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Gordon–Conwell Theological Seminary

Coordinates: 42°36′46″N 70°50′43″W / 42.6129°N 70.8453°W / 42.6129; -70.8453
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Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
Gordon-Conwell's Shield Logo
Former names
Gordon College of Theology and Mission, Gordon Divinity School, Conwell School of Theology
MottoThink Theologically, Engage Globally, Live Biblically
Established1969 merger, 1888 (as Gordon Divinity School), 1889 (as Conwell School of Theology)
Religious affiliation
Protestant, evangelical
Academic affiliations
PresidentScott W. Sunquist
Location, ,
United States

42°36′46″N 70°50′43″W / 42.6129°N 70.8453°W / 42.6129; -70.8453

Gordon–Conwell Theological Seminary (GCTS) is an evangelical seminary with its main campus in Hamilton, Massachusetts, and three other campuses in Boston, Massachusetts; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Jacksonville, Florida. According to the Association of Theological Schools, Gordon-Conwell ranks as one of the largest evangelical seminaries in North America in terms of total number of full-time students enrolled.[1]


A.J. Gordon
Russell Conwell

Gordon-Conwell arose primarily from the merging and refounding of two separate schools, Gordon Divinity School, formerly of Gordon College (1889) in Wenham, Massachusetts, and the Conwell School of Theology (1888), formerly of Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Both schools were founded in the Baptist theological heritage. Both Adoniram Judson Gordon and Russell Conwell, the namesakes of Gordon-Conwell, were Baptist ministers; Gordon's divinity school was first established as Gordon Bible Institute in 1889,[2] while Conwell's theological school was originally chartered as Temple College in 1888. In addition, the Boston Evangelical Institute, founded as Revere Lay College, also merged with Gordon-Conwell.[3]

Beginning in the 1960s, both Gordon Divinity School and Conwell School of Theology experienced new challenges. In 1961, Temple University became a public university and was forced to divest the theological school, thus re-establishing the previous school of theology as a religious studies department.[4] While Temple University hoped Russell Conwell's legacy would continue to grow through their new religious studies department, J. Howard Pew and Daniel Poling, a Baptist minister and member of Temple's board, felt Conwell's vision to train Baptist ministers would be neglected.[5] Poling contacted evangelist Billy Graham who agreed to help if he could appoint both a board of trustees of his choosing and faculty members he trusted.[6][7] Graham, in turn, contacted his close friend Harold Ockenga who was due to take the presidency of Gordon College and oversee the financially stressed divinity school. Rather than see two evangelical seminaries compete, Graham proposed merging the two schools to form one evangelical school on the East coast to mirror Fuller Theological Seminary's place on the West Coast. J. Howard Pew agreed to financially back the merger on the condition that the seminary must be divorced from an undergraduate institution.[6] Under the leadership of evangelist Billy Graham and Boston pastor Harold Ockenga along with the financial backing of J. Howard Pew, Gordon-Conwell began holding classes in 1969. Pew provided "$2 million to purchase the land, [Carmelite Junior Seminary in Hamilton], and several million more to refurbish existing facilities and to build and stock a library."[6] Harold Ockenga was selected as its first president.[8] Stuart Babbage was the first vice-president and also served on the faculty alongside Philip Edgcumbe Hughes, R.C. Sproul, Walter Mueller, and Richard Lovelace among others.[9]

Gordon-Conwell initially received protests and negative press for moving theological out of the inner city. In response, Stephen Mott, Michael E. Haynes, pastor of Twelfth Baptist Church in Roxbury and state representative,[10] and Gordon-Conwell trustees located Roxbury as the key location for inner city ministerial education. In 1976, the Boston-campus in Roxbury, the Campus for Urban Ministerial Education (CUME) was founded. Classes were originally held in Haynes' Twelfth Baptist Church. Eldin Villafañe, Dean Borgman, and Stephen Mott were among the first faculty to teach at CUME.[11]

Other former presidents include Robert E. Cooley (1981–1997) who founded the Charlotte campus[12] and Walter Kaiser, Jr. (1997–2006). The brief tenure of James Emery White (2006–07) saw White resign in less than a year into his post[13] leading to the interim tenure of Haddon Robinson (2007–08).[14] The President appointed after Robinson's interim post was Dennis Hollinger (2009–2019).

