University of Dubuque

    University of Dubuque Theological Seminary – Presbyterian (PCUSA)


The University of Dubuque Theological Seminary was founded in 1852 to reach out to German settlers pouring into the Midwest at that time. The seminary provided theological education to those called to serve as evangelists and pastors throughout the Midwest . The school - initially known as Van Vliet Seminary after founder Adrian Van Vliet - was renamed the German Theological School of the Northwest in 1864.

In 1870, the seminary was accepted by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church as a theological institution of the church. Because few of the students had college educations, undergraduate studies were eventually added. On June 17, 1920, a new charter was issued, renaming the school the University of Dubuque .

In the mid-twentieth century the three seminaries in Dubuque - UDTS, Wartburg Theological Seminary (then of the American Lutheran Church ), and Aquinas Institute of Theology (Roman Catholic) - began to explore various avenues of ecumenical cooperation. This bore fruit in 1965 when the three schools formed an unprecedented threefold-seminary consortium. UDTS moved its operations to the Aquinas Institute in Dubuque , sharing classroom, library, and living arrangements with Dominican seminarians and faculty. This lasted until 1981, when the Dominicans moved to St. Louis , Missouri , and UDTS returned to the University of Dubuque campus. The consortium with Wartburg still allows crossregistration to both student bodies.

The 1970s also brought the foundation of the UDTS Native American Program. Native Americans from New York to Alaska have come to Dubuque to train for ministry to help meet the need for pastoral leadership in Native American communities. Since 1998, the seminary has been educating commissioned lay pastors through distance education to provide leadership for smaller congregations.

Throughout its history the faculty and staff of UDTS have been committed to preparing faithful, effective, and compassionate lay and ordained leadership for the church.