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About Andover Newton

Address | President | Mission Statement | Faculty | Students | Campus | Degrees
Certificates | Special programs | Affiliations | Religious Institute Certification | History | Alumni/ae

campus with students

Founded in 1807, Andover Newton is the nation's oldest theological school and its first graduate institution of any kind. From the start, it created the model for theological education followed by virtually all graduate seminaries ever since.

Throughout its remarkable history, Andover Newton has continued to develop new models for ministry and has trained some of the nation's most innovative and influential leaders.

Andover Newton has always been an innovator in response to a diverse and rapidly changing world. Today, the school serves as a dynamic laboratory for religious education and the church of the future.

Alumni and alumnae include prominent theologians, scholars, and pastors, founders of Grinnell College, Wabash College, and Union Theological Seminary, among many other institutions, an early president of Union College, three presidents of Brown University, and the "great president" of Dartmouth College.

Other graduates of the school have been important leaders in public and higher education, social justice, and in the foundation of American values.

Long known for its strong sense of community and its inspiring, academically accomplished faculty, Andover Newton continues to break new ground in theological education and lead in interfaith education for the 21st century and beyond.

In recent years, Andover Newton has established nationally-recognized interfaith programs in conjunction with nearby Hebrew College. It has welcomed a diverse student body representing more than 30 faiths and denominations. It has revised its Master of Divinty program to train clergy for work in an increasingly diverse, pluralistic world.

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Address, telephone number, and website

210 Herrick Road Newton Centre, MA 02459 (USA)

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image Martin Copenhaver (left)

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Andover Newton is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS) and the New England Association of Schools and College (NEASC)

Read more about our accreditations.

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Mission Statement

Deeply rooted in Christian faith, and radically open to what God is doing now, Andover Newton Theological School educates inspiring leaders for the 21st century.

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Called here through faith, we will work unceasingly to have the impact of our discipleship be the defining mark of our school. Our common life and work at Andover Newton will be measured by our witness, our trustworthiness and our transparency. We will hold ourselves and all our partners to high standards of integrity and excellence. (1 Kings 9:4-5; Psalm 15; John 8:31; Rom 5:4; Eph 4:1)

Andover Newton has a courageous pioneering spirit that has distinguished our school for two centuries. Honoring that tradition of innovation and believing in its necessity, we will seek to create an atmosphere of learning and academic freedom so that the newness of the Spirit can be experienced by all who come here. (Ezekiel 11:19; Isaiah 43:14; 2 Corinthians 5:17)

We will strive to be known for our faith-filled joy. Each day in the life of our school will be a celebration of God's presence and our gratitude for all we have received. We will be distinguished by the delight we take in our mission and in one another. (Psalm 32:11; Luke 15:3-7; Rom 15:13; 1 Thess 5.16)

Sacred Hospitality
We are committed to being an open and accessible community for all who come here to study or be nourished in ministry. We will seek to eliminate barriers of prejudice and ignorance, orient ourselves to welcoming the stranger, and treat everyone with dignity and respect. We are committed to preparing a new generation of transformational leaders who can take the world into their hearts, build understanding, and be agents of reconciliation. (Gen 18:1-7; Rom 5:2; Rom 12:13; Hebrews 13:2)

We know that all we have is not ours but God's. We will strive to be good stewards of the sacred traditions we have inherited. We recognize that this pledge also commits us to stewardship of the physical, financial, human, and natural resources that are in our care. And, recognizing our interdependence with all creation, we are committed to the long term sustainability of these resources. We will work to build a heritage of trustworthiness in our actions within this school community, and with the world and all creatures in it. (1 Cor. 4:2; Matthew 25:21)

Both within our school and in all our relations with the world, Andover Newton will seek to practice biblically centered justice and compassion. We will do this individually and communally, providing the best means for ordering our relationships in ways that are consistent with our faith. We will advocate for justice and stand in solidarity with all who are oppressed or marginalized. (Amos 5:21-24; Micah 6:6-8; Matthew 25:34-46)

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School colors

Purple and blue.

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Andover Newton's 14-member full-time faculty provides excellent theological education and easy access to students through flexible scheduling, personal attention, and an environment that supports adult learners. Andover Newton also engages notable adjunct faculty members from the Boston area and beyond to assist in the delivery of classes and programs.

Andover Newton has been known for its outstanding faculty for more than 200 years. Among the important theologians, clergy, and scholars who have taught at Andover Newton are Moses Stuart, the pioneering American Biblical scholar, alumni Calvin Stowe, husband of author Harriet Beecher Stowe, and William Jewett Tucker, later president of Dartmouth College, the distinguished theologian and church historian George Foot Moore, the poet, critic and New Testament scholar Amos Niven Wilder, brother of the author and playwright Thornton Wilder, theologian Harvey Cox, author of The Secular City, scholar of Christian social ethics, international peace activist, and vice president of the National Council of Churches Jane Cary Peck, and community organizer and internationally-known missiologist, Orlando E. Costas.