On October 12, 2017, Dennis Hollinger announced his intention to retire on June 30, 2019.[15] Scott Sunquist, an alumnus of Gordon-Conwell and former Dean of the School of Intercultural Studies and Professor of World Christianity at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, succeeded Hollinger as the seventh president in July 2019.[16][17]

Campuses and locations[edit]

The Kerr building on Gordon-Conwell's Hamilton campus
The Center for Urban Ministerial Education in Roxbury, Boston

The main 118-acre (0.48 km2) residential campus is in South Hamilton, Massachusetts. There are additional campuses in Boston, Massachusetts and Charlotte, North Carolina, as well as a location in Jacksonville, Florida. The campus in Boston is known as the Center for Urban Ministerial Education (CUME), and it is a program offered exclusively through part-time night and weekend classes. The CUME campus also focuses primarily on urban and cross-cultural ministry in an urban setting.[18] The Charlotte program was founded in 1992, and it offers courses on weekends, evenings and through week-long intensive courses, and generally attracts an older student body.[19] The Jacksonville location opened in February 2006 as an extension of the Charlotte campus and today operates as a location for the seminary's Networked Education program.[20] The Jacksonville campus is located in downtown Jacksonville, Florida.[21]

On February 2, 2012, the school began renovations of two large rooms in the main administrative and residence building on their South Hamilton campus. The 'Old Book Center' has been transformed into 'Alumni Hall,' a space for events and conferences dedicated to the alumni of Gordon-Conwell.[22] In August 2013, a donor gifted several hand-carved tables, chairs, couches, and art work for the Great Hall. In honor of this donor, the space was renamed the Pierce Great Hall.[23]

On May 16, 2022, Gordon-Conwell announced plans to sell part or all of the South Hamilton campus due to long-term financial health, the effect of the campus, facility maintenance costs, and also acknowledging more remote learning.[24] The following year, the seminary announced that it would be staying on the Hamilton campus and selling its underutilized apartments while continuing to provide student housing.[25]


Gordon Divinity School and Conwell Theological Seminary were both from the Baptist heritage. When Gordon-Conwell was refounded in 1969, however, the seminary was purposefully founded with no specific Christian denominational affiliation. Today, Gordon-Conwell has students from over 90 different denominations, as well as students from over 40 countries around the world. Theologically, the Statement of Faith[26] and the Mission and Purpose[27] of the seminary are based on Protestant and evangelical doctrines, such as biblical inerrancy.

Gordon-Conwell is part of the Boston Theological Institute (BTI), a consortium of nine theological schools in the Greater Boston area and the Carolina Theological Consortium, a consortium of four theological schools in North and South Carolina.

Gordon-Conwell is overseen by the main administration at the Hamilton campus. Each of the other three campuses is overseen by a campus dean, who reports directly to the Vice President for Academic Affairs and main campus administration.


As of Fall 2022, 1,330 students were enrolled at Gordon-Conwell.[28] The seminary once offered over 20 degrees but has recently restructured their programs to only offer the Master of Divinity (M.Div.), Master of Theology (Th.M.), Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.), and five specialized master's degrees.

Gordon-Conwell has been accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada since 1964[29] and by the New England Commission of Higher Education or its predecessor since 1985. It is also certified by the United States Government for the training of veterans and the education of chaplains for military service.[30]

Notable faculty[edit]

Current faculty[edit]

  • Donald Fairbairn, Robert E. Cooley Professor of Early Christianity
  • Dennis Hollinger, President Emeritus; Colman M. Mockler Distinguished Professor of Christian Ethics
  • Gordon Hugenberger, Ranked Adjunct Professor of Old Testament
  • Walter Kaiser, Jr., President Emeritus; Colman M. Mockler Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Old Testament and Old Testament Ethics
  • Richard Lints, Vice President for Academic Affairs; Dean of Hamilton Campus; Andrew Mutch Distinguished Professor of Theology[31][32][33][34]
  • Gary D. Pratico, Senior Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew Language[35][36][37]
  • J. Ramsey Michaels, J. Ramsey Michaels Professor of New Testament
  • Haddon Robinson, Harold John Ockenga Distinguished Professor of Preaching; Senior Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program
  • Douglas Stuart, Professor of Old Testament
  • David Wells, Distinguished Senior Research Professor
  • James Emery White, Ranked Adjunct Professor of Theology and Culture

