Union Presbyterian Seminary

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

Union Presbyterian Seminary
Type Private
Established 1812
Affiliation Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
President Brian Blount
Location Richmond, Virginia, United States


Union Presbyterian Seminary
Location 3401 Brook Rd., Richmond, Virginia, U.S.
Area 12 acres (5 ha)
Built 1896
Architect Multiple
Architectural style Late Victorian
NRHP Reference # 83003309[1]
VLR # 127-0316
Significant dates
Added to NRHP April 14, 1983
Designated VLR September 16, 1982[2]

Union Presbyterian Seminary, located on the near north side of the city of Richmond, Virginia, United States, is a theological seminary founded by the Presbyterian Church. Through its main campus in Richmond, Virginia, a non-residential campus in Charlotte, North Carolina, 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, located near Farmville, Virginia, and housed in Venable Hall. 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 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. 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 former Moderator of the PC (USA) Syngman Rhee, theologian Katie Geneva Cannon, and current president of Union Presbyterian Seminary, Brian Blount. Retired faculty include Bible scholars 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, Korea, Switzerland, 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.


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 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, located across Brook Road.

Union Presbyterian Charlotte Campus is located on 5141 Sharon Road. This new facility opened in 2012 houses a chapel, library, classrooms, a regional Christian Education Resource Center, and office facilities.

Degree Programs offered by Union[3]

Notable alumni


  1. National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  2. "Virginia Landmarks Register". Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
  3. "Degree Programs Archive | Union Presbyterian Seminary". Union Presbyterian Seminary. Retrieved 2016-11-21.
  4. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 9, 2008. Retrieved April 2, 2010.

Further reading

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