EPISCOPAL DIVINITY SCHOOL Contact: Nancy Davidge 99 Brattle Street, Cambridge, MA 01238 617.868.3450 x502 www.eds.edu email@example.com FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Episcopal Divinity School Enters New Partnership with Lesley University Shared Vision for Future of Facilities, Programs on EDS Campus March 6, 2008, Cambridge, MA –Episcopal Divinity School and Lesley University announce a new partnership toward a shared future on the EDS campus, adjacent to Brattle Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The partnership includes the sale of buildings to Lesley University, academic program enhancements, and shared facilities for such uses a library, student dining and services, and campus maintenance. EDS will retain ownership of 13 buildings on its eight acre campus. This partnership is part of a larger strategic plan developed by EDS designed to ensure the long-term viability of the seminary. Episcopal Divinity School President and Dean Steven Charleston and Lesley University President Joseph B. Moore hailed the agreement as one that supports the missions of both schools – providing needed facilities for planned growth at Lesley University and a strong financial foundation for EDS. Through a purchase and sale agreement signed by both institutions, EDS and Lesley will become two members of a condominium association governing much of the EDS campus while maintaining individual identities. Lesley will own seven of the buildings on campus, including residence halls and the dining facility; provide some student services for both schools, and collaborate on exploring new academic opportunities for EDS students through Lesley’s two graduate schools. Lesley and EDS will share ownership of Sherrill Hall, where they will collaborate on library services tailored to meet the needs of students of both schools. “This partnership anchors the financial foundation of EDS while releasing our creative energy as never before,” said Charleston. “Through this partnership, we’re positioned to grow in vital areas like faculty development, student financial support, learning technologies, and community life, enhancing our capacity to train future leaders for the church and the world by securing our future in this place.” “This is a unique opportunity for Lesley to move closer to our goals of increased student housing and classroom space and improved library services, and in a manner that makes the effective use of institutional space in Cambridge” said Moore. “Particularly with the growth of Lesley College and the planned relocation of the Art Institute of Boston to Cambridge’s Porter Square we’re excited about the potential of a new campus for our students and a long and positive relationship with EDS.” With the signing of the purchase and sale begins a period of due diligence towards a phased closing which begins in the fall of 2008 and ends in 2010. During this period, representatives from both institutions will work together to develop plans for shared services and space, the library, and the formation of the condominium association. Bishop Charleston Announces his Plans to Resign as EDS President and Dean The partnership announcement follows last week’s announcement by Charleston of his planned resignation on June 30, 2008. Last summer, he spoke with trustees about his interest in making plans to leave EDS, wanting to time his departure so that it would dovetail with EDS’ plans for the future. With the Lesley partnership and the strategic plan in place, Charleston determined that the end of the current academic year presented a good opportunity for a change in leadership. In a February 28, 2008 letter to the EDS community and alumni/ae, Charleston wrote, “The time has come for me to say farewell to EDS and let others carry on with both the hard work and exciting times to come. After almost a decade at EDS, I see that our school has become one of the brightest lights in the Episcopal Church. Now I need to bring my tenure at EDS to a close so new leadership can carry out the next phase of growth for our school.” Charleston led EDS through its strategic planning process; his unfailing commitment to ensuring a secure future for the school resulted in this partnership with Lesley University. During the past nine years, Charleston has been instrumental in helping restore EDS’ reputation as a valuable resource to Church as well as reinvigorating the spiritual life of the School. A gifted speaker, his prophetic voice played a key role in helping the Church to see EDS as it is today: a seminary rooted in the Gospel that prepares leaders to carry out God’s mission of justice, compassion, and reconciliation. His work in the area of reconciliation, especially Good News: A Congregational Resource for Reconciliation; his What Witness Will We Make essay written for the 2006 General Convention; his daily inspirational podcast, Stepping Stones; and his recent work in the area of raising church wide awareness of our responsibility to God’s creation through his Genesis Covenant have all positioned EDS as a valuable resource to the church and the world. EDS expects to announce the search process for both an interim president and dean and a permanent president and dean in the spring. Brett Donham, chair of the EDS board of trustees is working with the board to form two search committees