Princeton, NJ, August 16, 2013–The Henry Luce Foundation has awarded Princeton Theological Seminary a grant of $1.5 million to expand the Seminary’s Theological Commons, a project to develop a digitally connected global library of theological resources. The grant is one of the foundation’s 75th Anniversary Grants.

Princeton Seminary has taken a leading role in the creation of digital resources for shared knowledge and learning by creating the Theological Commons in 2012, a free public digital library of more than 75,000 books on theology and religion. The project has been designed from the ground up with students, pastors, and theologians in mind, and it will establish partner relationships with theological libraries and communities in North America, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. It has the capacity to offer sufficient resources to enable study for a theological degree in countries where such resources are too costly to acquire. Although it is powered by advanced technology, the purpose of the Commons is simple and straightforward: to make religious resources in multiple media easily accessible to researchers worldwide. 

As both the Luce Foundation and Princeton Theological Seminary celebrate the anniversaries of their founding (the Seminary celebrated its Bicentennial Year in 2012), it is fitting that a project of strong mutual interest offers both institutions the opportunity to support the expansion of theological scholarship on a global scale. Princeton Theological Seminary received the grant announcement with gratitude and with the commitment to offer a program that will honor the mission of both institutions. 

Separately and together, both the Luce Foundation and the Seminary have provided strong leadership for the Christian church in the world. 

The Seminary prepared Henry Winters Luce for his work as a missionary in China (he graduated from Princeton Seminary in 1896), a ministry he pursued for 30 years (1897–1927). The Luce Foundation, established in 1936 in honor of his parents by the missionary’s son, Henry Robinson Luce, has provided the Seminary with an endowed professorship, collaboration in developing the now independent Center of Theological Inquiry, numerous fellowships, and the launch of the Seminary’s Asian American Theology Program. And the late Henry Luce III, grandson and son of these accomplished men, served on the Seminary’s Board of Trustees for 35 years, lending his energy and leadership in the 1990s in the Seminary’s campaign to build a library for theological research.

Recognizing the commitment of the Henry Luce Foundation “… to encourage the development of religious leaders through theological education,” Princeton Seminary president M. Craig Barnes values the partnership expressed in this gift. “We are deeply grateful for the Luce Foundation’s generous support of our mission,” he said. “Together we are committed to providing excellent theological education and service to scholars and religious leaders here and around the world.”

Dr. Michael Gilligan, president of the Henry Luce Foundation, remarked, “In awarding the Seminary one of our few 75
th anniversary grants, the foundation’s board of directors noted that the Theological Commons represents a convergence of this historic relationship with 21st-century innovation, bringing the best of traditional scholarly resources to new audiences through current technology. With a major grant to support the development of the Theological Commons, the Henry Luce Foundation is honored to support Princeton Theological Seminary’s pioneering efforts in scholarship and service.”

Princeton Theological Seminary, founded in 1812, is the first seminary established by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church. Its mission is to educate leaders for the church of Jesus Christ worldwide, and its more than 500 students and 11,000 graduates from all fifty states and many nations around the world serve Christ in churches, schools and universities, healthcare institutions, nonprofit agencies, initiatives for social justice, mission agencies, and the emerging ministries of the church in the twenty-first century.

For further information
contact: Barbara A. Chaapel, Director of Communications/Publications, tel: 609.497.7760.