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New Building and Location Will Support Continued Expansion of the School of Theology

October 5, 2016

A stronger church means recruiting and educating a new generation of priests as well as developing programs for laity that lead to lay leadership. The Stronger Truer Sewanee campaign is building resources for both of these efforts. Highlights are new financial aid resources, funding for new programs of the Beecken Programs Center, and an ambitious capital project, moving the seminary back to its historic home on Georgia Avenue. 

‌In 1984, the School of Theology moved from St. Luke’s Hall in the center of campus to a space formerly occupied by the Sewanee Military Academy. In June 2015, the Board of Regents of the University of the South approved the plan to move the School of Theology back to central campus. This move is hailed for not only locating the School closer to much-needed resources, but also bringing a major part of the University’s Episcopal tradition back to the heart of the institution.

The School of Theology is composed of a seminary for those preparing for holy orders and the Beecken Center with educational opportunities for the laity—thus providing for the theological education needs of the whole Church. The new facility and move to central campus will provide all of its students with improved access to University resources and better integration into campus life.

As the School continues to grow in number of students, both residential and summer, the need for expanded and updated classrooms is critical. A new facility will allow for enhanced opportunities for even more highly functional learning environments for both the seminary and the Beecken Center, promoting discovery in the classroom, collaboration with mentors and classmates, research in the library, prayer in the chapel, and training for leadership development. The plans for the new facility include an auditorium of approximately 250 seats for use by the whole University as a major lecture hall and as a performance space for student and faculty recitals.

The Beecken Center is the home for programs designed for lay formation, post-seminary engagement, retreats, and training of all kinds that support and enrich God’s mission. In order to continue its expansion, the Center needs additional training facilities and overnight accommodations. Education for Ministry (EfM) is the primary and longest running program for lay education at the Beecken Center, with more than 90,000 participants and 37,000 graduates worldwide. As EfM online continues to grow, state-of-the-art technologies will ensure that progression continues.

The conceptual 'fly-through' video by the architectural firm, Wier Boerner Allin Architecture, has captured the essence of the School’s needs and the spirit of the School's mission, all while conforming to the design and integrity of the University's campus. The abundance of glass in the front of the building invites visitors from campus and beyond to enter the School. The design allows for expanded communal spaces where students and faculty may interact and for the community to form. All in all, the facilities encompass the most current technological and academic environment possible.

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If you are interested in a gift that goes beyond current-use dollars, named endowed internship funds begin at the $100,000 level. Named endowed scholarship funds begin at the $150,000 level for the College and $75,000 for the School of Theology.