Cambridge’s Episcopal Divinity School to stop awarding degrees
Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, facing ongoing budget deficits, said Thursday that it will no longer award degrees after June 2017, and will spend the next academic year exploring options for its future.
The decision was approved by an 11-4 vote of the school’s trustees on Thursday. Following the vote, the Rev. Frank Fornaro, the interim dean and president, announced his resignation, effective in November, the school said in a statement.
“I totally disagree with this resolution,” Fornaro said in the statement.
The Very Rev. Gary Hall, the trustees’ chairman, said mounting financial pressures required the board to “act quickly, while the seminary still has sufficient assets to bring to bear in the next phase of its life.”
No layoffs of faculty or staff are planned. The school will admit its final class of students next month, and then help all students to transfer to other seminaries, the statement said.
“Today, we have adequate resources for student, faculty, and staff transitions,” Hall said. “Given the current financial trajectories, five years down the road, we would not.”
Episcopal Divinity, located on Brattle Street near Harvard Square, is running a deficit of about $133,000 per month, the statement said.
The seminary has a $53 million endowment and has had to spend $6 million of it annually, according to the statement.
The school, formed in 1974 by a merger of seminaries in Cambridge and Philadelphia, awards master’s degrees in divinity and theological studies and a doctor of ministry.
Annual tuition ranges from $17,605 to $37,748, depending on the degree, according to the seminary’s website.
The school, one of just 10 Episcopal seminaries in the United States, is considering several options for its future, including merging with another seminary, establishing a center for Abrahamic studies, or becoming a center for continuing education, among other possibilities, the statement said.
“This means that we will contract with another seminary or seminaries to accept our students at full credit, and we will make sure that students do not bear the expense of this transition,” Hall said.
The school had 43 full and part-time students as of May, a spokeswoman said.