“We are God’s children and co-workers with Him in bringing the blind to see, the lame to walk; and in setting at liberty those in bondage, whatever the nature of that bondage.”
John Malcus Ellison, Tensions and Destiny, 1953
The Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology (STVU) is the graduate theological school of Virginia Union University. Formally established in 1941 as the School of Religion, STVU’s origins extend back to the founding of the university as the Richmond Theological Institute in 1865. STVU is named after the late Samuel DeWitt Proctor (1921-1997), alumnus and former president of Virginia Union University, and distinguished pastor, scholar, educator, and civic leader.
Grounded in the rich traditions of African and African American religious life and culture, STVU emphasizes inclusive intellectual excellence, transformative spiritual growth, and faithful service to the church and world.
The nearly four hundred STVU students come from diverse personal and professional backgrounds, but share a common quest—to uniquely and authentically answer their call to Christian ministry. In so doing, STVU graduates are distinguished for their signature contributions to the church, the community, and the world.
Since its establishment, the following individuals have served STVU as dean: Richard I. McKinney (1941-1944), Samuel M. Carter (1948-1950), Samuel DeWitt Proctor (1950-1955), Allix B. James (1955-1970), Miles Jones (1970-1973), J. Deotis Roberts (1973-1976), Paul Nichols (1976-1982), Henry H. Mitchell (1982-1986), and John W. Kinney (1990-2017). The current dean is Corey D. B. Walker, who began serving on July 1, 2017.
For over 75 years, STVU has remained steadfast in its commitment to Christ, church, and community in preparing students for faithful Christian ministry and service in a diverse world.
Rev. Dr. Steven Blount, Chairman
Rev. Shavon Arlene-Bradley
Dr. Rosalyn Brock
Dr. Kim Brown
Dr. Iva Carruthers
Dr. Joseph Crockett
Dr. Frederick Haynes, III
Rev. Dr. Cheryl Ivey Green
Congressman A. Donald McEachin
Dr. Rudolph McKissick, Jr.
Bishop Alfred Owens, Jr.
Dr. Jeffrey Spence
Dr. Gina Stewart
Delegate Luke Torian
Dr. Howard John Wesley
Rev. Dr. Darrell White
Dr. Vernon C. Walton
Bishop Melvin Williams, Jr.
Dr. Andrew J. White
The Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology is accredited by the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada, and the following degree programs are approved:
Master of Divinity
Master of Arts A in Christian Education
Doctor of Ministry
The Commission contact information is:
The Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States
10 Summit Park Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15275
Statement of Institutional Effectiveness
As a center of excellence we strive to be faithful to our mission and purpose and our entire community
assesses regularly the quality and character of our educational ministry. All programs have established
learning outcomes that are reviewed through varied assessment instruments which measure and shape
the delivery and quality of the learning experience at STVU.
In the past five years our retention rate has ranged from 94.5% - 99.5% with a current rate of 95.81%.
Within a three year period 91.1% of our enrollees earn the M.Div degree. Students express a high level
of satisfaction with instruction, services, spiritual formation, and the community life. Three areas of
significant development among students are noted: interpretation and application of scripture,
critical/public theological thinking, and conduct of worship/ liturgical practice. As our students graduate,
83.5% of them have employment in some expression of ministry.
Engaging in the theological enterprise at STVU is exciting and challenging and your presence and
participation in our community of reverent scholars is welcomed.
The mission of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology of Virginia Union University is:
The Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology is located in Kingsley Hall on the historic campus of Virginia Union University, a premier historically black liberal arts university. Built in 1899, Kingsley Hall forms one of the original “Noble Nine” gray granite buildings commissioned by the American Baptist Home Mission Society and designed by New York architect John Hopper Coxhead. The exterior of Kingsley retains its Romanesque Revival architectural style while the interior has been extensively remodeled and technologically upgraded to house the University’s graduate theological school.
