Princeton Theological Seminary.

Princeton Theological Seminary. An offspring of the College, the Theological Seminary draws upon the common heritage of the vigorous reawakening of ``New Light'' Presbyterianism in the mid-1700s. In 1811, the Presbyterian General Assembly decided that the College was becoming too secular in its curriculum and general climate and that ministers required a quality of professional training beyond the scope of a liberal arts college. The College, on its part, had come to feel that the influence of the church was too restrictive. The founding of the Seminary deprived the College of the financial support of the Presbyterian establishment and only after the lay graduates of the College, many years later, began to acquire both wealth and concern for the welfare of their alma mater did the College regain its momentum in evolving into a leading liberal university.

From its opening in 1812, the Seminary has been blessed with able leadership, including its first professor, Archibald Alexander, and soon thereafter, Samuel Miller and Charles Hodge. It became the dominant influence in Presbyterianism in the United States for more than a century. Administered by its faculty with a rotation of leadership until 1902, its first president was Francis Landey Patton, previously president of the University, who was followed by J. Ross Stevenson in 1914, John A. Mackay in 1936, and James I. McCord in 1959.

Today, the Princeton Theological Seminary not only is the outstanding Presbyterian Seminary in the country but is one of the leading seminaries in the world. Its distinguished faculty of thirty-eight is supplemented by fourteen adjunct and visiting professors and more than fifty pastors and chaplains cooperating in field training. Its 740 students come from throughout the world and from many confessions. It awards advanced degrees and provides mid-career instruction to large numbers of ministers through institutes and special seminars. Its Speer Library is one of the best research libraries in its field. While remaining separate institutions, the Seminary and the University have cooperated in many ways in enriching the intellectual life of an academic community.

J. Douglas Brown

From Alexander Leitch, A Princeton Companion, copyright Princeton University Press (1978).

Go to Search A Princeton Companion