Davidson College maintains a voluntary affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA), one of several denominations that are part of a broader Christian movement known as the Reformed Tradition.
This tradition, which developed through the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, has always prioritized humanistic, liberal arts education, and it affirms that institutions need to be “re-formed” over time in light of evolving cultural contexts.
Consequently, this living tradition spurs the College’s pursuit of new ways to respectfully engage current intellectual, social, and cultural realities, including our broadly diverse, pluralistic community of faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends.
As part of its ongoing commitment to educate the Davidson community about the college's relationship with the Reformed Tradition, the Board of Trustees has assembled working groups tasked with preparing a report about Davidson's historical grounding in and current embodiments of the values and perspectives of the Reformed Tradition.
2021 Working Group
The Board of Trustees assembled a working group of Presbyterian pastors and theologians, all Davidson College alumni and friends from across the generations to consider the questions:
How do we, Davidson College, as a pluralistic educational institution that welcomes and serves people of all faiths, embody our ties to the Reformed Tradition now, so that attributes that many Davidson people value can always draw strength from this Tradition? And, how can Davidson best now embody our foundational relationship to the Reformed Tradition, the Presbyterian Church (USA), and Davidson College Presbyterian Church (DCPC)?
Working Group's Report
The Board of Trustees received a draft report and met with the working group at its August 4, 2021, board retreat and received a final report, which was discussed at its October 8, 2021, board meeting.
Bob Dunham ’70, chair, pastor emeritus, University Presbyterian Church, Chapel Hill, NC; Kathy Beach ’92, pastor, Rumple Memorial Presbyterian Church, Blowing Rock, NC; Richard Boyce ’77, vice president and academic dean, Charlotte campus, associate professor of preaching and pastoral leadership, Union Presbyterian Seminary; Chris Burton ’08, director of equity and inclusion, Stony Brook School, Long Island, NY and D.Min. candidate at Union Presbyterian Seminary; Grace Cain '20, first-year student at M.Div. program, Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, GA; Chris Currie ’97, pastor/head of staff, First Presbyterian, Shreveport, LA; Lewis Galloway ’73, pastor emeritus, Second Presbyterian Church, Indianapolis, IN; Frances Taylor Gench ’79, Herbert Worth and Annie H. Jackson Professor of Biblical Interpretation, Union Presbyterian Seminary, Richmond; Bridgett Green ’00, assistant professor of New Testament at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary; Peter Henry, pastor/head of staff, Davidson College Presbyterian Church; John Kuykendall ’59, president emeritus, Davidson College; Betsy Lyles Swetenburg ’11, pastor/head of staff, Northridge Presbyterian, Dallas, TX; Doug Ottati, Craig Family Distinguished Professor of Reformed Theology and Justice, Davidson College; Art Ross ’65, pastor emeritus, White Memorial Presbyterian Church, Raleigh, NC; Rob Spach ’84, chaplain, Davidson College; Frank Spencer, president, The Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (USA), Philadelphia, PA.
2016-2017 Working Group
The board received the report of the working group, titled "Reflections on the Reformed Tradition at Davidson College" at its April 4, 2017 meeting, and discussed it then and at the August 8, 2017 board retreat.
The group membership was Ann Hayes Browning '79, Chair and Trustee Emerita; the Rev. Lewis Galloway '73, Trustee; Stephanie Glaser '92, Associate Vice President for Campus and Community Relations; Dr. John Kuykendall '59, President Emeritus; Dr. Doug Ottati, Craig Family Distinguished Professor of Reformed Theology and Justice; the Rev. Rob Spach '84, College Chaplain; and Elizabeth Welliver '16, Chaplain's Office Fellow.