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Forming Leaders, Living in Community, Serving the Church and the World 

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Degree Spotlight

Anglican Studies Program

Through courses and co-curricular offerings in Anglican history, theology, liturgy, and polity, the Diploma in Anglican Studies prepares students for ordination in the Episcopal Church.

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Your gift to VTS is a powerful force for good in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion: forming leaders, strengthening the Church, touching the lives of people in need of God’s love, and providing resources for ministry around the world. VTS relies on gifts of all sizes, and you play a vital role in sustaining our mission and ministry.

VTS at a Glance

Students

216

Total Alumni

3,288

Courses

77

Global Impact

For 200 Years, Virginia Theological Seminary has been at the forefront of international Anglican witness and education. The Center for Anglican Communion Studies is an integral part of that witness, making available scholars and scholarship in the service of a reconciling intercultural Anglicanism.

We equip the international community of Anglicans and Episcopalians by hosting conferences, providing consultations, and supporting partnerships and projects with churches and theological institutions.

Explore CACS

Visit Our Campus

The Welcome Center offers visitor information, guest house check-in, maps for a self-guided campus tour, and a relaxing and friendly meeting area for our community, complete with fresh coffee and internet access. It is the first stop for visitors, including prospective students, looking to orient themselves to the Holy Hill.

Visiting VTS

Countdown to 200

Founded in 1823, Virginia Theological Seminary is celebrating the bicentennial with a look at our first two centuries. Recognizing the grace as well as the sin, this continuously updated timeline is a terrific resource for the history of not just VTS or The Episcopal Church, but of 200 years of faith in America.

1823

First class of Virginia Theological Seminary.

The initial fourteen seminary students begin the year with classes taught by the Rev. William Wilmer at St. Paul’s, Alexandria. The Rev. Reuel Keith, first professor, and students soon relocate to rented quarters at the corner of King and Washington streets.

1849-51

Liberian students.

At the request of the Rt. Rev. John Payne (VTS 1836), the first bishop of the Missionary District of Liberia, three Grebo men, Musu (English name: John Minor), Bidi Wah (G.T. Bedell), and Ku Sia (Clement F. Jones), train for ordained ministry at Virginia Theological Seminary. They are welcomed into the home of and supported by Professor May and his wife, Ellen, in a foreign, segregated land while so many Africans, and those of African descent, remain in bondage. Musu, Bidi Wah, and Ku Sia are the only students of African descent to study at VTS for 100 years.

1861

VTS and the Civil War.

With the Civil War imminent, and officials in Alexandria warning of skirmishes locally, the campus is vacant of faculty and students by the end of May. Professor Packard recollects thinking the conflict would end shortly so he simply locks the door and leaves all his family’s possessions in place, falsely assuming they’d still be here upon return. Professors Sparrow and Packard attempt to continue schooling in Staunton, Virginia while the student body slowly dwindles as they go off to support the war effort.  

1916

Joseph DuBray, 1st Native American Indian graduate.

Only the second known Native American Indian to enroll at Virginia Theological Seminary, the Rev. Joseph DuBray is the first to receive his degree. 

DuBray returns to South Dakota and ministers to the Lower Brule Mission for the entirety of his career. He is the only identifying Native American Indian to attend VTS for the next 100 years.

1954

John Walker graduates VTS.

A year to the day after the merger with BPDS, John T. Walker graduates from VTS.  Walker goes on to become Suffragan Bishop, Bishop Coadjutor, and eventual Diocesan Bishop, as well as Dean of National Cathedral.

1959

First woman graduate.

Entering as a transfer student in 1958, Marian Smallegan graduates in 1959.  Women are not yet formally admitted to the degree program, but are admitted on special, case-by-case basis.  Not a candidate for ordination, Smallegan is ultimately an Associate Professor of Nursing at UNC Chapel Hill. She is awarded a Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa, in 1989.

1974

Philadelphia Eleven.

Frustrated by the lack of action of the 1973 General Convention and unwilling to wait for 1976, eleven women and three retired bishops defy canon law. On July 29, 1974, at the Church of the Advocate in Philadelphia, eleven women, including Allison Cheek (VTS 1969) and Nancy Hatch Wittig (VTS 1974) are ordained to the priesthood. Four more women, including Betty Powell (VTS 1972) are ordained in Washington, DC on September 7, 1975.  These ordinations force the Church’s hand and women’s ordination to the priesthood and episcopacy is finally approved during the 1976 General Convention.

2010

Immanuel Chapel fire.

On Friday, October 22, at 3:55 p.m., the 1881 Immanuel Chapel is destroyed by fire. The heart of VTS for 129 years, Immanuel Chapel was the spiritual home for generations of Alexandria residents, as well as students of Episcopal High School. The Chapel was fully engulfed in flames when the first fire crews arrived, destroying the majority of the stained glass windows, including a large iconic window underneath the words “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel.” Fortunately, no one was injured.

Four years after the fire, the consecrated remains of the 1881 Chapel are dedicated as the Chapel Garden, serving as a peaceful spot for contemplation, for prayer and worship, and as the final resting place for some community members.

2015

The consecration of the new Immanuel Chapel.

Following a successful capital campaign, Virginia Theological Seminary consecrates a new home for worship on October 13, 2015 in front of over 1000 attendees. Serving in attendance was Archbishop of Canterbury the Most Rev. Justin Welby, and the three most recent presiding bishops, the Rt Rev. Frank Tracy Griswold III, the Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, and the Most Rev. Michael B. Curry. Designed by Robert AM Stern architects in New York, this award-winning, and LEED-certified, “Chapel for the Ages” features stunning artisan woodwork from mid-Atlantic and global artisans.

Immanuel Chapel (YouTube video)

2019

Reparations.

On September 9, 2019, Virginia Theological Seminary announces the formation of the first-ever initiative in higher education to issue reparations. The first in the United States, the program looks to find descendants of enslaved persons and those who worked on the campus during the Jim Crow era, as well as recognize local Black congregations. 

More about Reparations at VTS.

Reparations Program (YouTube video)

2021

President Joseph Biden visits VTS.

On Tuesday, April 6, the Hon. Joseph R. Biden, the 46th president of the United States, visited the campus of VTS  as part of a visit supporting an initiative to host vaccination clinics in faith centers. In early February, the Seminary invited Neighborhood Health to use Immanuel Chapel as a venue for a COVID-19 vaccination clinic. In his visit, the President took the opportunity to thank the Seminary for their willingness to partner with Neighborhood Health. He met Dean Markham and Marty Wheeler Burnett, D.Min., acting associate dean of the chapel. The President also took the opportunity to meet some of the community members visiting Immanuel Chapel for their COVID-19 vaccine.

1823
1849-51
1861
1916
1954
1959
1974
2010
2015
2019
2021