McCormick Theological Seminary

McCormick Theological Seminary
Established 1829
Type Seminary
Endowment $69.5 million[1]
President The Rev. Dr. Frank M. Yamada
Academic staff 21
Postgraduates About 200
Location Chicago, Illinois
Affiliations Presbyterian Church (USA)
The school was named after Cyrus McCormick.

McCormick Theological Seminary is one of eleven schools of theology of the Presbyterian Church (USA). It shares a campus with the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, bordering the campus of the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois. Primarily a seminary serving the Presbytery of Chicago and the Synod of Lincoln Trails, McCormick Theological Seminary also educates members of other Christian denominations.



Hanover Seminary was established in 1829 as a preparatory school in Hanover, Indiana for prospective Presbyterian ministers hoping to serve on the western frontier of the expanding United States. After about ten years, the seminary moved a short distance to New Albany, Indiana where it became the New Albany Theological Seminary. When the western frontier boundary moved, the school also moved and opened in Chicago's present-day Lincoln Park neighborhood in 1859 where the school was first known as the Theological Seminary of the Northwest. Their old campus now forms a part of the DePaul University campus on Fullerton Avenue between Halsted and Racine Streets. It was named in 1886 after American industrialist Cyrus McCormick (1809–1884), who had served as a member of the seminary's board of trustees.

Young Lords takeover

In 1969, the Young Lords and 350 local community residents led by Jose Cha Cha Jimenez and aided by seminary students, sat in at the seminary's administration building and held it for a week, demanding $650,000 to be invested in low income housing. The seminary had a fence surrounding it and the community would have to walk several blocks around it to get to a shopping strip on Lincoln Ave. McCormick Theological Seminary was planning an expansion as well as several other institutions in Lincoln Park. A Lincoln Park Poor People's Coalition was meeting with them to get McCormick to invest in affordable housing. The seminary refused and talks broke down. The Young Lords were the center of the coalition and they chained the doors and took administration offices over and held them for a full week. During the take-over, the seminary students volunteered to be human shields to prevent the police from entering the building. By the next morning Latino community residents brought food and supplies and many of these families with their children joined the Young Lords inside. At one point President McKay of McCormick Theological Seminary threatened to bring in the police. The Young Lords responded by threatening to burn down the library. A negotiating committee met with President McKay and he agreed to all of the Young Lords demands.

After the Young Lords take-over and facing a dire financial situation and declining enrollment, McCormick sold the Lincoln Park campus to DePaul University and moved to the Hyde Park neighborhood in Chicago, in 1975. This move divested the institution of infrastructure while reinforcing its commitment to urban ministry. Sharing facilities with the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC), McCormick began to help foster important ecumenical cooperation between the Presbyterian and Lutheran churches. In 2003 McCormick reinforced and recommitted itself to its ecumenical partnership with LSTC by building a new building situated on the LSTC campus.


The Fifth Quarter Century at McCormick, 1929-1954. by Dr. Ovid R. Sellers. McCormick Theological Seminary, 1955.


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2009. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2009 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2008 to FY 2009" (PDF). 2009 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved March 1, 2010. 

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