Union Theological Seminary & Presbyterian School of Christian Education
Union Presbyterian Seminary, located on the near north side of the city of Richmond, Virginia
Richmond, Virginia
Richmond is the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the United States. It is an independent city and not part of any county. Richmond is the center of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Greater Richmond area...

, is a theological seminary of the Presbyterian Church (USA)
Presbyterian Church (USA)
The Presbyterian Church , or PC, is a mainline Protestant Christian denomination in the United States. Part of the Reformed tradition, it is the largest Presbyterian denomination in the U.S...

. Through its main campus in Richmond, Virginia
Richmond, Virginia
Richmond is the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the United States. It is an independent city and not part of any county. Richmond is the center of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Greater Richmond area...

, a commuter campus in Charlotte, North Carolina
Charlotte, North Carolina
Charlotte is the largest city in the U.S. state of North Carolina and the seat of Mecklenburg County. In 2010, Charlotte's population according to the US Census Bureau was 731,424, making it the 17th largest city in the United States based on population. The Charlotte metropolitan area had a 2009...

, and an extended campus online, Union prepares men and women to serve the church as pastors, educators, scholars, chaplains, and missionaries.


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
Hampden-Sydney College
Hampden–Sydney College is a liberal arts college for men located in Hampden Sydney, Virginia, United States. Founded in 1775, Hampden–Sydney is the oldest private charter college in the Southern U.S., the last college founded before the American Revolution, and one of only three four-year,...

, located near Farmville, Virginia
Farmville, Virginia
Farmville is a town in Prince Edward and Cumberland counties in the U.S. state of Virginia. The population was 6,845 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Prince Edward County....

, and housed in Venable Hall
Venable Hall
Venable Hall is a dormitory at Hampden-Sydney College in southside Virginia. Built in sections from 1824–1830, Venable Hall is the second oldest dormitory on Hampden-Sydney's campus...

. In 1898, the school was relocated to its current campus location on the north side of Richmond, Virginia. 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 Masters 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
Queens University of Charlotte
Queens University of Charlotte is a private, co-educational, comprehensive university located in Charlotte, North Carolina. The school has approximately 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students through the College of Arts and Sciences, the McColl School of Business, the Wayland H. Cato, Jr. School...

, offering both M.Div. and M.A.C.E. degrees to part-time students. The Charlotte campus is known as Union Presbyterian Seminary, Charlotte Campus.

In 2009, Union's Board of Trustees voted to change the name of the institution to Union Presbyterian Seminary. 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
WRFK was the callsign for an FM broadcast radio station in Richmond, Virginia. As a non-profit station in 1958, it was originally assigned to 91.1 MHz in the non-commercial band by the Federal Communications Commission...

, an FM radio station
Radio station
Radio broadcasting is a one-way wireless transmission over radio waves intended to reach a wide audience. Stations can be linked in radio networks to broadcast a common radio format, either in broadcast syndication or simulcast or both...

 at 106.5 MHz. It was sold to commercial interests in 1988.


Union has a faculty of scholars in the fields of Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

, Christian education, theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

, ethics
Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime, etc.Major branches of ethics include:...

, preaching, worship
Christian worship
In Christianity, worship is adoration and contemplation of God.-Overview:Throughout most of Christianity's history, corporate Christian worship has been primarily liturgical, characterized by prayers and hymns, with texts rooted in, or closely related to, the Scripture, particularly the Psalter;...

, church history, christian leadership and pastoral care
Pastoral care
Pastoral care is the ministry of care and counseling provided by pastors, chaplains and other religious leaders to members of their church or congregation, or to persons of all faiths and none within institutional settings. This can range anywhere from home visitation to formal counseling provided...

. While the Union curriculum teaches in the Reformed theological tradition, 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 womanist
The word womanism was adapted from Pulitzer Prize winning author Alice Walker's use of the term in her book In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens: Womanist Prose...

 theologian Katie Geneva Cannon
Katie Geneva Cannon
Katie Geneva Cannon is a Christian theologian associated with womanist theology and liberation theology. She is currently the Annie Scales Rogers Professor for Christian Ethics at Union Presbyterian Seminary. Previously Cannon has served on the faculties of Temple University, Episcopal Divinity...

, and current president of Union Presbyterian Seminary, Brian Blount
Brian Blount
Brian K. Blount is a Presbyterian minister, New Testament scholar and current President of Union Presbyterian Seminary. He is a noted preacher and scholar on the Book of Revelation....

. Retired faculty include Bible scholars Paul J. Achtemeier
Paul J. Achtemeier
Paul J. Achtemeier is Professor Emeritus of Biblical Interpretation at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, Virginia. He is a widely respected authority on the Bible, the author or co-author of 14 books, former editor of the quarterly , and New Testament editor of the Interpretation Biblical...

, James L. Mays, and Dean McBride.

Student body

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
Ghana , officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country located in West Africa. It is bordered by Côte d'Ivoire to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, Togo to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea to the south...

, Korea
Korea ) is an East Asian geographic region that is currently divided into two separate sovereign states — North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and is separated from Japan to the...

, Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

, 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, and Project Burning Bush, the seminary's youth leadership initiative supported by the Lily Foundation.


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
Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond
Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond is a free-standing seminary in Richmond, Virginia. It was founded in March 1989 by Virginia Baptists related to the Southern Baptist Alliance and Baptist General Association of Virginia...

, located across Brook Road.

Degree Programs offered by Union

  • 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 Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Notable alumni

  • Bob Childress
    Bob Childress
    Bob Childress was a Presbyterian minister who was born in the town of Ararat, Virginia and raised in the Primitive Baptist tradition. He became known throughout the Southern Appalachian region for his work to transform the region's culture of violence and promote basic education...

  • Roy Kinneer Patteson, Jr.
    Roy Kinneer Patteson, Jr.
    Dr. Roy Kinneer Patteson, Jr. is an American ancient language scholar. He is a noted authority on the origin of the alphabet, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Masada scripts and the Apocrypha, a correctional translator of the Wisdom of Ben Sira, and former college president at Southern Seminary Junior...

    , Bachelor of Divinity degree in 1960 Union Theological Seminary;
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