New York City – The Very Rev. Ward B. Ewing, Dean and President of the General Theological Seminary (GTS) has today issued an Open Letter on the state of the Seminary. The four-page letter was sent to the GTS Board of Trustees by email early today as well as to faculty, staff, and students of the 192-year-old institution, the oldest theological seminary of the Episcopal Church. It was also sent by mail to over 3,000 alumni/ae and friends of the Seminary. The Open Letter summarizes developments at the Seminary since July of 2008 when the Dean had issued a similar letter.

The opening section of the letter outlines the Seminary’s financial condition, a subject of growing concern as other Episcopal seminaries have reported on serious fiscal challenges in recent months. Following up on the three-year financial plan approved by GTS Trustees in May of 2008, the Dean reported that on March 13 of this year the Seminary successfully refinanced its current indebtedness and closed on a $22 million with M&T Bank. The loan will pay off existing debt, construction cost overruns, and provide working capital for the next two years. “The agreement from M&T Bank to refinance the Seminary’s loan, including additional working capital, is a strong testimony to the basic financial health of GTS,” the Dean wrote.

The letter includes news of a new faculty appointment, that of the Rev. Dr. Patrick Malloy as Associate Professor of Liturgics, as well as the arrival of the Rev. Dr. David Lowry as Director of the Center for Peace and Reconciliation, and that of Dr. Frederick W. Gerbracht, Jr. in a temporary position as assistant to the Dean for program development. In the same section of the letter, entitled “Program Enhancements,” the Dean discusses the new “world-class home” the Seminary is building for the 240,000-volume St. Mark’s Library and that funding is still required for the interior of the new facility. The letter also describes plans the Seminary has to increase revenue, a new strategic plan for GTS, new marketing programs that have been initiated, and hopeful news concerning enrollment.

The General Theological Seminary, founded in 1817, prepares women and men for both ordained and lay ministries through a wide variety of degree and certificate programs. Its historic campus in the heart of New York City is also home to the Desmond Tutu Center, a modern, full-service conference facility.

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Media Contact:
Bruce Parker
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The General Seminary of the Protestant Episcopal Church is a tax exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.