Update From The President

Update From The President 2018-09-07T16:59:10+00:00

Claremont School of Theology Update
July 6, 2018

Dear Friends:

The Final Trial Conference took place before Judge Oki this morning at the Pomona Superior Court for the trial that was set to commence July 16, 2018.  Regrettably, the trial was continued for another two months; however, we hope that the continuance will not drastically impact the timing in which we will receive a final ruling.

I attended along with Michael Brown and our counsel, Charles Clark and Kathryn Casey.  As Mr. Clark previously anticipated, Defendants Claremont University Consortium and Claremont Graduate University told the judge that they had a conflict on July 16, 2018, because of another arbitration that opposing counsel had to attend for his firm.  Mr. Clark pushed for a brief continuance to July 23, 2018 or July 30, 2018.  The Court was willing to move trials pending at that time to accommodate our trial, but with scheduling conflicts on all our parts, and with the Court’s conflicts in August, the trial date is now fixed forSeptember 24, 2018.

It is very frustrating that the trial was continued again, but we did take some positives from the hearing.  While the trial is pushed two months, we believe Judge Oki understands and appreciates the situation of our school and this can lead to a prompt decision after the trial.

Sincerely,

Rev. Dr. Kah-Jin Jeffrey Kuan
CST President

Claremont School of Theology Update
July 6, 2017

Dear Friends:

Salem, Ore. and Claremont, Calif., July 6, 2017 – Willamette University President Steve Thorsett and Claremont School of Theology (CST) President Jeffrey Kuan announced Monday that the two schools would begin the due diligence process to explore moving and embedding CST within Willamette University on its campus in Salem, Oregon.

“Willamette and CST are both excellent schools with much in common – a focus on quality, and a mission to educate students and prepare them for lives that contribute to and transform their communities,” said Thorsett. “Embedding CST at Willamette is an exciting opportunity to bring CST’s progressive approach to theological education to the Northwest, strengthen both institutions and support Willamette’s role as a liberal arts university with strong graduate programs.”

“CST is experiencing a period of enrollment and programmatic growth – and an opportunity to become part of Willamette has the potential of sustaining and supporting this momentum,” said Kuan. “I believe CST’s world-class faculty and our approach to theological education – with people of many faiths learning and living side-by-side – is an excellent addition to Willamette’s own dynamic community.”

The two institutions see a number of opportunities in partnering that would use the expertise of their faculties, as well as add to the experience of students.

  • Embedding CST at Willamette adds curricular and co-curricular programs for undergraduate students, and creates expanded options for graduate study.
  • Some of CST’s graduate programs could also pair with Willamette’s existing graduate programs – a graduate school of management and a college of law – as well as deepen coursework, research and connections with Willamette’s faculty and students at all levels of study.
  • Embedding also allows CST to reduce overhead, more efficiently address the rising costs of higher education, and focus on student scholarship rather than maintaining an aging campus. Moving from Southern California gives CST the resources to continue their programs in Oregon and contribute to shared overhead costs.

The Schools are working on a timeline for the due diligence process, and faculty, staff, students, and alumni from both institutions are expected to be able to connect with one another and share experiences as part of the process.

More information about the potential partnership is available on CST’s website at https://cst.edu/update-from-the-president/

About Willamette University:

Willamette University is a nationally renowned private liberal arts university based in Salem, Oregon and founded in 1842 as the first university established in the western United States. Today Willamette enrolls approximately 2,600 students in its undergraduate College of Liberal Arts (CLA) and in its two graduate schools, the College of Law and the Atkinson Graduate School of Management. The University is recognized for providing students with a challenging, exciting, and engaging classroom experience and a strong emphasis on sustainability, civic engagement and place-based learning.

