Jeannette Early of Dallas, Texas, has made a $2.5 million gift to Union Theological Seminary and Presbyterian School of Christian Education in Richmond, Va. It is the largest contribution the seminary has ever received from an individual.
The gift will launch the renovation of the former library on the seminary campus to become an advanced center for teaching, learning, and worship.
In gratitude, Union-PSCE will designate the building as the Allen and Jeannette Early Center for Christian Education and Worship. Mrs. Early made the gift through a family foundation. Her husband, Allen, died in 1979. She is a 1937 graduate of the Presbyterian School of Christian Education (now Union-PSCE).
“The school means so very much to me, it gives me joy to think about students who will study in this building for generations to come. I am very grateful to the Lord who blessed us so much that we could be generous to Union-PSCE,” she says.
Built in 1897, the former library is one of the original buildings on campus. The renovation will convert it into a technologically advanced classroom building with a new chapel for worship, public lectures, and courses on preaching and leading worship. Faculty offices will be located near the classrooms, encouraging interaction between students and professors. Classrooms will be fully equipped to use electronic resources and to promote distance education with local congregations and the Union-PSCE extension campus in Charlotte, N.C.
The projected cost of the renovation is $7.6 million. The $2.5 million gift from Mrs. Early brings the total amount raised for the project so far to $5,186,685. Renovation work will begin later in 2006. The renovation project is a centerpiece of the $50 million One in Mission Campaign, which was launched publicly in November 2004. Total commitments to the campaign now stand at $41.2 million, or 82.47 percent of the goal.
“The renovation will create up-to-date classroom spaces for courses in Christian education as well as the other the core disciplines of Bible, theology, preaching and worship, pastoral care, and church history,” said Louis Weeks, president of Union-PSCE. “We are grateful to Mrs. Early for her longstanding commitment to Union-PSCE as we provide excellent theological education for those who serve and lead the church.”