A New Chapter
In 2007, the Rev. Dr. Brian Keith Blount, a respected professor of New Testament studies from Princeton Theological Seminary, became Union’s seventh President and its first African-American President. In 2009, the name of the institution became Union Presbyterian Seminary (an indicator of the legacy of both UTS and PSCE). President Blount offered these thoughts about the Seminary’s complicated history:
When I gathered with students to share some of this story, I wanted them to know that they were a part of a context of transformative change. A school that may have owned slaves passed through a tradition in which the church was taught to invest in spirituality but not in the world. This Seminary, struggling with its own demons, shattered that doctrine of “The Spirituality of the Church” and committed itself to a biblical theology that pushed its community toward a sense of inclusion and demonstrated for that principle ofinclusion.
Today, Union Presbyterian Seminary is working to develop advocacy initiatives such as Richmonders Involved in Strengthening our Community (RISC) and other social service and justice efforts. The seminary has also invested significant resources in establishing two new centers devoted to justice-related research and action: The Center For Womanist Leadership and the Center For Social Justice and Reconciliation. Students and faculty are seeking to devote more of our energy into making a difference in the communities in which the Seminary is located. We are still trying to determine what God wants to reveal in us, in this institution, in its students and faculty, in its curricular and mission endeavors. We want to see UPSem reveal to the world what God is revealing to us. And in so doing, we want this Seminary and its people to continue to embrace positive change.51
51. Brian K. Blount, personal correspondence, June 29, 2018. The address to students took place on Dec 10, 2014.