Map by Dan Williams
During the discernment process about coming to Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary as president, I was asked if I would be open to the prospect of a portion of the campus property being sold at any point. I did not know what was behind the question, but I knew that if the facts aligned that I would be open to it.
The campus is beautiful, situated between two parks laid out by the famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. At times, it’s tough to see where one ends and the other begins.
The first time my beloved and I came onto campus, we saw what I call the army of lawnmowers cutting grass. It made me wonder very quickly what lawnmowers have to do with mission.
A land sale was not a fait accompli at all, but it took a short time to put the pieces together. It was a good time for us to reconsider what the implications were of continuing to expend significant dollars in places that were not going to fully prepare persons for ministry in the ways that we have indicated we want to do as a Presbyterian seminary.
It was also a matter of stewardship. With the sale of almost half the campus to the Olmstead Parks Conservancy, the land will remain protected. We tried as best we were able to make sure to act with care and compassion for the earth – and care and compassion for our seminary community.
Rev. Dr. Alton B. Pollard III is president of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. This is an edited version of an interview on the subject. The interview can be found here.