About Claremont School of Theology:

CST traces its roots to the 1885 founding of Maclay College in California’s San Fernando Valley. The School is celebrating 60 years in Claremont, California, offering graduate level programs, including Master of Art, Masters of Divinity, Doctor of Ministry and Ph.D. degrees in religion and practical theology. CST is fully recognized and approved as one of thirteen official theological schools of The United Methodist Church, with close relationships with other Protestant denominations, especially the Disciples of Christ and United Church of Christ, the Episcopal Church, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America – as well as interreligious partnerships with Bayan Claremont, an Islamic Graduate Institute; Academy for Jewish Religion, California; and University of the West (Buddhist).

Sincerely,

Rev. Dr. Kah-Jin Jeffrey Kuan
CST President

Updates

April 23, 2018

Claremont School of Theology Update
April 23, 2018

Dear Friends:

I write to give you an update on where we are in our litigation with the Claremont University Consortium (CUC) and Claremont Graduate University (CGU). As I mentioned in my last communication, CUC/CGU filed a Petition for Writ of Mandate (“Writ Petition”) with the California Court of Appeal on February 21, 2018. Subsequently, the appellate court put a “Temporary Stay” on the trial, which was to begin on March 6, 2018. On April 11, 2018 we received a statement from the appellate court, finding that it believed good cause exists to allow CUC/CGU leave to amend their first amended cross-complaint attached to their previously filed ex parte application. This would allow CGU to assert their alleged claim, right and interest to the CST property and to ensure that all claims by all parties in interest may be resolved in a single action. The positive side of this decision is that the appellate court did not reverse or alter in any manner the lower court’s finding that CUC was not assigned any rights in relation to 1957 Deed or related Agreement in 2001, which we believe has impact in the enforceability of the 2001 Agreement. In response to the Court of Appeal’s statement, the CST proposed the following stipulations:

  • Stipulate to the Trial Court reversing its ex parte order that CUC and CGU cannot amend the cross-complaint, and the cross-complaint attached to the ex parte application will be deemed filed as of the date the Court signs this stipulated order. Even though Plaintiff is stipulating to the reversal, we will expressly reserve any standing arguments with regards to CUC at trial.
  • Stipulate to file a response to the complaint in 15 days.
  • Stipulate to a trial date in late May or June depending on the availability of the Court.

CUC/CGU agreed to the 1st and 2nd stipulations, and those have been entered as a stipulated court order. CUC/CGU did not agree on the 3rd stipulation. Hence, our legal team filed an ex parte application to set a new trial date as quickly as possible. The court granted a hearing on April 19, 2018 and has now tentatively set a new trial date on July 16, 2018 and a final status conference on July 6, 2018.

The trial is now back on track and we hope that we will have the litigation resolved this summer.

Please let us know if you have any questions, and we will keep you updated as the situation progresses.

Sincerely,

Rev. Dr. Kah-Jin Jeffrey Kuan
CST President

March 1, 2018

Claremont School of Theology Update
March 1, 2018

Dear Friends:

I write to let you know that we received a notice on February 28, 2018 that the California Court of Appeal has ordered a “Temporary Stay” of the trial, which was to begin on March 6, 2018, to allow CST to file an opposition to the Petition for Writ of Mandate (“Writ Petition”) by March 15, 2018. On or around January 29, 2018, CST prevailed in part on its Motion for Summary Adjudication (“MSA”), which is believed to be an important victory against Claremont University Consortium (CUC). As a result, CUC filed a Writ Petition with the Court of Appeal, which highlighted the significance of CST’s victory, stating, “Just weeks before trial, an erroneous summary adjudication ruling has stripped Claremont University Consortium (Consortium) of its entire affirmative case and probably most of its defenses.”

Our legal team is working to submit the opposition to the Writ Petition by March 15, 2018. We hope that CST’s Opposition shows the Court of Appeal both that the lower Court’s decision was correct, and there are no extraordinary circumstances justifying the Writ Petition.  If the Court of Appeal denies the petition, we hope the Trial Court will be able to still commence the trial in March.

Please let us know if you have any questions, and we will keep you updated as the situation progresses.