The capital city of Richmond, Virginia combines the amenities of a big-city with the charm and feel of an intimate community. Founded in 1607, Richmond is perched on hills overlooking the James River and is rich in natural beauty, historic sites, and artistic, cultural, educational, and religious institutions. In addition to Virginia Union University, Richmond is home to Virginia Commonwealth University, the largest urban public research university in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the University of Richmond, a top ranked private liberal arts university. Also calling Richmond home along with the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology are the members of the Richmond Theological Consortium – Baptist Theological Seminary in Richmond and Union Presbyterian Seminary. The constellation of diverse universities and seminaries makes Richmond a unique location for graduate theological education.
Opportunities for cultural enrichment abound in Richmond – from the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia located in the historic Jackson Ward district of Richmond to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to the symphony, opera and ballet companies, numerous dinner theaters and performing arts centers. Situated just two hours south of Washington, DC and an hour from historic Jamestown and Colonial Williamsburg to the east and Charlottesville to the west, Richmond is a hub to some of our nation’s most treasured and revered locales.
Richmond provides a full range of opportunities for ministry and training in ministry. The promises and problems of a diverse, multi-faceted, and constantly evolving urban environment provides a rich matrix of issues which demand a theologically creative, ethically just and culturally responsive ministry. Indeed, Richmond offers a rich heritage of African-American and African diasporic history and culture that critically forms and inform graduate theological education at STVU.
Throughout its life, the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology has been a covenanting seminary with its founding denomination, American Baptist Churches, USA. In addition, four other corporate Baptist bodies contribute to various facets of the institution: Lott Carey Baptist Foreign Mission Convention; National Baptist Convention of America; National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.; Progressive National Baptist Convention; and National Missionary Baptist Convention of America.
The nearly four hundred students of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology represent a diverse range of personal, professional, and religious experiences. A truly intergenerational body, range in age from the early 20s to late 60s and is almost equally split between male and female. The majority of students reside in Virginia and surrounding Mid-Atlantic States.
STVU is a constitutive and cooperative member of the three seminary Richmond Theological Consortium (RTC) and the ten seminary Washington Theological Consortium (WTC). The RTC and WTC provide a uniquely rich living and learning experience for both faculty and students.
Student life at STVU is characterized by informal encounters such as impromptu conversations in Kingsley and student led study groups, worship services, and other activities add to the intensity and diversity of activity in student life.
Each STVU student is a member of the Theologue Fellowship. The Theologue Fellowship exists “to promote the spirit of unity within the school community and to strive for spiritual and intellectual excellence.” Members of the Theologue Fellowship endeavor to both study with seriousness and seek to be involved in the intellectual and spiritual development of the life of STVU and the RTC and WTC Consortiums. The Theologue Fellowship pursues a balanced approach to reflection and action in contributing to growth of each member. Payment of annual dues is a responsibility of STVU students.
The Theologue Fellowship, in cooperation with Coordinator of Graduate Student Services, sponsors Community Formation Hour twice monthly (every second and fourth Friday) during the academic year. Community Formation Hour is marked by candid and critical discussion of theological and practical issues on the cutting edge of ministry in our contemporary world. Guests include faculty, STVU graduates, pastors, community leaders and others are invited to share with students.
Worship is essential in the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology community. Each worship experience provides a unique opportunity for members to experience diverse worship practices and theological beliefs while supporting the spiritual and professional formation and development of others. Students are required to attend a weekly Chapel services in term. Chapel services are conducted on Wednesdays at 9:30am and Saturdays at 8:30am during fall, winter, and spring terms.
The Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology assists students with career ministry development and placement. STVU circulates resumes upon request, offers recommendations for professional development, and locates opportunities for ministry beyond requests received from churches and church-related organizations. Faculty denominational liaisons help students navigate the ordination process and vocational discernment. In addition, faculty and religious leaders provide an essential link between STVU and religious and nonprofit institutions.