Union Presbyterian Seminary

Coordinates: 37°34′43.7″N 77°26′57.9″W / 37.578806°N 77.449417°W / 37.578806; -77.449417
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Union Presbyterian Seminary
Established1812; 211 years ago (1812)
Religious affiliation
Presbyterian Church (USA)
PresidentJacqueline Lapsley
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 No.83003309[1]
VLR No.127-0316
Significant dates
Added to NRHPApril 14, 1983
Designated VLRSeptember 16, 1982[2]

Union Presbyterian Seminary is a Presbyterian seminary in Richmond, Virginia, and Charlotte, North Carolina, offering graduate theological education in multiple modalities: in-person, hybrid, and 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, 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. Notable retired faculty include Bible scholar James L. Mays and Brian Blount.

Student body[edit]

Union's student body is made up of about 180 students, with 90 students at the Richmond campus and 84 more 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, South Korea, Switzerland, and other nations.

Students at Union take part in a number of student activities and seminary initiatives, such as mission and service activities to Shalom Farms 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 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; it includes over 900,000 volumes and adds about 5,500 volumes per year.

The seminary's Charlotte campus is located on 5141 Sharon Road. This facility, opened in 2012, houses a chapel, library, classrooms, a regional Christian Education Resource Center, and office facilities.


The seminary offers graduate degrees:[4]

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

The seminary also offers certificates:[5]

  • Certificate Program in Christian Education (C.C.E.)
  • Certificate Program in Public Theology (C.P.T.)

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, South Carolina: The History Press. p. 126. ISBN 978-1-62584-223-7.
  4. ^ "Academic Catalog 2023-24" (PDF). Union Presbyterian Seminary. 2023-06-08. Retrieved 2023-08-01.
  5. ^ "Degree Programs". Union Presbyterian Seminary. Retrieved 2023-08-01.
  6. ^ "Dr. David R. Bauer". Asbury Theological Seminary. Retrieved 2018-09-07.
  7. ^ "Commencement Plans in Charlotte and Richmond". Archived from the original on December 9, 2008. Retrieved April 2, 2010.
  8. ^ "President Wardlaw announces plans to retire in 2022". Austin Seminary. 2021-11-03. Retrieved 2023-08-01.

Further reading[edit]

  • A general catalogue of the officers and alumni of Union Theological Seminary in Virginia, Baltimore: The Sun Book and Job Printing Office, 1884, OCLC 4703459, OL 23301138M

External links[edit]

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