Update: The Sale of Fuller Seminary’s Pasadena Campus

An update on Fuller Theological Seminary’s status regarding the sale of its Pasadena property…


Dear Fuller Community,


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Earlier today the board met in an urgent session to discuss the surprising turn of events last week when the buyer for the Pasadena property withdrew. As promised, we are updating you with new developments, knowing that not all questions can be answered.

For many months now, the trustees, administration, faculty, and staff have been working hard on multiple initiatives whose common purpose is to put Fuller on a far more focused path to a flourishing future. While there is much positive momentum, we have met major challenges to the reset for future sustainability. Since formulating our original Pasadena to Pomona move, several things have dramatically changed, including: the buyer we’ve been working with since January has dropped out owing to decisions made by the City of Pasadena, and construction costs for the Pomona campus have escalated significantly.

What are the immediate options?
The Executive Committee of Trustees, senior administrators, and the Real Estate Task Force set in motion immediately to establish two scenarios that we presented this morning to the board for review and final decision in October: (1) pivot to a combination of Pasadena/Houston/Arizona/virtual campus distribution or (2) delay but proceed with the Pomona/Houston/Arizona/virtual option.

There are strong cases for both scenarios which can be discussed in future meetings (including next week’s special employee meeting); however, there are practical measures we must enact immediately in any case, which will include the sale of properties outside the “core” of the Pasadena campus.

The Executive Committee and Administration will deliver to the October Board meeting a strategic plan and fully informed recommendations for a long-term campus strategy with all of these new developments considered. Those scenarios include:

Scenario 1: Pomona/Houston/Arizona/Virtual
The board’s original vision was a Spirit-led one that had the short and long-term future firmly in view. The decision to leave Pasadena as a strategy for establishing long-term sustainability was and is still necessary for Fuller’s viability. The original vision for Pomona is bold, mission-centered, and future thinking. We must determine a location that will best support Fuller’s future.

Scenario 2: Pasadena/Houston/Arizona/Virtual
Our original vision was a good one, but fundamental changes require a major reboot. In this scenario, we keep a portion of the Pasadena campus and split our operations with Houston, Phoenix, and virtual offices offering near-term financial benefits, avoiding escalating construction costs and the disruption associated with building a new campus.

In the next two months, we will engage the research and due diligence necessary to evaluate these scenarios for board consideration in October to determine the direction that we will pursue.

Conclusions for Now
As we wrestle with all of this, it is easy to get overwhelmed. It is important to remember that our overarching goal is to create a new and better Fuller—we are continuing to move forward on that path. There is much good news, there are many ways in which Fuller is strong, and we must remember that God is with us. Whatever scenarios the board finally approves, we will make Fuller stronger with these initiatives:

  • Simplify, streamline, and better integrate our degree programs and schools
  • Scale Fuller’s students, faculty, staff, and facility size to projected demand
  • Eliminate our operating deficit to work with a balanced budget
  • Pay off our debt
  • Reduce the cost of living for many in the Fuller community
  • Create faculty, staff, and educational environments better tuned to the 21st century
  • Raise financial resources for Fuller’s long-term benefit

Yours in Christ,

Mark

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