Hartford Seminary

Our History

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  • 1833

    A group of Congregational ministers forms the Pastoral Union of Connecticut to train ministerial leadership for the churches. They organize a school, which opens the following year at East Windsor Hill.

  • 1865

    The Theological Institute of Connecticut moves to Hartford and 20 years later is renamed the Hartford Theological Seminary.

  • 1885

    In response to a need for trained leadership in the growing educational work of the churches, a group in Springfield, Mass., organizes The School for Christian Workers, later the Bible Normal College.

  • 1889

    The Seminary’s Board of Trustees votes unanimously to admit female students, and in so doing, becomes the first seminary in America to open its doors to women.

  • 1902

    The Bible Normal School moves to Hartford to work in affiliation with the Seminary, and its name is changed to the Hartford School of Religious Pedagogy and later to The Hartford School of Religious Education. The school is a founding member of The American Association of Schools of Religious Education.

  • 1910

    The World Missionary Conference at Edinburgh calls for specialized preparation of missionaries.

  • 1911

    The Seminary organizes the Hartford School of Missions, incorporating in it the missionary training that had long been growing within its own program. Mrs. Emma Baker Kennedy of New York City, a lifelong supporter of missionary work, endows the school in memory of her husband, the late John Stewart Kennedy, and in his honor the name is changed to The Kennedy School of Missions.

  • 1913

    The three schools joined into “a single corporation in the nature of an interdenominational university of religion.” For nearly half a century these schools, later joined by the Institute of Church and Community, work together, sharing each other’s resources and providing training on the same campus for a wide diversity of vocations.

  • 1961

    The separate facilities legally merged into the Hartford Seminary Foundation.

     

  • 1972

    In response to changing needs in theological education and in the churches, the Seminary restructures its program to phase out pre-ordination education and focus upon the leadership development of laity and clergy; educational outreach to clergy and the public; congregational research and development; research into the role of the church in society; and Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim relations.

  • 1981

    An award-winning modern building of international renown designed by Richard Meier opens. The institution’s name is changed to Hartford Seminary.

  • 1990

    The Seminary becomes the first nondenominational theological institution in North America to name a female president. The next year marks another “first”; Hartford Seminary names a Muslim to its core faculty.

  • Today

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