Meadville Lombard UU Seminary is Moving

Meadville Lombard, one of two remaining Unitarian-Universalist seminaries and a major archival resource for scholars of liberal religious history, is relocating.  The move from Hyde Park to Woodlawn (the next neighborhood south of Hyde Park) is expected to take place in 2011.  Woodlawn is a relatively poorer area, with far fewer local businesses and less density of population.  This move is, among other things, expected to help the students participate in community service, which is receiving a greater emphasis in the revamped curriculum.  Meadville Lombard will still be located near the University of Chicago, though it will no longer be across the street from the First Unitarian Church of Chicago.



Filed under Liberal Religious History, Unitarian-Universalism

9 responses to “Meadville Lombard UU Seminary is Moving

  1. It’s sad. They’re in a classic building. Are they moving to a new building? There’s not much in Woodlaw anymore besides empty lots.

  2. Transient and Permanent

    Bill: it is unfortunate that they’re leaving such a nice building. I don’t know exactly where they’re moving, but presumably into a newly constructed facility. Perhaps one that will be tailored specifically to their needs and desires?

    Chris: yes, that’s where I saw the first substantive mention, though I’d heard a rumor. I was thinking of posting a more detailed entry on curriculum changes later on when I had some time, but since you’ve left the link I think that’ll do for folks who want to learn more. Thanks very much.

  3. The U of C is doing a lot of power plays with Real Estate. Secretly buying up land west of the Park. You have to wonder if the stiffed ML somehow… I’m sure they really coveted the property.

  4. Patrick McLaughlin

    Speaking as a student at ML… the students aren’t dismayed. Yes, the existing (main) building is a neat old structure.

    But it demands maintenance that old structures do–and ML isn’t well endowed, and there’s no one rushing forward to…. It also simply isn’t meeting the needs of the school. It’s too small. The library needs more room, the students need more rooms for classes (and the school wants to grow), and for some classes it needs larger rooms than it has. January classes in particular are ugly experiences in serious overcrowding. But at any time of the year…

    It’s a classic building (nice in that sense, but not in any practical terms). But the school isn’t the building, and the building isn’t meeting current needs well, nor will it meet future plans. And yes, the plans are for an entirely brand new building. I walked by the site back in January. It’s only six or so blocks away from the current site.

  5. A new building suited to the needs of the school makes sense. It’s funny how “liberals” can get wedded to a structure and totally inflexible and unchanging when it comes time to move.

    What happens with the old property? U of C takes it over? Did ML get a good deal out of it?

    I just assumed it was the U of C monolith on the move.

  6. serenityhome

    This plan of action to move into larger quarters has been on the table in various formations for the last decade at least. When I entered ML there were plans to connect three of the four buildings that Meadville owns. Those plans fell through when the neighborhood was concerned about the historic appearance of the region. Then there were plans to build in collaboration with the U of C who is also or at least was looking at expanding south into Woodlawn as well. U of C ended those talks early in the process.

    The need for the new buildings is well documented. Enrollment has increased. The classrooms are crowded and poorly air conditioned. The buildings are not 100% accessible. The elevator in the main building is tempermental at best. The Library has holdings that need to have an archival approach to them and not just a room set aside for rare books.

    Yes, these are quaint buildings. Yes, they have historic importance to Unitarian Universalism. But they no longer serve the needs of the students, faculty nor administration.

  7. Concerned ML alumnus

    The VP for Development is leaving after 2 years on the job, the faculty and staff turnover rate is seriously disproportionate for an institution of its size, and, from what I have heard from a seminarian there, there is one crisis after another with the students under the present President, Mr Lee Barker.

  8. Lisa Miller

    Patrick McLaughlin: you say that Meadville Lombard is not that well endowed? That may be what you are led to believe, but it has nearly $20 million in endowments – and that figure is continually growing as the fable of poverty continues to sap the pockets of well meaning UUs looking to invest their money in a good cause. It seems that Meadville Lombard cares more about increasing its endowment than it does about spending the money it already has.

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