Sincerely,

Rev. Dr. Kah-Jin Jeffrey Kuan
CST President

Feel free to get in touch with my office jkuan@cst.edu, 909-447-2552 or the Office of Advancement and Communications, Rev. Sharalyn Hamilton at 909-447-6361 or shamilton@cst.edu

February 7, 2018

Claremont School of Theology Update
February 7, 2018

Dear Friends:

Our Spring 2018 semester is now in full swing. This spring semester, we enrolled 43 new students, bringing our total to 427. We continue to grow our enrollment in a context where many seminaries are experiencing enrollment decline, and our students are excited to be here. During the January Intensive week, I visited the Interreligious Dialogue and Leadership class. Looking around the class of more than sixty students, I was amazed at the diversity of our students. Only 35% of our students identify as White—no longer representing a majority of our student body. Our African American student population is at 16%, Asian American 15%, Hispanic/Latinx 5%, Pacific Islander 4%, International 15%, and two or more races 3%.

Our diversity goes beyond race and ethnicity. We remain deeply committed to The United Methodist Church. This is reflected in our student body. The 93 United Methodist students represent 22% of the population, the largest denominational group. Our commitment to our ecumenical mission is seen in the many denominations represented in our student population. The Disciples of Christ at 14% is our second largest group, followed by Korean Methodist Church at 5%, The Episcopalian Church at 4%, Presbyterian Church of Korea at 4%, Seventh Day Adventist at 4%, African Methodist Episcopal Church at 2%. Through our partnership with Bayan Claremont, we now have 51 students (12%) who identify as Muslims who are enrolled in degree programs. We also have Buddhist, Hindu, and Jewish students. Thus, our commitment to the interreligious mission remains robust.

On the financial side, this fiscal year we are operating on a net revenue budget of $8,961,034 (which includes the budget of the centers and Bayan Claremont). Our revenue budget represents an increase of $1,086,025 over FY2017 ($7,875,009). We continue to cut our expenses. Our expense budget for FY2018 is $10,321,541 (including the centers and Bayan Claremont). Our expense budget represents a decrease of $1,253,161 from FY2017 ($11,574,702). This will still result in a deficit of $1,360,506, but this deficit will be far less than in previous years. In our effort to fund the deficit, we have been able to secure bridge loans from three annual conferences, churches, and individuals, including trustees, faculty and senior staff. Faculty and senior staff raised more than $600,000 in loans to the school because they continue to believe in the mission of the school and its future. Our plan is to use a portion of the proceeds from the sale of our property to repay these loans and refund our endowment.

We are grateful for your continued support of our students, faculty and staff, and of the courageous ways in which we are working to secure the mission of this school for future generations. In December, one couple—members of a United Methodist Church and longtime supporters—gave a gift of over $800,000. This transformational gift not only helps to sustain us financially but speaks loudly in support of all the work that is being done by trustees, faculty, and staff in this transition.

The exploration of an embedded partnership with Willamette University is going well. We are still in the process of doing due diligence. Last September and October were filled with cultural, intellectual, and social exchanges on the beautiful Willamette campus. Faculty were given two opportunities to visit Salem, tour the campus, and have quality exchanges with Willamette faculty and staff. Willamette was a gracious host, leading tours and providing table fellowship with each group. The CST Board of Trustees followed suit and held its October meeting on the Willamette campus. This gave the trustees opportunity to tour the campus and meet the mayor and city manager of Salem, who provided an overview of the attributes and goals of the city as well as engaged in conversation about shared values and potential collaborations. President Stephen Thorsett and his wife, Dr. Rachel Dewey Thorsett, welcomed us with a dinner party which allowed board members to meet and fellowship with representatives from the Willamette board. President Thorsett addressed the trustees earlier that day sharing his vision, what he perceived as our compatibility and their work in the due diligence process.

The complaint that CST filed on Aug. 31, 2016, against CUC and CGU for quiet title and declaratory relief is winding its way through the Superior Court of California. CST filed the complaint to confirm alleged restrictions, including a Right of First Offer (“ROFO”), embedded in the grant deed and agreement of 1957 were statutorily terminated. CUC subsequently filed a cross-complaint trying to enforce an alleged ROFO restriction.

