September 29, 2020 marked a turning point in the history of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School (CRCDS). The Rev. Angela D. Sims, PhD was inaugurated as the 13th President of CRCDS. In its over 200-year history, Dr. Sims is the first woman appointed to serve as President of CRCDS. She also holds the distinction of being the first African American woman appointed as President of an institution of higher education in the city of Rochester, New York. The formal service of inauguration and installation came three months into Dr. Sims’ second year of service. The original date that aligned with her one-year anniversary was abruptly cancelled due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020. Held virtually, this event marks a season of new beginnings and a rebirth of the direction of an institution that honors its Christian distinctives and envisions itself a seminary of and for the community pursuing peace, service, and justice.

The ceremony featured greetings from government officials, colleagues in higher education and accolades from family and friends. A sense of unity was shared and embodied by all, but most notably by the CRCDS faculty and staff who assured Dr. Sims, that they were with her in mind, body, spirit, purpose, and mission. Their mantra, #WeAreWithYou permeated the theme of the celebration and continues to guide their work to create a seminary that has fulfilled the call of its many constituents and embodies the needs of its current student body.

During Dr. Sims’ first year as President, “unity” evolved from concept to tangible expressions of deep and sincere concern for the wider CRCDS Community and the future of the seminary. With a renewed mission, vision and brand that honors the CRCDS heritage and symbolizes a path for new beginnings, the strategic plan was developed to broaden and enrich the seminary’s academic programming and create varied modalities of educational delivery in alignment with the needs of the communities in which the students serve; to strengthen the financial position of the seminary, maximizing resources to increase efficiency in operations; and to build trusted relationships within the community through collaborations and outreach.

Daily news feeds across the country display opportunities for us to create expressions of unity that stretch far beyond conceptualization. As we envision the seminary goals in the context of the world stage, we remain prayerful that as God has called CRCDS to advocate and care for all people and the earth, we must focus on the formation of our students to yield tangible expressions and calls to action in their ministry beyond the seminary. To do this we need your help. We ask that you examine your own call to a meeting our strategic goals. We invite you to give a gift online at  www.crcds.edu/giving/. We thank you for your generous support in the past and look forward to the opportunities we have in celebrating this institution in pursuit of its goals.