Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School (CRCDS) has commenced its search for a new President. As an ecumenical seminary CRCDS has a long tradition of progressive Christian theological education and will celebrate our 200th anniversary in 2019. This is a very exciting time at CRCDS, especially as we move from our campus of over 90 years to a new location in urban Rochester, New York. The search committee, consisting of fourteen members including trustees, faculty, students, staff and alumni/ae, invites nominations and applications for the position of President of CRCDS. The next president will begin her/his office on July 1, 2019. If you wish to apply for this unique opportunity, or you would like to nominate another individual whose experience, commitment and talent would match the needs of the Divinity School please contact Barbara Hessdoerfer, Administrative Assistant to the Search Committee at or
(585) 340-9680.


Our Mission

Rooted in the biblical mandate for justice and mercy, CRCDS prepares women and men for ministry and service in the local church and beyond that is learned, pastoral, and prophetic. We equip leaders for transforming that speaks truth to power and stands among “the least of these.” We engage the theological disciplines in an ecumenical Christian community of teaching, learning, and worship.

Our Vision

  • Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School will be a renowned center of progressive theological education with an emphasis on degree and certificate programs and on lifelong learning opportunities for clergy and laity.
  • Confessing Jesus Christ is the good news of God, who transforms both persons and societies, we will be committed to dialogue with diverse religious communities and with all persons who seek truth and pursue justice.
  • Rooted in biblical faith and in the lived traditions of the church, in particular the witness of the Social Gospel movement, we will continue to highlight traditions of the Black Church and the voices of women in church and society, and to engage Christian responses to religious pluralism and diversity of gender and sexuality, each as critically interpreted and embraced by those who both cherish the past and are open to the future.
  • We are and will continue to be committed to ministry as we engage the theological disciplines in an ecumenical Christian community of teaching, learning and worship that prepares students for Christian ministries that are learned, pastoral and prophetic.
  • We are and will continue to be committed to theological education that embodies acts of radical hospitality, in our classrooms and in chapel, in our churches and communities.
  • We will seek the integrity of living faith and intellectual inquiry by which women and men prepared for local, national, and global Christian ministries dedicated to a life-giving future for all God’s people.

Our Heritage

For almost 200 years, Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School has served as one of the world’s leading progressive theological schools, preparing socially conscious, socially active leaders who impact the world through Christ-centered leadership and service. Its name and its rich heritage speak to a series of unique unions and partnerships among several outstanding seminaries. The result of these visionary unions and collaborations is the progressive gem we know today as Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School.

In 1817, the Hamilton Theological and Literary Institute was founded in rural Hamilton, New York, with a concern to provide an educated clergy for the churches of early 19th century America. This institution gave rise to Colgate Theological Seminary coincident with the founding of Colgate University. In 1850, an offshoot of the Seminary was planted in Rochester by a group of Baptists who wanted to relocate both Colgate University and its seminary to an urban setting. While the relocation itself did not materialize, out of this initiative was born the University of Rochester and the Rochester Theological Seminary.

Continuing the tradition of Colgate Theological Seminary’s uncompromising commitment to academic freedom, Rochester Theological Seminary soon distinguished itself for its combination of academic rigor and social witness, traits remarkably combined in its most famous faculty member, Walter Rauschenbusch (1861-1918), the founder of the Social Gospel movement of the late 19th century. During the presidency of Augustus Hopkins Strong (1836-1921) for 40 years, the Seminary, rooted in its Baptist heritage, became ecumenical in its mission, enrolling seminarians from many denominations.

In 1928, Colgate and Rochester Seminaries merged to become Colgate Rochester Divinity School, and as part of that merger, the campus was built on one of the highest hills in the southeastern corner of Rochester. The joining of these two schools represented a distinctive blending of roots and heritages. In 1961, the Baptist Missionary Training School, which had been founded in Chicago in 1881 to prepare women for ministry and mission, chose to continue its mission as part of the Divinity School, bringing its action-reflection curriculum oriented around praxis with a vision both local and global. In 1968, Bexley Hall, one of the eleven accredited seminaries of the Episcopal Church, became a covenant partner, enhancing the ecumenical richness of the Divinity School campus.

Two years later in 1970, Crozer Theological Seminary in Upland Pennsylvania, an alma mater of Dr. Marin Luther King, Jr., merged with Colgate Rochester Divinity School to form Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School (CRCDS). Crozer’s deep commitment to social justice was incorporated in theological education oriented to the work of ministry. St. Bernard’s Institute, founded in 1981 after the closing of St. Bernard’s Seminary in Rochester, with its mission of educating women and men for lay ministry in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, entered a covenant relationship with CRCDS.  This relationship between the two schools remained until 2003. Most recently, in 2013, CRCDS initiated a program in Anglican Studies in collaboration with Bexley Seabury and the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester.