Both parties have gone through a long process of discovery, the taking of depositions, and the filing of motions for summary adjudication (MSA). On Jan. 23, 2018 the Court denied CUC’s MSA in its entirety, on all sixteen issues that CUC had raised. The Court took time to prepare a detailed opinion with positive findings.

n Jan. 29, 2018, the Court held the hearing for CST’s MSA, which identified three issues: 1) the ROFO in the 1957 Agreement and 1957 Deed had terminated by Statute on Jan. 1, 1988, and can never be an equitable servitude as it is not mutual; 2) the 2001 Agreement is void for violating the Subdivision Map Act; and 3) CUC does not have standing to assert the ROFO because it was not party to the agreements and was not assigned any alleged property interest in the agreements. At the Jan. 29, 2018, hearing the Court ruled in favor of CST by granting summary adjudication of issue 3, which then mooted issue 1. The Court denied summary adjudication of issue 2 on the basis that it was not asserted as an affirmative defense, which CST contests as “illegality” of an agreement and does not need to be an affirmative defense. The rulings on the MSAs give hope that CST will ultimately prevail in the litigation. The Final Status Conference is scheduled for Feb. 26, 2018, and the Jury Trial is scheduled to begin on Mar. 6, 2018.

You—our alumni, donors, churches, and friends—are so important to us. We are your seminary and we will continue to be your seminary—educating your pastors, your chaplains, your teachers and scholars, and your leaders of nonprofits, and always working together with you to do all the good we can, by all the means we can, in all the ways we can (to paraphrase John Wesley). Please continue to keep CST in your prayers as we work toward a bright and thriving future.

Sincerely,

Rev. Dr. Kah-Jin Jeffrey Kuan
CST President

Feel free to get in touch with my office jkuan@cst.edu, 909-447-2552 or the Office of Advancement and Communications, Rev. Sharalyn Hamilton at 909-447-6361 or shamilton@cst.edu

November, 9 2017

Litigation Updates from President Kuan

The complaint that CST filed on Aug. 31, 2016, against CUC and CGU for quiet title and declaratory relief is winding its way through the Superior Court of California. CST filed the complaint to confirm alleged restrictions, including a Right of First Offer (“ROFO”), embedded in the grant deed and agreement of 1957 were statutorily terminated.  CUC subsequently filed a cross-complaint trying to enforce an alleged ROFO restriction.

Both parties have gone through a long process of discovery, the taking of depositions, and the filing of motions for summary adjudication (MSA). On Jan. 23, 2018 the Court denied CUC’s MSA in its entirety, on all sixteen issues that CUC had raised. The Court took time to prepare a detailed opinion with positive findings.

On Jan. 29, 2018, the Court held the hearing for CST’s MSA, which identified three issues: 1) the ROFO in the 1957 Agreement and 1957 Deed had terminated by Statute on Jan. 1, 1988, and can never be an equitable servitude as it is not mutual; 2) the 2001 Agreement is void for violating the Subdivision Map Act; and 3) CUC does not have standing to assert the ROFO because it was not party the agreements and was not assigned any alleged property interest in the agreements. At the Jan. 29, 2018, hearing the Court ruled in favor of CST by granting summary adjudication of issue 3, which then mooted issue 1. The Court denied summary adjudication of issue 2 on the basis that it was not asserted as an affirmative defense, which CST contests as “illegality” of an agreement and does not need to be an affirmative defense. The rulings on the MSAs give hope that CST will ultimately prevail in the litigation. The Final Status Conference is scheduled for Feb. 26, 2018, and the Jury Trial is scheduled to begin on Mar. 6, 2018.

Due Diligence with Willamette University Continues

November 9, 2017

Faculty

September and October were filled with cultural, intellectual, and social exchanges on the beautiful Willamette campus. Faculty were given two opportunities to visit Salem, tour the campus, and have quality exchanges with Willamette faculty and staff. Willamette was a gracious host, leading tours and providing table fellowship with each group.

