University to reunite with Trinity Lutheran Seminary after 58 years

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The board of trustees approved a resolution to reunite Capital University with Trinity Lutheran Seminary on Monday, Nov. 7, after 58 years of separation. Trinity’s board had approved the measure earlier in the month.

In a joint message released shortly after the resolution’s passage, Capital President Beth Paul and Trinity President Rick Barger wrote, “We believe that together, we can best educate and equip change agents with moral, intellectual and spiritual compass required for meaningful lives, purposeful careers and transformative ministry.”

Presidents Paul and Bragner said the reunion will allow the institutions to focus on four key strategies: increasing revenue from gift and grant opportunities; increasing enrollment through the creation of new academic and interdisciplinary programs; optimizing the use of property, buildings, and other physical assets; and integrating operations and reducing redundancies.

The two institutions began together in the summer of 1830 with the founding Ohio’s first Lutheran seminary. It was not until 1850 that the university was officially chartered.

While still part of the same institution, enrollment for the seminary became separate from the university under President Otto Mees (1912-46) in order to help shed the perception of Capital as a “preacher factory.”

In 1959, the newly formed American Lutheran Church directed the two institutions to separate completely. What became known as the Evangelical Lutheran Theological Seminary merged with Hamma Divinity School to form Trinity in 1978.

Trinity was conducting a search for a new president prior to the announcement, but the search is now halted.

Presidents Paul, Bragner and their respective offices will work to develop a specific reunion plan with the help of a transition team. The plan will then need to be approved by the boards of both institutions. The process is expected to be concluded in the summer of 2017.

A document of frequently asked questions is accessible to members of the university community at


Photo by Steven Bustos

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