's campus, with an interfaith model for theological education.  Meadville Lombard would have become the Unitarian Universalist college in the new theological university. The two schools, Meadville Lombard and Andover Newton, announced they were seeking additional partners for the proposed institution. They announced their intention to form the new university as a legal entity by June 15, 2011, but the two institutions withdrew from the plan in April 2011, citing issues related to governance and finances.
Throughout the years Meadville Lombard has experienced many changes - described by some as 'a constantly-changing whirlwind relationship' and 'a collapsing and conflict-ridden seminary' - including the high turnover of staff and faculty, have led some to reconsider their loyalties to their alma mater. There is one blog with comments that question the honesty, openness and accountability of the school's administration, its President and the Board after the two failures to merge. On November 6, 2013, a Civil Suit (Case Number 13-cv-7959) was filed against Meadville Lombard in the Northern District of Illinois United States District Court.
- Rev. Jenkin Lloyd Jones, peace advocate, founder of All Souls Unitarian Church in Chicago
- Rev. Dr. William F. Schulz, human rights activist, former President of the Unitarian Universalist Association, former Executive Director of Amnesty International USA
- Rev. Dr. James Luther Adams, former Professor of Ethics and Theology
- Rev. Dr. William F. Schulz, Affiliated Faculty
- "National Historic Landmarks & National Register of Historic Places in Pennsylvania" (Searchable database). CRGIS: Cultural Resources Geographic Information System. Note: This includes Mrs. Anne Stewart and William K. Watson (August 1977). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form: Independent Congregational Church" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-08-18.
- Rev. Dr. Dave Sammons (October 2006). "Message from the Acting President". Starr King School for the Ministry.
- Michelle Bates Deakin (2008-09-22). "Meadville Lombard introduces sweeping curricular changes". UUWorld.
- Lisa Wangsness (2010-06-24). "Theological schools’ partnership could reshape training". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2010-07-06.
- Lisa Wangsness (2011-04-25). UUWorld http://www.uuworld.org/news/articles/182057.shtml. Missing or empty
- Manya A. Brachaer (2010-07-12). "Chicago seminary hopes to join other faiths: So far, Unitarian Universalist theological school in Hyde Park has one partner, a United Church of Christ seminary in the Boston area". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2010-09-08.
- "Mass. theology school for religions not to open". Associated Press (via Boston Herald). April 21, 2011.
- "'Thoughts from the Heartland...'". April 25, 2011.
- Jessica 'So M/L is at it again — another grandiose plan by my almer mater that will no doubt land flat on its face as all the others have in recent years. I am dismayed at the ineptitude of the current leadership by Lee Barker and the Board at the school. Talks with Starr King collapsed after M/L made outrageous conditions for a merger, curriculum changes announced by the administration ended in a near-revolt, and plans to build in Chicago have now been dropped for another fanciful plan. When will the mindless cliches and nonsense stop? It seems that the only people here who are winning are the consultants that M/L is funding from the generous gifts of donors. It is time to say goodbye to the administration and the board. Let’s get people who care about our faith and not just about their own egos. I am ashamed to say that I am a graduate of the school in its current state of affairs. And please do not concern yourself with a glib reply to me, Larry Ladd [President of Meadville Lombard Board], as I consider you part of the problem.' (2009-11-11). "Meadville Lombard open thread".
- Scott Wells (2011-04-21). "My thought about Meadville/Lombard staying put".
- Meadville Lombard Theological School
- Blog of Meadville Lombard Development and Alumni/ae Affairs Office