The 200 years history of CRCDS demonstrates that it has emerged as witness to God’s faithfulness and to all that can be accomplished when like-minded, steadfast individuals work together to serve and educate God’s people. The school lives as a vibrant community of learners, which embodies rich traditions of theological education dedicated to promoting human dignity and social justice and trains leaders for increasingly global Christianity and prepare culturally competent leaders for the twenty-first century.

Moving Forward

The community of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School remains faithful in the calling of serving church and society by forming future leaders for ministry. CRCDS is keenly aware that this mission must be grounded in response to highly unpredictable and ever-changing social, political, and economic dynamics, as well as to ecological challenges, all of which creates escalating anxiety, confusion, conflict and violence in the world. Responding to these changes and crises, and challenges, CRCDS is and will be dedicated to articulating—in word and deed—a prophetic vision that navigates the shifting landscapes and transfigures ambiguity into a creative space for living together. With its global vision, CRCDS starts a new phase of theological education in the urban setting. By relocating the school to the center of the city, we will continue to serve our mission as we create innovate models of theological education and ministry, emergent from engagement with underprivileged urban communities, local churches, storefront ministries, and neighborhood non-profit organizations, and beyond. This new and vibrant location will call the new president to exercise her/his leadership in creative ways in an environment wherein space is used creatively and is fully accessible, that is supported by up-to-date technology, and sustained by efficiency in maintenance costs. 


Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School became a fully accredited member of the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) in the United States and Canada in 1938. The accreditation was extended for a ten-year period by ATS in 2016. The following degree programs at CRCDS are approved: M.Div., M.A., and D.Min.

CRCDS also operates under a charter of the New York State Board of Regents to award Master’s and Doctoral degrees. The three programs (M.Div., M.A., and D.Min) are registered with the New York State Department of Education.

 Academic Programs

Our new location will be an urban, commuter campus, and the transition will bring curricular developments in innovative and effective ways. However, CRCDS will continue degree and certificate programs.

Master’s degree programs

The Master of Divinity for Theological Professions degree (M.Div.) is the most versatile, all-purpose degree. It is the primary degree leading to ordination for professional ministry. It also may prepare students for parish ministry, chaplaincy, youth work, teaching in colleges or theological schools, missions and evangelism, social work and more.

The Master of Arts in Theological Studies degree (M.A.) is designed to educate the laity who wants a general knowledge of Christian religion, interfaith dialogue, and the historic/cultural contexts that affect religious belief and practice. Also, the program prepares students for advanced graduate study in a specific theological discipline.

The Master’s curriculum provides concentrations in:

  • The Program of Black Church Studies
  • The Program for the Study of Women and Gender in Church and Society
  • The Anglican Studies Program

Doctoral programs

The Doctor of Ministry degree (D.Min.) is one of our signature offerings to strengthen local churches in the years ahead. The programs are designed for experienced clergy and religious leaders who wish to enhance their skills as reflective practitioners. Applicants to the Doctor of Ministry program must have earned a Master of Divinity degree or its educational equivalent in both duration and kind. Additionally, applicants must have a minimum of three years ministry experience after earning a Master of Divinity degree.

  • Min. in Transformative Leadership
  • Min. in Prophetic Preaching
  • Min. in Peace Building and Interfaith Dialogue

Continuing education opportunities

While the courses in these Degree Programs are also offered for personal enrichment, certificate credit or continuing education units, there are other continuing education opportunities such as:

  • Graduate Certificate Studies
  • The School for Christian Leadership
  • The Certificate in Older Adult Ministry Program
  • Auditing Classes and Non-Degree Status

CRCDS Fast Facts

Endowment The CRCDS endowment is $19.3 million and its operating budget is $4 million.

                        The school is continuing its work toward achieving a draw of no more than 5.5%.

Strategic Plan The current Strategic Plan calls for many initiatives including the following:

  • Increase enrollment in terms of both numbers of students (head count) and in terms of full-time equivalency (the number of courses each student takes).
  • Reduce endowment draw and increase the overall size of the endowment (providing greater financial resources for the school and for financial aid and scholarships).
  • Increase national awareness of the school and its mission.
  • Evaluate and adjust academic programs and delivery systems.
  • Serve both degree and non-degree students, focusing on engaging both “seekers” and “nones” who are unlikely to be familiar with the work of CRCDS, but who are likely to find affinity with its courses and degrees.

