I wish you all a happy New Year!
As many of you know, we have enjoyed a generative relationship with Disciples Seminary Foundation for decades. We so value this historic relationship, and we are thankful for DSF’s commitment to the church and seminary. As partners on this journey together, we look forward in hope for the year 2024.
2023 has been a dramatic year for us, culminating in the final arbitration of the sale price of our Claremont campus to the Claremont Colleges. There is both bad news and good news from the final arbitration.
Let me start with the bad news: The judge felt that she needed to honor the 1957 agreement as closely as possible, so she calculated a final sale price of $7.7 million from that formula. She heard the arguments from our side that a fairer standard would be the educational market value of the property, but in the end, because the appeals court upheld the 1957 agreement, she went with a vastly lower figure. It was very disappointing news for us. We were hoping for a settlement that would allow us to clear our debts and establish a new endowment from which we could operate. However, the arbitration is binding legally, and we must accept the final judgment.
The good news from all of this is that our 10-year disagreement with the Claremont Colleges appears to be over, and we can move on to a new location and start working on a new vision for CST. We will start our move to the Westwood United Methodist Church in a dedicated space on their campus. We invite all to come to our grand opening at Westwood scheduled for February 25 at 3:00 p.m. More detailed information will be forthcoming. Please save the date and plan to join us!
We are working on a new vision for our school. With the values of “Compassion, Justice, and Belonging” as our core, we will unveil this new vision on February 25. With the new year, we are given another chance to remake ourselves, which is also true of our institutions. God is making all things new all the time, and if we believe this, we must give our all in such transformations.
Let me close with a compelling quote from Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen, in their book “Great by Choice”: “We are not imprisoned by our circumstances. We are not imprisoned by the luck we get or the inherent unfairness of life. We are not imprisoned by crushing setbacks, self-inflicted mistakes, or past success. We are not imprisoned by the times in which we live, by the number of hours in a day, or even the number of hours we’re granted in our very short lives. In the end, we can only control a tiny sliver of what happens to us. But even so, we are free to choose, free to become great by choice.”
Rev. Dr. Grant Hagiya is the President of Claremont School of Theology. He previously served as the resident bishop of the Los Angeles Area, which includes the California-Pacific Conference in the Western Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church. Dr. Hagiya retired from active bishop status on January 1, 2023. To read Dr. Hagiya complete bio, please visit: https://cst.edu/faculty/grant-hagiya/