Former faculty[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "2011–2012 Annual Data Tables" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on May 14, 2012. Retrieved November 5, 2012.
  2. ^ Songe, Alice (1978). American Universities and Colleges. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 79.
  3. ^ Cudjoe, Selwyn R. (May 4, 2011), The Souls of Black Folk, Trinicenter, retrieved December 15, 2017
  4. ^ "Home - Religion". www.cla.temple.edu. Retrieved 2018-06-07.
  5. ^ Hilty, James (2010). Temple University: 125 Years of Service to Philadelphia, the Nation, and the World. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. pp. 40–41. ISBN 978-1-4399-0019-2.
  6. ^ a b c Martin, William (2018). A Prophet with Honor: The Billy Graham Story. Grand Rapids: Zondervan. ISBN 9780310353324.
  7. ^ Writer, Paul Leighton Staff. "Graham played key role at Gordon college, seminary". Salem News. Retrieved 2018-06-27.
  8. ^ "Ockenga Institute". Gordon-Conwell. Retrieved 2012-11-05.
  9. ^ Mueller, Walter (April 2016). "Reminiscences on the Early Days of Conwell School of Theology (former faculty)" (PDF). Africanus.
  10. ^ "Boston clergyman recalls his affiliation with MLK - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved 2018-06-27.
  11. ^ "The City Gives Birth to a Seminary". Emmanuel Gospel Center. Retrieved 2018-06-27.
  12. ^ "Robert E. Cooley: The computer will never completely replace the professor | Faith and Leadership". www.faithandleadership.com. Retrieved 2017-11-19.
  13. ^ "Gordon-Conwell President Resigns".
  14. ^ "Our History". Gordon-Conwell. Retrieved 2012-11-05.
  15. ^ "Presidential Search". Gordon-Conwell. Retrieved 2012-11-05.
  16. ^ "Scott Sunquist Accepts Call as President of Gordon-Conwell | Fuller Seminary". Fuller Seminary. Retrieved 2018-10-13.
  17. ^ "Gordon-Conwell Names Its Seventh President". Gordon-Conwell. Retrieved 2018-10-13.
  18. ^ "About Our Campus". Retrieved 2012-11-05.
  19. ^ "About Our Campus". Retrieved 2012-11-05.
  20. ^ "Multiple Locations". Retrieved 2012-11-05.
  21. ^ "Jacksonville". Retrieved 2012-11-05.
  22. ^ Hollinger, Dennis (February 2, 2012). "A Message from President Hollinger". Our construction deadline is May 1, in order to accommodate a Lausanne event being held at the Seminary May 29 – June 1
  23. ^ Email to student body from Dr. Dennis Hollinger. August 22, 2013.
  24. ^ Manganis, Julie (May 16, 2022). "Gordon-Conwell announces plan to sell Hamilton campus". Retrieved 2022-05-25.
  25. ^ "Gordon-Conwell Will Stay on the Hamilton Campus". Retrieved 2024-06-11.
  26. ^ "Statement of Faith". Retrieved 2012-11-05.
  27. ^ "Mission and Purpose".
  28. ^ Association of Theological Schools
  29. ^ The Association of Theological Schools Archived May 13, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  30. ^ "Accreditation". Archived from the original on 2011-07-20.
  31. ^ "Richard Lints". Retrieved May 7, 2016.[permanent dead link]
  32. ^ "Dr. Richard Lints Installed as Vice President and Dean". February 15, 2013. Archived from the original on April 7, 2018. Retrieved Apr 28, 2016.
  33. ^ "Archives for Richard Lints". Archived from the original on 2018-04-07. Retrieved May 8, 2016.
  34. ^ Julius Kim (2015). Preaching the Whole Counsel of God: Design and Deliver Gospel-Centered Sermons. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. pp. back cover. ISBN 9780310519645.
  35. ^ "Notable Today recognizes Gary Pratico". Retrieved Mar 5, 2016.[permanent dead link]
  36. ^ "World-Renowned Faculty - Biblical Studies". Archived from the original on April 3, 2018. Retrieved Mar 5, 2016.
  37. ^ "Review of Basics of Biblical Hebrew Grammar. Gary D. Pratico and Miles V. VanPelt. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001". Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society. 46: 415–17. 2003.
  38. ^ "Roger Nicole (1915–2010)". Archived from the original on 2014-09-14. Retrieved 2014-09-24.
  39. ^ "Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary: World-Renowned Faculty at Gordon-Conwell". Archived from the original on 2018-04-03. Retrieved 2012-11-05.
  40. ^ "Scott M. Gibson, D.Phil".
  41. ^ "Westminster Seminary California - Faculty - Dr. W. Robert Godfrey". www.wscal.edu. Retrieved 2018-05-22.

External links[edit]