Gordon-Conwell Updates Plans for the Seminary’s Pivot

Seminary Affirms Commitment to Residential Theological Education and a Greater Role in Boston


February 24, (Hamilton, Massachusetts) – President Dr. Scott Sunquist and the Gordon-Conwell Board of Trustees are pleased to update the seminary and local community on the seminary’s future plans. Known as “the Pivot,” the plan is a proactive response to changes in higher education and envisions a renewed mission on a smaller academic footprint.

“I’m happy to announce that the seminary and the Town of Hamilton have been working very closely to ensure a mutually beneficial outcome regarding the potential sale of part, or all, of our property at 130 Essex Street,” said Dr. Sunquist. “We have engaged the services of two external property consultants and held several public consultations to determine the property’s ‘best use’ going forward. It’s very important,” he continued, “that we maximize the economic potential of all seminary assets to ensure a sustainable future that better fulfills our mission. We also want to ensure that any development on the site, both commercial and residential, will provide maximum revenue for the town while respecting the character of the existing campus.”

The goal of this partnership between the seminary and the town is to present changes to the existing zoning bylaws at the Annual Town Meeting on April 1, 2023. These changes will provide reciprocal flexibility and support for both parties’ future plans.

“In addition to our work with the town,” said Gordon-Conwell Board Chair Bishop Claude Alexander, “we have been working very closely with all of the seminary’s stakeholders to determine what our physical needs are as a theological seminary in the twenty-first century. We reaffirm our commitment to a greater role in the City of Boston that complements the good work our Campus for Urban Ministerial Education (CUME) has engaged in for decades. We also confirm our commitment to residential theological education and the newly developed Life Together model.”

“We are keeping all of our options open because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and prudence demands both due diligence and meticulous planning,” added Dr. Sunquist.

Since announcing its plans in May 2022, the seminary has also engaged the services of Boston-based architectural firm Annum Architects, who recently completed the renovation of historic academic buildings at Harvard Divinity School in Cambridge. Together with faculty, staff, and students, various design ideas are being explored that will support a future of “blended learning” that is adaptable to several future locations. “How does one create a ‘palate of spaces,’” asked lead architect Philip Chen, “that support the needs of residential students, commuters, and networked learners, while respecting the architectural integrity of heritage buildings? It’s not an easy task, but this is present reality of higher education. Engaging in this process thoughtfully, as Gordon-Conwell has been, will certainly have a positive impact on current and future students.”

The seminary continues to provide updates on the Pivot page of the website.

About the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary:

Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary combines a rich tradition with cutting-edge educational innovation. Rooted in the gospel and God’s Word, the seminary seeks to develop Christian leaders who are thoughtful, globally aware, spiritually mature and ready for a broad array of ministries.

Learn more about this pivot towards a new beginning:

Visit www.gcts.edu/pivot for FAQs, videos, and more.