Fuller Theological Seminary announced plans last week to sell its 70-year-old Pasadena campus and move to a new location in Pomona by 2021.
The decision followed several downsizing efforts, including shuttering three of its eight satellite campuses last summer and reducing degree options at two other campuses.
“In the last few years we have been through meticulous financial excavation, budget scrutiny, and painful cuts as we’ve navigated an increasingly challenging and disrupted higher education landscape,” wrote Fuller President Mark Labberton in a letter released May 22.
“Trustees, senior leadership, faculty, staff, students and friends of Fuller spent months in due diligence and fasting and prayer, convinced that theological education is just as necessary for this new era as ever, but knowing we must take bold risks and have a bold vision in order to transform.”
Labberton said the move will help the college immensely.
Fuller anticipates that selling its 13-acre property and moving to Pomona will improve its financial standing by boosting its endowment, eliminating all debt and streamlining resources. “Our home for the last 70 years will make our home for the next 70 years possible,” said Labberton.
Founded by evangelist Charles E. Fuller, host of the radio broadcast “Old Fashioned Revival Hour,” Fuller Seminary opened in 1947 with just 39 students enrolled. Today, more than 1,200 students are enrolled in the college.
So far, a price has not been set for the campus. City officials said they were not interested in purchasing the land, but they have asked Fuller to participate in discussions with prospective buyers.
About a decade ago, officials with the seminary sold three dorm buildings with a total of 172 rooms for $24 million. In 2015, Carmel Apartments announced plans to raze the buildings and construct fewer and more expensive units. Students were offered less than $1,000 in relocation fees. The incident prompted the City Council to change its Tenant Relocation Ordinance.
Several members of the Fuller community praised the move on social media.
“Although I hate to see them leave their beautiful campus in downtown Pasadena, it is good and courageous to make a painful decision today in order to thrive in the future,” said Mark Wilson, an alumni who now teaches at Southern Wesleyan University.