Rev. Dr. Kathleen Black, Gerald Kennedy Professor of Homiletics & Liturgics writes in her review, “It is clear that embedding CST in Willamette University will be financially beneficial to the school and therefore enable our mission to continue long into the 21st century and that the mission of Willamette is very much in sync with our own. We wholeheartedly affirmed the quotes around the tower outside the library – for example, ‘Knowledge is the Preface of Peace’. A University setting will also be advantageous for our PhD students (classes in cognitive studies, opportunities for teaching assistant positions at the undergraduate level, etc.) and it is clear that a primary reason Willamette wants CST to move there is for our ‘intellectual capital’ and our PhD programs.”

Read Dr. Black’s full reflection

Alumni and Supporters

An alumni event was held on the Willamette campus, giving our alumni/ae and supporters a taste of what it might be like to have CST in their neighborhood. Attendees participated in an insightful, inspiring discussion led by Dr. Frank Rogers, Muriel Bernice Roberts Professor of Spiritual Formation and Narrative Pedagogy. President Kuan updated those in attendance on the latest discussions with Willamette. Alumni/ae expressed support, recognizing that the Claremont property is no longer providing what we need and is a consistent drain on finances.

Board of Trustees

The CST Board of Trustees’ October meeting was held on the Willamette campus giving trustees opportunity to tour the campus and meet the mayor and city manager of Salem, who provided an overview of the attributes and goals of the city as well as engaged in conversation about shared values and potential collaborations. President Stephen Thorsett and his wife, Dr. Rachel Dewey Thorsett, welcomed us with a dinner party which allowed board members to meet and fellowship with representatives from the Willamette board. President Thorsett addressed the trustees earlier that day sharing his vision, what he perceived as our compatibility and their work in the due diligence process.

Dr. Marcelino Calimlim, trustee, reflects on his experience in Salem: “When I came to attend the board meeting on October 18-19, 2017, I did not have much preparation. I just came with open eyes, open ears, and an open mind. Honestly, I did not have much of an expectation either. To my surprise, it seems like the whole town of Salem and the whole university warmly greeted us with an overwhelming—Welcome.”

Read Dr. Calimlim’s full reflection

Due Dilligence Task Forces

In July 2017, President Kuan and the board of trustees formed four task forces to perform the work necessary to prepare for potential negotiations with Willamette. These taskforces are composed of board members, former board members, faculty and the executive team. The four taskforces are:

  1. Academic
  2. Governance
  3. Finance
  4. Facilities

Dr. Andrew Dreitcer, Associate Professor of Spirituality, Director of Spiritual Formation accepted the task of overseeing and coordinating the work of all four task forces so that the work is done collaboratively and information does not become siloed. Dr. Dreitcer has become an invaluable asset to the process and his leadership has facilitated significant progress.

Update on the Due Diligence Task Forces from Dr. Andrew Dreitcer

The four task forces have gathered and processed an extraordinary amount of information from a wide range of sources in a very short period of time. We now know the significant issues, commitments, and challenges that lie ahead, and have established processes for addressing these. Through their hard work, the Trustees, faculty members, and staff members on the task forces have given us a clear way forward for our potential collaboration with Willamette University.

Rev. Dr. Kah-Jin Jeffrey Kuan
CST President

Feel free to get in touch with my office jkuan@cst.edu, 909-447-2552 or the Office of Advancement and Communications, Rev. Sharalyn Hamilton at 909-447-6361 or shamilton@cst.edu

November, 8 2017

Dear Friends,

November, 9, 2017.
I know that all of you have been anxious about the summary judgment hearing. In spite of my travels, I have been in touch and in conversation with our legal counsels and the Chair of our Board. Here is an update of where we are in the litigation.

