Today, Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School (CRCDS) marks the opening of its 199th academic year. From its humble beginning in Hamilton, New York to the present, CRCDS has witnessed and been part of significant changes – in the church, in society and in theological education. Yet, throughout these changes, CRCDS has remained committed to its mission of preparing women and men for transformative ministry, sending out thousands of graduates whose collective impact on our world is immeasurable. We thank God for the gift of this ministry, for the mission of CRCDS and for the generations of people who have made its mission possible over these many years.
Today, I want to share news of an important new chapter in the school’s distinguished history. For almost 90 years, CRCDS has called the campus at 1100 South Goodman Street in Rochester “home.” I am delighted to report that the Trustees have voted to relocate CRCDS to a new “home” at 320 North Goodman Street in Rochester, beginning with the Spring 2019 semester. Until that time, the school will remain on the current campus.
While grateful for our current campus and the deep impact it has had on so many lives, the Trustees, for decades, have wrestled with the fact that the current campus no longer serves the school’s mission or its students and, in fact, has worked against it financially. The Trustees’ decision to sell the campus and relocate CRCDS to a more central location within the community allows for more direct community engagement and significant opportunities for our students with new and enhanced programs and offerings.
This past spring, the Trustees established a task force consisting of representatives from the student body, faculty, staff, alumni/ae, administration and Trustees, charging them with identifying a new location for CRCDS. After a significant amount of time visiting properties and much deliberation, the Task Force recommended the 320 North Goodman Street location.
This location is, understandably, very different from the current CRCDS campus. The Trustees did not want to either purchase an existing building or to build a new one. Thus, it instructed the Task Force to seek out property to lease. With this general instruction in hand, the Task Force established a number of criteria for a new location, including such important factors as accessibility, parking availability, proximity to amenities for students, easy access to highways (since all of our students commute to campus), and affordability. The most important criteria, however, were the desire to remain in the City of Rochester and a desire for a setting that would allow CRCDS to routinely engage with the community in a new way. The Task Force recognized that in many ways, the current campus setting – up, on top of a hill, behind an iron fence – removed and separated the school from the community in a very real and tangible way. Over the years, CRCDS had grown to expect people to come to it, rather than being present in the community and engaging it more directly.
The 320 North Goodman location successfully meets the Task Force’s criteria. The space will be completely renovated this fall and, upon completion, will be a purpose-built, 21st Century educational facility. Located in Rochester’s Neighborhood of the Arts, near the University of Rochester’s Memorial Art Gallery, in the Village Gate complex, this location provides a vibrant, inviting atmosphere for our students while also placing them and the school in immediate proximity to a wide range of ministry partners. It also provides opportunities to work with the EMMA (East Main, Mustard & Atlantic), Beechwood and Marketview Heights (North and South) neighborhoods on issues related to social justice, education, neighborhood development and anti-poverty initiatives, just to name a few. This new location will provide greater opportunities for the school and its students and we are eager to share more on these initiatives with you in the months ahead.
This is an exciting time at CRCDS and we remain ever grateful for you and your prayers of support. The CRCDS family spans centuries and represents a shared vision that theological education positively impacts our world in truly transformative ways. We are intensely appreciative for all the ways our current location has served our mission thus far, and we very much look forward to how the new location will serve our future ministry as well as our current and future students.
Please join me and the Trustees in thanking God for the mission of CRCDS and for the abundant opportunities for educational ministry that lie before us at this pivotal time. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (585) 340-9680.
Yours, in Christ,
Rev. Marvin A. McMickle, Ph.D.