May 11: Update on Transitions at EDS

May 11, 2017

To the EDS community:

Soon after the Board of Trustees voted in February to pursue an affiliation with Union Theological Seminary, a team from EDS began negotiating with Union’s leaders to give shape to EDS’s future in New York City. In two months we’ve made great progress, and we are confident that the board will have a proposed agreement to vote on when it meets in Cambridge next week on May 16 and 17.

We are grateful for the hard work of Interim President Bill Nelsen, board member Christopher Holding, legal counsel Jeffrey Swope, and consultant Anthony Ruger who are serving with us on the negotiating team to move these conversations toward a satisfying conclusion.

We know members of the EDS community are eager for details about the school’s future, but because final negotiations are still underway, we are not yet able to share them freely. We can say that the three goals that the board set for EDS during the New Directions process last year are now within reach. Next week, we believe the board will have the opportunity to vote on a plan that a) allows EDS to continue providing theological education within an accredited and degree-granting program, b) carries on the school’s historic mission to place gospel-centered justice at the center of its efforts; and c) provides financial strength and stability for EDS’s future.

When the board voted to pursue this affiliation in February, we believed that Union shared EDS’s deepest values and gave our school the opportunity to attract new affiliations and new resources in New York City and beyond. During the negotiations, this belief has only grown stronger.

We’re eager to tell you more, but we want to caution that because the Union Theological Seminary board intends to vote on our agreement at its meeting on May 19, we do not expect to make a detailed public announcement until after that time.

Between now and then, we look forward to seeing many of you at EDS’s commencement and Alumni/ae Days, the last at our Cambridge campus. It will be a time to celebrate our graduates, to reflect with joy and gratitude on the work that God has done through EDS, and to recommit ourselves for the work that lies ahead for this splendid and beloved school.

The Rev. Dr. Gary Hall ’76
Chair, Board of Trustees

Canon Bonnie Anderson (Honorary Degree ’06)
Vice Chair, Board of Trustees

For more articles about EDS’s transition and future, visit