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Student body


Andover Newton currently enrolls approximately 300 students. Significant United Church of Christ (UCC) and American Baptist (ABCUSA) populations are part of the student body. The current enrollment represents at least 35 denominations, with over 50 percent from the founding denominations, and nearly 16 percent are Unitarian Universalists (UUA). Current enrollment includes 65 percent women, and less than two thirds of the student body identify themselves as white/non-Hispanic. The age range is 22 to 67 and students under age 30 are the fastest growing enrollment segment. Approximately 60 percent of Andover Newton's students are studying part-time, and 35 percent live on campus..

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Degree Programs

Andover Newton offers programs towards the Master of Divinity (M.Div.), several master's degrees (M.A.) including the Master of Arts in Religious Education (M.A.R.E.), and the Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.).

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Certificates and Other Non-degree Programs

Andover Newton offers certificates in Ethics and Social Justice, Ministerial Leadership, and Spiritual and Pastoral Care. Additional certificate programs are available through the Boston Theological Institute (BTI). Active clergy, lay church leaders, and the general public interested in theological study can also participate in a variety of non-credit audit and distance learning programs at Andover Newton.

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Affiliations and cross-registration


Andover Newton has historical covenants with the American Baptist Churches USA and the United Church of Christ. It is also a member of the Boston Theological Institute (BTI), an association of theological schools and seminaries in the Greater Boston area, and shares some facilities and programs with Harvard University.

Andover Newton students may cross register for courses at any BTI affiliated school and may also take for credit any course offered by Harvard University and its graduate and professional schools. Students can also cross-register at nearby Hebrew College with which Andover Newton shares several interfaith programs.

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Religious Institute Certification


All seminaries affiliated with the United Church of Christ have met a majority of the criteria for designation as a Sexually Healthy and Responsible Seminary by The Religious Institute, an interfaith organization dedicated to sexual health, education, and justice, the UCC reported on Nov. 5, 2013.  The United Church of Christ is the first Protestant denomination to achieve this milestone in providing the next generation of religious leaders the training and education necessary for addressing sexuality issues in a healthy and responsible way. Learn more.

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Special programs

  • The Field Education Program, among the first of its kind, has been recognized nationally by the Yale Center for Faith and Culture for its cutting edge developments in providing experiential opportunities for growth and education.
  • Border Crossings, a new program built on Andover Newton traditions, exposes students to experiences outside their usual frame of reference and challenges them to rethink their attitudes toward the world at large.

  • The Center for Interreligious and Communal Leadership Education (CIRCLE) is a joint program between Andover Newton and Hebrew College. Generously funded by a 2008 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, CIRCLE is one of a number of interfaith initiatives at Andover Newton that has given the school a reputation as a leader in interreligious education. CIRCLE's mission is to nurture a new generation of moral and spiritual leaders equipped for service in a religiously diverse world. In 2010, its leaders were inviged to the White House to participate in a special meeting on interfaith initiatives on American campuses.
  • Lifelong Learning provides LEARN on-line distance seminars and on-campus workshops to working clergy, lay leaders, and others interested in further training in theological and pastoral studies.
  • The Massachusetts Bible Society Media Center provides hands-on training in all forms of contemporary media, from film and video to the internet, in addition to managing media production on the Andover Newton campus. The Media Center offers regular workshops and institutes on the use of media in the context of ministry that are open both to Andover Newton students and working clergy, churches, synagogues, and other non-profit organizations.

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campus with students

Andover Newton's beloved "Hill," about 23 partly-wooded acres in Newton Centre, MA, was originally the site of an 18th-century country estate. It now contains 21 buildings ranging in age from Farwell Hall (1829) to Wilson Chapel (2007).

The campus includes an academic complex, an administration building, Trask Library, the chapel complex, which includes two sanctuaries, offices and studios of the MassBible Media Center, and the Sarly Gallery, a dining hall, and the Meetinghouse containing facilites for the program in Worship, Theology, and the Arts. There are five residence halls which include apartments ranging from studios to triplexes and single rooms. Elsewhere on the "Hill" is the campus of Hebrew College and the offices of the Boston Theological Institute and the Massachusetts Bible Society.

The location, with the original "Mansion House," barn, outbuildings, orchards, and gardens, was purchased in 1825 for Newton Theological Institution. The tree-lined modern campus is a rare open space in a densely-developed Boston suburb and suggests a traditional New England college. It has sweeping views of Boston and the Blue Hills and is a short walk from Newton Centre village with many shops, restaurants, and a MBTA station with trains to downtown Boston and Cambridge.

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A brief history

The seed for Andover Newton traces back to 1778, when Phillips Academy was founded for "the promotion of true piety and virtue" in Andover, MA. In 1807, New England Congregationalists, concerned about "unitarian" trends at Harvard College, instituted a separate department of divinity and raised money for the Samuel Abbot Professor of Theology at Phillips Academy. This was the first seminary professorship in North America and a position now held by Andover Newton's S. Mark Heim.

Andover Theological Seminary, as it was called until 1965, began as a pioneer and path-breaker. It established post-baccalaureate education for the ministry in North America. At a time when professional training in the United States, including study for the ministry, was still handled by an apprenticeship system, Andover was also the nation's first formal graduate school.

