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Claremont School of Theology Considers Move to Willamette University

Dear CPS Members and Supporters,

Many of you will have heard the news that Claremont School of Theology and Willamette University have begun the due diligence process to explore moving and embedding CST within Willamette on its campus in Salem, Oregon. 

With an aging campus and the rising cost of higher education, CST is running a budget deficit. Many free-standing seminaries are experiencing this same problem. One way of ensuring a healthy future is to embed in a like-minded university. While there are many advantages to a partnership between CST and Willamette, among the most important is that embedding would help provide long-term institutional sustainability for CST, and ensure the continuation of its mission. For more information, see here.

Many of our members and supporters are asking how this move, if it occurs, will affect the Center for Process Studies. No doubt, any changes to CST will have a significant impact on CPS. While no final decisions have been made, and all the details remain to be worked out, in initial discussions the faculty Co-Directors have expressed their desire that CPS remain a Center of Claremont School of Theology.

We believe there will be a number of advantages for the Center should CST embed within a larger University. From our inception in 1973, CPS has always been transdisciplinary in nature. Over the years, we have actively promoted work in philosophy, education, psychology, cultural studies, art and beauty, and the natural sciences. This is reflected by our diverse library resources, conferences and events, and publications. As such, I believe that an affiliation with a liberal arts university (like Willamette) could be mutually beneficial; strengthening the missions of CPS and Willamette.

Would the move mean that CPS would no longer have a Southern California presence? Again, there is no formal decision to announce. But the faculty Co-Directors and I feel that it is important for CPS to continue its connections with Southern California members, with universities and religious institutions in SoCal, and with Pilgrim Place. In fact, fighting against the fallacy of simple location, we are already working to expand CPS activities and partnerships beyond Claremont (or anywhere the main CPS office might be located). In the next year alone, we have an upcoming conference at Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, winter plans for an event at Drew University in New Jersey, events in China, Korea, the additional activities through the new "Widening the Circle" Project of CPS in Arkansas (to name a few). We are also in the midst of digitizing our library/archive materials, which will be made available to members via the CPS website. In short, we are already in the midst of becoming the kind of Center for which the location of our main office and administration is less and less relevant. As such, the possibility of relocation can be seen not so much as a loss of our Claremont home, but as an opportunity for growth and expansion--keeping our Claremont roots, and establishing new roots elsewhere.

Yet transition is always difficult, and in this time of transition we will need your support more than ever. There are significant costs associated with relocation, and maintaining an active presence in Claremont (and beyond) will increase expenses. The Co-Directors and I are convinced that the impact of the Center will be greater than ever, but we need your help. Donations can be made using the link below.

We will keep you informed as we gain further information. Thank you for your support over the years that has allowed us to expand and thrive in this way.

Sincerely,

Wm. Andrew Schwartz
Executive Director
Center for Process Studies

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