The court issued a Tentative Ruling, prior to the day that the formal hearing on the Motion for Summary Judgment was scheduled. This is not uncommon; it in fact gives one a fair amount of insight into what can be expected from the judge on the day of the hearing.

Surprisingly, the court was attempting to find a way to avoid the analysis which would be required for the complicated issues of this motion. The court then went on to state that it was a “very complicated matter to rule on, and would be difficult to dispose of by way of summary judgment.”

Actually, according to the statute describing summary judgments, that is precisely what the motions are for: to narrow the scope of issues prior to the time of trial. Thus, the motion has not technically been heard, as it was taken off calendar after the issuance of the tentative ruling. Also, the court never presumed, even in the tentative ruling, to rule on the actual merits of the motion for summary judgment.

Our lead counsel, Charles Clark, is preparing to file a “streamlined” Motion for Summary Judgment, to be heard in mid-January. It will be limited to simple, straightforward issues, which will make it easier for the judge.

While the court’s reluctance to perform its statutory obligations is frustrating, we believe that there was a huge advantage in filing the Motion for Summary Judgment. CUC and CGU now understand the strength of our position, and the difficulty that CUC and CGU will have in opposing CST at the time of trial.

CST and the Claremont Colleges have had a long relationship. We are all part of the wonderful community of Claremont and work hard to be good and valuable neighbors. We are hopeful that the end result of this current dispute will be a win-win situation for all our institutions.

Blessings,

Rev. Dr. Kah-Jin Jeffrey Kuan
CST President

Feel free to get in touch with my office jkuan@cst.edu, 909-447-2552 or the Office of Advancement and Communications, Rev. Sharalyn Hamilton at 909-447-6361 or shamilton@cst.edu

July, 26 2017

On Wednesday, July 26, 2017, Willamette University leaders made a daytrip to Claremont, California to meet and talk with Claremont School of Theology staff, faculty, and Board of Trustees members. Dr. Steve Thorsett, President, and Carol Long, Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, spent the day taking questions, listening, and discussing what our future partnership may mean.

Thorsett and Long made the trip three weeks after CST and Willamette announced a possible partnership, embedding CST within Willamette University. (Read the original announcement here).

“We are in the due-diligence phase of this process,” explained Rev. Dr. Kah-Jin Jeffrey Kuan, CST President. “This is a crucial time. We agree that it is wise to move deliberately, meticulously, and make sure we have a relationship we can support for many decades to come.”

Meanwhile, CST formed four task forces – Academic, Facilities, Finance, and Governance – made up of seven representatives from faculty, the board, and executive leadership. All groups report to Dr. Andy Dreitcer, task force coordinator.

“The task forces are busy gathering input from many sources for wise, well-informed recommendations within the next two months,” added Dr. Dreitcer.

July, 6 2017

Salem, Ore. and Claremont, Calif., July 6, 2017 – Willamette University President Steve Thorsett and Claremont School of Theology (CST) President Jeffrey Kuan announced Monday that the two schools would begin the due diligence process to explore moving and embedding CST within Willamette University on its campus in Salem, Oregon.

“Willamette and CST are both excellent schools with much in common – a focus on quality, and a mission to educate students and prepare them for lives that contribute to and transform their communities,” said Thorsett. “Embedding CST at Willamette is an exciting opportunity to bring CST’s progressive approach to theological education to the Northwest, strengthen both institutions and support Willamette’s role as a liberal arts university with strong graduate programs.”

“CST is experiencing a period of enrollment and programmatic growth – and an opportunity to become part of Willamette has the potential of sustaining and supporting this momentum,” said Kuan. “I believe CST’s world-class faculty and our approach to theological education – with people of many faiths learning and living side-by-side – is an excellent addition to Willamette’s own dynamic community.”

The two institutions see a number of opportunities in partnering that would use the expertise of their faculties, as well as add to the experience of students.