Part of the rich cultural heritage of New England Congregationalism, a tradition that also included Harvard, Yale, and Dartmouth Colleges, Andover created the educational model followed by virtually all other theological schools today. Its early graduates were pioneers in the ministry and distinguished in many other fields, including public and higher education, and established schools, colleges, and other institutions in the United States and abroad. The school was a major center of Abolitionist sentiment in the years before the Civil War.

Andover Hall

In the early 20th century, fearing its rural location would hurt its ability to attract students, Andover relocated to Cambridge, MA. There the seminary built a new campus (left) and was affiliated for two decades with Harvard University and the Harvard Divinity School. As a result, Harvard and Andover Newton continue to have ties today.

Separately founded in 1825, Newton Theological Institution was a Baptist seminary established in Newton Centre, MA, according to the model created by Andover a generation earlier. Part of a network of New England Baptist churches and institutions, Newton produced three important 19th- and 20th-century presidents of Brown University among its early alumni. All but one of Brown's presidents from the 1820s to the 1920s was trained at Andover or Newton.

Boston industrialist and Newton Centre resident Gardner Colby was an early treasurer of the school and a benefactor of Newton and other Baptist institutions, including Brown. Colby Hall and Colby Chapel on the Andover Newton campus are named for him as is Colby College in Waterville, ME.

At Newton's invitation, Andover moved its operations to the Newton Centre campus in 1931. The two schools officially merged in 1965 under the name Andover Newton Theological School, which has continued to be an innovator in theological education, pioneering in such movements as civil rights and social justice, psychological studies, and the ordination of women.

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Distinguished alumni/ae

Adoniram Judson, class of 1810, is one of the earliest notable Andover alumni and among the first U.S. missionaries sent by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. He later became a Baptist missionary to Myanmar, then known as Burma.

Thomas Gallaudet

Thomas Hopkins Gaullaudet (left), class of 1814, was the founder of education for the deaf in the United States, established the first American school for the deaf, and was the principal developer of what became American Sign Language. Gaulladet College (now University) in Washington, DC, was renamed in his honor in 1893.

Hiram Bingham and Asa Thurston, class of 1816, were the first missionaries to Hawaii, where they devised an alphabet for written Hawaiian. Bingham's direct descendants included another Hawaiian missionary, Hiram Bingham II, a U.S. Senator and archaeologist, Hiram Bingham III, who discovered the lost Inca city of Machu Picchu, and a U.S. Vice Consul in France, Hiram Bingham IV, who rescued Jews from deportation to Nazi concentration camps.

Francis Wayland entered Andover Theological Seminary in 1816 but was too poor to complete his studies there. He later helped found Newton Theological Institution. Like three later Newton alumni, Wayland was president of Brown University. He held the position for 28 years and is remembered as one of that school's most important early leaders. Wayland, Massachusetts is named for him as is Wayland Academy in Wisconsin, which he helped found.

David Oliver Allen, class of 1824, was an American missionary. Calvin Ellis Stowe, class of 1828 and later a faculty member at Andover, is considered one of the creators of the American public school system. He published widely on issues of public education and established the College of Teachers in Cincinnati. A prominent abolitionist, he was married to Harriett Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin, and was an enthusiastic supporter of her literary career.

Nehemiah Adams, class of 1829, was a clergyman and author. Bela Bates Edwards, class of 1830, was editor of American Quarterly Observer, Biblical Repository, and Bibliotheca Sacra. William Adams, class of 1830, was a founder of the Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York and later its president.

Caleb Mills, class of 1833, a graduate of Dartmouth College, is considered the father of the Indiana public education system. He was a founder and the first faculty member and principal of Wabash College in Crawfordsville, IN. (Byron Trippet, alumnus, dean, and president of Wabash, later wrote that, "by his ideals, his vision, and his abundant energy [Caleb Mills] gave to this college a sense of mission, which it has occasionally neglected, but has never completely lost.") The Caleb Mills Teaching Award is the highest faculty honor given by Indiana State University.

Samuel Francis Smith, class of 1834, was the Baptist minister who wrote the words to America or My Country, 'Tis of Thee while still a student on the Andover campus, where his dormitory, still in use at Phillips Academy, is now known as "America House."

George Frederick Magoun, class of 1847, was co-founder and the first president of Grinnell College. George Park Fisher, class of 1851, was a church historian and president of the American Historical Association. Charles Augustus Aiken, class of 1853, was a noted professor of Latin at Dartmouth, the sixth president of Union College, and later taught at Princeton Theological Seminary.

William Jewett Tucker, class of 1866 and later an Andover faculty member, was described at his death as "the great president" of Dartmouth College who transformed a small, rural, regional school into a major Ivy League university. The Tucker Foundation at Dartmouth was founded to carry on his legacy on campus.

George Trumbull Ladd, class of 1869, was an American philosopher, educator, and psychologist.

Claude Black, class of 1943, was pastor of Mt. Zion First Baptist Church, a civil rights icon, and politician. Albert Edward Winship is known for his work as an educator, and Joseph Hardy Neesima did not graduate, but was the founder and president of Doshisha University in Japan. Ferdinand "Frank" Fuentes is the founding executive director of the Latino Policy Institute at Roger Williams University.

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