CLAREMONT, Calif. – The Board of Trustees of Claremont School of Theology today announced the seminary has ended its relationship with Claremont Lincoln University.

“Our joint venture began in May 2011 with a shared vision to offer interreligious graduate education,” Board Chair The Rev. Dr. David Richardson said. “The two schools have mutually agreed that our fundamental philosophies have diverged,” leading to the decision to end the relationship.

The process leading to the separation began earlier this year when Claremont Lincoln decided to move away from its interreligious roots and become a secular-focused university seeking its own accreditation.

Claremont School of Theology’s trustees ask all who care for the seminary to hold both schools in prayer as they move forward on separate paths.

This decision ends academic, administrative, and fiduciary connections between the schools. Some actions will take place in phases, and negotiations are underway to reach a financial settlement between the university and the seminary.

Claremont School of Theology’s historic connection with The United Methodist Church played a major role in the decision to end the relationship with Claremont Lincoln University.

“Claremont School of Theology remains rooted in faith – as it has always been,” Dr. Richardson said. “Our institutional DNA is rooted in The United Methodist Church. We operate in an environment of learning and scholarly inquiry that reflects the best of our understanding of Wesleyan teaching.”

Until recently, Claremont School of Theology’s accreditation served as the basis for the academic operation of both post-graduate institutions. Claremont Lincoln was founded through a large financial gift from David Lincoln, formerly a trustee of Claremont School of Theology. The institutions shared some faculty, staff, and administrative resources, including space. Claremont Lincoln moved its administration into separate offices in April 2013.

Meetings have been held with faculty, staff and other stakeholders at Claremont School of Theology to explain the decision and respond to their questions. The action has no effect on the academic status of students matriculating at the seminary. As a result of Claremont Lincoln’s decision to discontinue several of its programs, a number of Claremont Lincoln students will seek admission to the seminary to complete their post-graduate studies.  Students potentially affected by these changes have been informed of their options for pursuing a fully accredited degree at Claremont School of Theology.

Dr. Richardson said Trustees affirm Claremont School of Theology’s place as a multi-denominational school and its continued role as a founding member of a multi-religious consortium. “This is the right course for our unique institution,” he said. “We look forward to continued relationships with the Academy of Jewish Religion, California and Bayan Claremont.

“The establishment of Claremont Lincoln University was not our first foray into broader religious engagement.  Claremont School of Theology has a rich ecumenical history that informed our effort to launch the university and continues to inform our mission and values.

“Claremont School of Theology must be laser-focused on its mission to provide a faith-centered graduate-level education if it is to thrive in a challenging time for seminaries and theological schools. We are committed not just to survival, but also to being a leader in theological education for the 21st Century,” Dr. Richardson said.

* * *

About Claremont School of Theology: Based in Claremont, Calif., Claremont School of Theology is fully recognized and approved as one of 13 official theological schools of The United Methodist Church, with close relationships with other Protestant denominations, especially the Disciples of Christ and United Church of Christ, the Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and Metropolitan Community Churches. It offers Masters’ degrees in divinity, religion, and ministry, leadership and service, and a number of doctoral degrees in ministry and philosophy. Claremont School of Theology is fully accredited by both the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and The Commission on Accrediting of The Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS).


Wendy Lee
(909) 447-2535

Nathaniel Katz
(909) 447-2592


The organizations and/or individuals who submit materials for distribution by Religion News Service are solely responsible for the facts in and accuracy of their materials. Religion News Service will correct any errors brought to its attention.