  • Embedding CST at Willamette adds curricular and co-curricular programs for undergraduate students, and creates expanded options for graduate study.
  • Some of CST’s graduate programs could also pair with Willamette’s existing graduate programs – a graduate school of management and a college of law – as well as deepen coursework, research and connections with Willamette’s faculty and students at all levels of study.
  • Embedding also allows CST to reduce overhead, more efficiently address the rising costs of higher education, and focus on student scholarship rather than maintaining an aging campus. Moving from Southern California gives CST the resources to continue their programs in Oregon and contribute to shared overhead costs.

The Schools are working on a timeline for the due diligence process, and faculty, staff, students, and alumni from both institutions are expected to be able to connect with one another and share experiences as part of the process.

More information about the potential partnership is available on CST’s website at https://cst.edu/update-from-the-president/

About Willamette University:

Willamette University is a nationally renowned private liberal arts university based in Salem, Oregon and founded in 1842 as the first university established in the western United States. Today Willamette enrolls approximately 2,600 students in its undergraduate College of Liberal Arts (CLA) and in its two graduate schools, the College of Law and the Atkinson Graduate School of Management. The University is recognized for providing students with a challenging, exciting, and engaging classroom experience and a strong emphasis on sustainability, civic engagement and place-based learning.

About Claremont School of Theology:

CST traces its roots to the 1885 founding of Maclay College in California’s San Fernando Valley. The School is celebrating 60 years in Claremont, California, offering graduate level programs, including Master of Art, Masters of Divinity, Doctor of Ministry and Ph.D. degrees in religion and practical theology. CST is fully recognized and approved as one of thirteen official theological schools of The United Methodist Church, with close relationships with other Protestant denominations, especially the Disciples of Christ and United Church of Christ, the Episcopal Church, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America – as well as interreligious partnerships with Bayan Claremont, an Islamic Graduate Institute; Academy for Jewish Religion, California; and University of the West (Buddhist).

Dear Alumni/ae and Friends, I am writing to share with you the latest information regarding our efforts to secure Claremont School of Theology’s future.

As you know, we are facing serious financial challenges due, in large part, to the maintenance costs associated with our aging campus and the rising cost of higher education. To insure CST’s mission not only survives, but thrives, your executive leadership team, board members, and faculty have engaged in preliminary conversations with Willamette University, based in Salem, Oregon.

On Thursday, June 22, the Executive Committee of Willamette’s Board of Trustees endorsed moving forward with a due diligence process to determine if such a partnership to embed CST within Willamette would be financially mutually beneficial. The following day, CST’s Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees voted in favor of initiating the process as well.

This process takes time and we are in the very early stages. We will share a timeline as the process unfolds over the next several months.

During our preliminary conversations with Willamette, it became apparent that embedding CST within Willamette provided a number of interesting opportunities to strengthen both institutions.

  • Willamette University is also United Methodist in origin and affiliation.
  • Its core commitments mesh nicely with CST’s commitment to create a difference for the world we live in, such as:
    • Pursuing academic excellence in teaching, research, and student learning
    • Fostering a diverse, vibrant, and intellectually stimulating learning and social community
    • Preparing global-minded students for meaningful lives of professional achievement and civic contribution
  • A partnership with Willamette has the potential of expanding academic programs at both institutions – including dual degree programs and even joint degree programs with Willamette’s current graduate schools (Atkinson Graduate School of Management and the College of Law), as well as coursework for Willamette undergraduates.

CST and Willamette leadership are working on a timeline for the due diligence process, which will include exploring the feasibility of maintaining a vital CST presence in Southern California. Faculty, staff, students, and alumni from both institutions are expected to be able to connect with one another and share experiences as part of the process.

Also, we have revised our list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) in anticipation of your interest and will continue to do so as this process moves forward. The FAQs are attached here and are available on the “Update from the President” page on our website.

