From My Desk to Yours

From My Desk to Yours: Grace & The Work of God

ULS President’s Newsletter | Summer Term 2018-19

Volume I, Issue 3

Dear United Lutheran Seminary Faculty and Staff,

Lutheran educational institutions are indeed blessed this summer, with two flagship ELCA seminaries receiving prodigious monetary gifts with which to further our goals of preparing church leaders to spread the Gospel in a changing church and world.

On July 10, 2018, Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, announced the receipt of a $21.4 million gift to provide resources to create a new two-year Master of Divinity program.

On Friday June 1, 2018, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that United Lutheran Seminary had received a “Heavenly bequest” of $30 million.

Luther Seminary President Rev. Dr. Robin Steinke — former Dean of the Lutheran Theological School at Gettysburg — indicated that the $21.4 million is the largest single donation ever received by Luther Seminary. President Steinke said the gift will be used to provide financial support for three cohorts of 30 students during the fall terms of 2019, 2020 and 2021. For President Steinke and everyone at Luther Seminary, this gift is a “transformative investment” for the education of future pastors and church leaders.

The $30 million ULS received —one of the largest donations ever received by an educational institution of the ELCA — is just as transformative and supportive of our mission to continue to provide exceptional education for future church leaders. This gift will help us provide full tuition grants to all new students accepted at ULS beginning in the fall of 2019. 

Together, these gifts enable a new era in ELCA clergy formation. By supporting clergy education in a concrete way, the donations enable new church leaders to enter the pastoral arena with more flexibility — provided by less student loan debt — and more focused on pastoral mission. Our institutions also are offered more flexibility — to expand and update academic programs and explore new ways of responding, as Christians and Lutherans, to the complexities of today. We are thankful for this opportunity, and confident that the Holy Spirit will guide us in using these funds wisely and to the glory of God.

Again, I offer prayerful thanks and appreciation to all involved in the activities leading to this heavenly bequest to ULS, and to those who played a part in the gift to Luther Seminary. We have been blessed, and our future seminarians will be blessed, because of these gifts and the divine grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are grateful for these blessings; now it is important that we humbly acknowledge these gifts and continue to do God’s work.

In Christ’s Name,


Richard Green
Interim President

Significant Events and Updates 

Over the past two weeks, I had some wonderful experiences at the United Lutheran Seminary.  Highlights include: 

  • A wonderful chat with Dr. Addie Butler about ULS and the ELCA.
  • Meeting with 3 staff members and 4 faculty members
  • Speaking with colleagues about the next steps in the process for ULS to receive the RIC designation
  • Meeting with Dr. Quintin Robertson about the upcoming UTICA Annual Meeting 
  • Celebrating Bishop Claire Burkat’s retirement at the BBQ on Saturday afternoon and a wonderful gala Sunday evening.
  • Visiting with Colonel Jeffrey Cooper’s presentation about the Draw the Lines Project 
  • Speaking with the Director, Accreditation and Institutional Evaluation at The Association of Theological Schools.
  • Hosting a conference call with several members of the Executive Committee of the ULS Board of Trustees about the presidential search and next steps. 
  • Speaking with the Peter Knudson (Chair of LTSP Reconstituted Board of Directors), Frank Leber (Board Chair of the United Lutheran Seminary Endowment Foundation) and Em Cole (Board Chair of the Seminary Ridge Historic Preservation Foundation) about a variety of issues affecting ULS and the boards they Chair. 
  • An excellent discussion with Rev. Dr. Robin Steinke, President of Luther Seminary.