chaired by trustees. Each will include other trustees, staff, faculty, students, and alumni/ae as members. The first committee will recommend an interim president and dean, to begin work on July 1, 2008 and the second will, following an international search, recommend a permanent president and dean to the board of trustees. EDS’ Strategic Planning Process In 2003, EDS’ board of trustees, recognizing the financial challenges EDS, as a small independent seminary was facing, committed themselves to exploring options that would ensure EDS’ continued viability well into the 21st century. Recognizing the changing nature of seminary education, with increasing numbers of students unable to easily access the traditional, residential seminary model, EDS began working on alternative delivery systems resulting in the flexible study option which allows students to earn their graduate degree without having to relocate to Cambridge. Concurrently, trustees, administrators, and faculty began to look at ways to redeploy EDS’ resources to better support the School’s mission of educating lay and ordained leaders for Christ’s Church and the world who serve and advance God’s mission of justice, compassion, and reconciliation. A team of trustees, faculty, and administrators visited other seminaries which had successfully turned their financial situation around in order to learn from their experience. Over the past several years, many options were explored and rejected, including selling the campus and moving to another location, partnering with other schools, and transforming the school into a think tank or foundation. In addition to the partnership with Lesley, EDS’ plan includes: a market research project designed to help the school further adapt its programs to the needs of today’s church; a strengthening of EDS’ core program of theological education, formation, and community life; increased financial aid for students; building a strong development culture and program resulting in a capital campaign; fiscal discipline relative to operations; and the possibility of selling or leasing additional property. The school is confident that the income from the sale of buildings to Lesley in combination with the student services provided by Lesley and the resulting decreased operating costs will provide a strong financial foundation that will support our mission for the next 50 years. This confidence was demonstrated by the EDS trustees at their February meeting when they voted to approve two new faculty positions, an assistant professor of religion and society and an assistant professor of early Christian historical studies. In describing EDS’ plan Charleston said, “This plan has the potential to be the strategic springboard for EDS into the twenty-first century. It is something we have searched for diligently as a community over many years. In that time, we have always put mission first: our commitment to academic excellence, deep spiritual formation, and active engagement in the gospel of Christ Jesus. In pursuing our goal, we refused to settle for just maintaining the mission of EDS as we have received it. We were determined to launch EDS into a trajectory of growth for generations of students to come. The partnership with Lesley University is designed to anchor the financial foundation of EDS while releasing our creative energy as never before and positioning EDS to grow in vital areas like faculty development, student financial support, learning technologies, and community life.” About EDS Episcopal Divinity School (www.eds.edu) is a respected center of study and spiritual formation for lay and ordained leaders with a strong commitment to justice, compassion, and reconciliation. EDS, formed in 1974 with the merger of Philadelphia Divinity School (founded in 1857) and Episcopal Theological School (founded in 1867), offers doctor of ministry and master’s degrees, as well as certificates in theological studies. Located on an eight acre campus just a few blocks from Harvard Yard, EDS is a member of the Boston Theological Institute, a consortium of nine eminent theological schools, seminaries, and departments of religion. About Lesley University Lesley University (www.lesley.edu), a 12,000-student, multi-site university for women and men, is one of the nation’s largest providers of graduate professional education opportunities to K-12 educators. Anchored by a strong liberal arts curriculum, Lesley offers undergraduate and graduate programs in education, the arts, human services and the environment at its Cambridge and Boston campuses, online, and in 150 locations in 24 states. Lesley's four schools include the School of Education, the Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences, The Art Institute of Boston, and Lesley College, an undergraduate residential college. Lesley University prepares individuals for lives and careers that make a difference, and serves the evolving needs of students and a diverse society through innovative programs and pedagogy, high quality instruction, scholarship, advocacy, and outreach. ### An online press kit, containing background information on EDS and Lesley, including copies of the letters sent to the EDS community are posted on the EDS website at www.eds.edu in the Info & Resources section. Click on Online Press Kits.
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