Thank you for your love, prayers, words of support, and continued loyalty to CST as we determine what is best for the School. Blessings,

Rev. Dr. Kah-Jin Jeffrey Kuan
CST President

May, 26 2017

At a time when Claremont School of Theology is experiencing its greatest success, we are facing our greatest challenge.  Our spring 2017 enrollment of 414 students is our largest in the last 35 years.  At CST’s Commencement 2017 ceremonies, I had the pleasure of sharing the School’s most recent accomplishments with our newest alumni/ae:

The Class of 2017 is CST’s largest-ever graduating class. Nearly 80 students received their degrees.

CST also graduated its first class of Hybrid/Online students. We committed to offering a distance learning option just three years ago and now it’s our fastest growing area of interest.

Even while educating more leaders than ever in our 60-year history, because of our financial challenges, our leadership and Board of Trustees have concluded that CST cannot sustain its mission in its current location. We have been diligently exploring many options toward financial stability and a thriving mission and have come to the conclusion that CST’s best path forward may include relocation.

We are working hard to create a new and sustainable model for educating our future leaders who will create a difference for the world we live in. We know that the world needs our voice now more than ever, as evidenced by our rising enrollment.

We acknowledge that any change to our beloved CST will cause discomfort. We ask you to make this courageous journey toward a new vision with us. We will keep you posted on plans and possibilities. Other seminaries are facing this dilemma, too. What gives us an advantage is our world-class faculty, our approach to theological education – people of many faiths learning and living side-by-side – and our Hybrid/Online degree offerings.

We will keep you posted when we have solid plans to announce and will host a series of Town Hall/Conference Call events. We ask for your prayers, your presence at informational meetings, and your continued financial support.

Blessings,

Jeffrey Kuan

P.S. Feel free to get in touch with my office jkuan@cst.edu, 909-447-2552.
If you would like to help us financially, call V.P. Rev. Sharalyn Hamilton at 909-447-6361 or shamilton@cst.edu

Dearest Students,

We are looking forward to your arrival on the Claremont School of Theology campus in a little more than one month. Since we last wrote to you in June, Pres. Kuan and CST’s Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees have made additional decisions to secure CST’s sustainable future. We are writing to update you on the latest developments.

Under the direction of our president and executive committee, CST has entered into discussions with Willamette University in Salem, Oregon as a potential partner in securing CST’s future through embedding. We have entered into a due diligence process to determine if such a partnership to embed CST within Willamette would be financially mutually beneficial.

Attached here, you will find Pres. Kuan’s letter to all CST supporters and friends – faculty, staff, students, alumni/ae, and donors – along with an updated list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). We have asked many of the questions you are likely pondering. At this time, partnering with Willamette University provides CST the opportunity to not just survive, but thrive.

This process takes time and we are in the very early stages. As this potential embedding process unfolds, we will share more regarding what matriculation at Willamette would look like. No matter what physical form CST takes, our students – on-campus, hybrid, and online – will be well cared for. Any full-time student who begins a program in Fall 2017 should be able to finish coursework in Claremont, California. As an institution of higher learning, we follow the laws set forth by the Department of Education to ensure that arrangements are always in place so that all enrolled students can either complete the course of study or transition to a mutually agreed course at no disadvantage to the student.

As we have emphasized in previous communications: You remain at the center of all of our evaluations, conversations, and considerations. Your needs and concerns are consistently examined in every possible decision. You will be kept apprised of any developments as they come about. We are committed to providing you, our students and prospective students, with the quality education, exceptional faculty, and opportunities that you have come to expect from a world-renown theological school.

If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact the following offices at any time:

Deans’ Office
Dean Sheryl Kujawa-Holbrook  SKujawa-Holbrook@cst.edu
Dean Belva Brown Jordan  BJordan@cst.edu
Lea Appleton  LAppleton@cst.edu
Christine Whang CWhang@cst.edu

Admissions
Murad Dibbini  MDibbini@cst.edu
Nathan Araujo  NAraujo@cst.edu
Allura Davis  ADavis@cst.edu

Communications
Kim Edwards
KEdwards@cst.edu

Advancement
Sharalyn Hamilton
SHamilton@cst.edu

Thank you for your time and we look forward to seeing you soon!