Union Presbyterian Seminary

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Coordinates: 37°34′43.7″N 77°26′57.9″W / 37.578806°N 77.449417°W / 37.578806; -77.449417

Union Presbyterian Seminary
Religious affiliation
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
PresidentBrian Blount
Location, ,
United States
Union Seminary
Union Presbyterian Seminary is located in Virginia
Union Presbyterian Seminary
Union Presbyterian Seminary is located in the United States
Union Presbyterian Seminary
Location3401 Brook Rd., Richmond, Virginia, U.S.
Area12 acres (5 ha)
Architectural styleLate Victorian
NRHP reference #83003309[1]
VLR #127-0316
Significant dates
Added to NRHPApril 14, 1983
Designated VLRSeptember 16, 1982[2]

Union Presbyterian Seminary is a Presbyterian seminary in Richmond, Virginia. It also has a non-residential campus in Charlotte, North Carolina and an extended campus online.


As a result of efforts undertaken together by the Synod of Virginia and the Synod of North Carolina, Union Theological Seminary was founded in 1812 as the theological department of Hampden–Sydney College, located near Farmville, Virginia, and housed in what is now named Venable Hall. In 1895, Lewis Ginter, a financier and philanthropist in Richmond VA, donated eleven acres of land to the school, which was relocated to its current campus location on the north side of Richmond in 1898.[3] The General Assembly's Training School (ATS) for Lay Workers was founded in Richmond in 1914 as a complementary institution intended to train "workers outside of the regular ordained ministry." In 1959 ATS was renamed the Presbyterian School of Christian Education (PSCE). PSCE offered a master's degree in Christian Education, and operated across the street from Union Seminary until 1997, when Union and PSCE were joined in federation, becoming Union-PSCE. In 2002, a commuter campus in Charlotte, North Carolina, began on the campus of Queens University of Charlotte, offering both M.Div. and M.A.C.E. degrees to part-time students. The Charlotte campus for Union Presbyterian was relocated to its new facility on 5141 Sharon Road in 2012.

In 2009, Union's Board of Trustees voted to change the name of the institution to Union Presbyterian Seminary, partially as a means of distinguishing it from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. In his address announcing the new name, seminary president Brian Blount emphasized the school's unique heritage of several "unions," as well as the school's Presbyterian identity.

For many years, the seminary operated WRFK, an FM radio station at 106.5 MHz. WRFK was sold to commercial interests in 1988.


Union has a faculty of scholars in the fields of Bible, Christian education, theology, ethics, preaching, worship, church history, Christian leadership, and pastoral care. Faculty come from a range of denominational backgrounds, including Baptist, Lutheran and Methodist. These scholars have written hundreds of books and articles in their respective fields of study.

Notable faculty include former Moderator of the PC (USA) Syngman Rhee, theologian Katie Geneva Cannon, and current president of Union Presbyterian Seminary, Brian Blount. Retired faculty include Bible scholars James L. Mays and Dean McBride.

Student body[edit]

Union's student body is made up of about 300 students, with 220 students at the Richmond campus and another 80 students at the Charlotte campus. The majority of Union's students come from the Presbyterian tradition, but the seminary draws students from more than 20 Christian denominations, including Baptist, Methodist, Episcopalian and Reformed. There are a number of international students as well from Ghana, Korea, Switzerland, and other nations.

Students at Union take part in a number of student activities and seminary initiatives, such as intramural sports (including hosting an annual Ultimate Frisbee tournament for seminaries), mission and service activities in the city of Richmond.


William Smith Morton Library

Union's Richmond Campus includes two chapels: the historic Watts Chapel, located in Watts Hall, which also serves as a classroom and administration building, and the state of the art Lake Chapel, located in the campus's new Early Center, a classroom and office building completed in 2008. The Richmond Campus also includes the Belk student center, dormitories, student apartments and guest housing, as well as recreation fields, community gardens and tennis courts. Union's William Smith Morton Library was completed in 1996, and includes over 900,000 volumes and grows at a rate of about 5,500 volumes per year. Union shares its library resources with the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond.

Union Presbyterian Charlotte Campus is located on 5141 Sharon Road. This new facility opened in 2012 houses a chapel, library, classrooms, a regional Christian Education Resource Center, and office facilities.


The seminary only offers graduate degrees:[4]

  • Master of Arts In Christian Education (M.A.C.E.)
  • Master of Divinity (M.Div.)
  • Dual Degree Program—Master of Divinity/Master of Arts in Christian Education (M.Div./M.A.C.E.)
  • Master of Theology (Th.M.)
  • Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.)

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  2. ^ "Virginia Landmarks Register". Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Archived from the original on 21 September 2013. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
  3. ^ Burns, Brian (2011). Lewis Ginter, Richmond’s Gilded Age Icon. Charleston, SC: The History Press. p. 126. ISBN 978-1-62584-223-7.
  4. ^ "Degree Programs Archive | Union Presbyterian Seminary". Union Presbyterian Seminary. Retrieved 2016-11-21.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 9, 2008. Retrieved April 2, 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "Dr. David R. Bauer - Asbury Theological Seminary". Asbury Theological Seminary. Retrieved 2018-09-07.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]