DSF's Response to CST's Announcement on July 6, 2017

Letter from Rev. Dr. Jon Berquist to DSF Students & Friends


Disciples Seminary Foundation (DSF) is very pleased to announce that Claremont School of Theology (CST) has begun preliminary conversations with Willamette University (WU) about embedding CST within the Willamette campus located in Salem, Oregon.


This opportunity enables Claremont School of Theology to thrive in its mission.


As a school within Willamette University, CST would continue to operate as Claremont School of Theology – with its historic values and continuing degree programs – offering on-campus as well as hybrid courses. These conversations will be an ongoing process; should the partnership move forward, both Willamette and CST would like to give as much time as possible to transition. Any student who begins a program in Fall 2017 should be able to finish coursework in Claremont, California.


Here’s what we can share:


  1. Since 2011, Disciples Seminary Foundation has been active from Seattle to San Diego, and we look forward to expanding our work in Oregon.  DSF has enjoyed a special relationship with Oregon churches and leaders for our entire history, and we are eager to grow our connections.  DSF and the regional office have already begun strategizing, organizing, and dreaming together. Salem and the surrounding areas offer many strong Disciples congregations and ministries, with a growing diversity that we want to help cultivate.

  2. DSF reaffirms its long-lasting commitment to Claremont School of Theology, which has been our partner for sixty years. Together, we have served hundreds of graduates, as well as more than 65 current students. And together, our two institutions will collaborate to support all of our students during this transition and beyond. WU is an established and recognized leader in academics, graduate education, and social responsibility, with a reputation as one of the most civic- and ecologically-minded universities in the country. It was also founded by Methodists in 1842 and is the oldest university in the West, thereby having deep historical ties to the church and a long academic experience.We believe this new partnership between CST and Willamette will enrich DSF’s mission, while also preserving our historic values.  

  3. As previously announced, DSF will retain its main office in Claremont, so that we can continue our face-to-face mentoring of students in the southern California area and the Pacific Southwest Region, as well as our growing certificate programs in Claremont and San Diego, and our educational work in support of local congregations.  For more than forty years, we have embraced our denominational responsibility to prepare pastors and leaders for the church of the entire West Coast.  


The Disciples Seminary Foundation community is a web of faith bound by many churches, people, and a shared vision for a better world. We are grateful for the Oregon churches that are ready to join us in actively building a better future by nurturing DSF students and leaders.


If you have any further questions, feel welcome to contact Vanessa Gorski, Director of Development and Marketing, at vgorski@dsf.edu.




Jon Berquist

President, Disciples Seminary Foundation

P.S. We encourage you to refer to CST’s FAQ on their website for more detailed information at https://cst.edu/update-from-the-president/