At its opening convocation ceremony on September 9, McCormick Theological Seminary greeted one of the most diverse junior classes in its history, a group of 60 new students differing widely in Christian tradition and racial-ethnic identity, in particular. As in recent years, this year’s profile is a product of McCormick’s efforts to recruit a student body representative of the broader Church and called to serve in an array of ministry settings.
Approximately 37 percent of the class holds membership in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), with an additional 14 percent coming from non-U.S. Presbyterian denominations. The remainder of incoming students is split among Baptist traditions (13 percent), non-denominational students (10 percent), Pentecostal (7 percent), United Church of Christ (5 percent), and seven other denominations.
The seminary continues its upward trend during the last several years of matriculating a racially diverse student body. Compared to last year, the percentage of incoming African American students held steady at one-third of the class, while European American students comprise 30 percent of the class. Korean international students rose to 11, or 18 percent, while Latin@ and Asian American students together make up 11 percent of the class.
Supporting this increasingly diverse student body, which numbers 154 at the master’s level, are two new degree programs. The two-year M.A. in Discipleship Development is designed to deepen students’ grasp of and facility for the practical arts of ministry such as teaching, leading worship, hospitality and spiritual formation. The M.A. in Urban Ministry, also a two-year degree program, is for those seeking to serve an urban congregation or church-related organization and require a deeper capacity for social analysis, ethical reflection, and community organizing skills.