 Faculty – CRCDS has 5 full-time and 2 part-time faculty, along with several adjuncts.

StaffingCRCDS has recently restructured its staff in preparation for moving to its new location.  By June 30th, 2019, CRCDS will have a total of 11 staff employees, in addition to the 5 full-time faculty.

EnrollmentThere are 111 students enrolled this fall.

  • 22 M.Div., 7 MA, 55 D. Min., 3 Graduate Certificate Studies, 1 Non-degree Student, 2 visiting students from other seminaries, 6 auditors, and 15 in The School for Christian Leadership.
  • The student body is 40% female and 60% male (at master’s level – 49% women and 51% men; at Doctoral level 33% female & 67% male).
  • The student body is 46% Black/Non-Hispanic, 40% White/Non-Hispanic, 3% Asian/Pacific Islander, 3% Hispanic, 4% Two or More Races, 3% Refused to Answer.
  • Over 15 different denominations are represented with the top percentages as follows:
    • 36 % Baptist (6% ABC-USA 30% Other Baptists including NBC and PNBC)
    • 20% Methodist (14% UMC, 6 % Other Methodist including CME AME, AMEZ & Free Methodist)
    • 14% Episcopal/Anglican
    • 9 % Unaffiliated/Nondenominational
    • 7 % Presbyterian Church USA
  • 30% of master’s students are full-time.  87% of D. Min. students are full-time.

Job Description

Dedicated to CRCDS’ mission and its prophetic tradition, our new president will have a creative and innovative approach as we open a new model of theological education for transforming ministry in the new and vibrant urban setting. Our president will provide an ecclesial, ecumenical and global vision for the church and theological education, while exercising spiritual, academic and administrative leadership for the school. Skills in strategic planning and financial management are important, as well as the ability to implement plans for reinvigorating and growing our enrollment and institutional advancement efforts. A commitment to building relationships—both internally and externally—is vital to our community. The President will provide visionary and entrepreneurial leadership by strengthening and cultivating ecumenical and interfaith relationships and creating new partnerships that will invest in forming future leaders both for church and society.


The new president will embody CRCDS’s vision and mission and clarifies and implements the goals and objectives in the new urban setting. Committed to Christian faith and social justice, the new president is a person of integrity, who builds confidence and trust in leadership and has the ability to creatively engage other faith traditions and communities. The individual has academic credentials (Ph.D. preferred) with an understanding of and appreciation for theological education and scholarly contribution to the church and society through research. A candidate will have experience in congregational, denominational, and/or ecumenical settings.

Desired leadership skills for the new president to lead to institutional sustainability and growth include:

  • excellent communication skills with careful listening, writing and speaking skills
  • experience with and commitment to shared governance and making institutional decisions effectively
  • capacity to oversee strategic planning, making assessment of institutional progress and leading the institution through ongoing strategic planning processes
  • ability to enhance fundraising and effectively manage financial resources
  • insight into the effectiveness of organizational structures, processes, and programs
  • willingness to take risks with discernment and accountability, and to engage the Board of Trustees as needed
  • sensibilities for actively engaging in the life of the divinity school and Rochester community, nurturing the divinity school community, developing relationships with neighbors, as well as with various constituencies of the school (the Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, students and alumni)
  • vision for enhancing diversity and the school’s global engagement
  • skill in managing human resources by hiring staff, empowering them, and engaging them in enrollment and retention strategies
  • ability to raise awareness of the school’s reputation and visibility locally and nationally

Particular expectations and responsibilities for the new president are addressed in these two areas:

  • The new president will prioritize growth in masters’ degree programs enrollment, as well as maintaining the robust enrollment in the D.Min. program, by recruiting students nationwide;
  • Seeking fiscal sustainability, the new president will carefully manage the institution’s current resources and will fundraise vigorously through institutional outreach, both tending relationships with past and present donors, and cultivating new friends and financial supporters of the school and its mission.   

Diversity statement

We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. Women and underrepresented minority candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.

Search Process

The presidential committee invites letters of nominations, applications, or expressions of interest in the presidency of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School. Confidential review of applications will begin in November, 2018 and will continue until an appointment is made.

Applications should include a letter of candidacy, a curriculum vita, and three references. All application materials will be considered in full confidence and should be addressed to Peter Abdella, chair of the presidential committee and submitted electronically at

Questions about the search can be directed to Barbara Hessdoerfer, presidential search assistant, at (585) 340-9680 or by email at