PSR’s 154th commencement celebration and theme, “Never Going Back: Breaking Wide, Rising Forward,” beautifully captured our mission at this critical time and our excitement as we look towards the future. We have risen together to the realities of pandemic, protest, and polarization, and are filled with a new sense of hope and a renewed energy for what the future holds for our impact in the world. Over the last year, we have fully adapted our learning and expanded our reach and diversity—all while staying true to the outstanding preparation that is a mark of a PSR education.
This fall, we will have the best of both worlds: we will reopen our campus and welcome students and partners to our campus hub on Holy Hill, while continuing outreach through fully remote degrees, webinars, and new programs. Anchored in Holbrook Hall, our campus will be a model for the future of theological education–a thriving, diverse, and intergenerational space. After years of thoughtful discernment and planning, we are reducing our footprint, improving the properties we retain, and sharing our campus with partners who embody our values and support our mission to create a world where all can thrive.
We are genuinely excited to share about two of those partnerships. We have entered into an agreement with Berkwood Hedge School to lease on-campus space beginning in fall 2021 to open Berkwood Hedge Middle School. Founded in 1946, Berkwood Hedge School was the first racially integrated school in Berkeley. Their program centers on a commitment to social justice and preserving the environment as they encourage children to think critically and become creative problem solvers. Like PSR, they are a community that sees strength through diversity of all types, including cultural, ethnic, racial, learning style, economic, gender, and family structure. This move to the PSR campus will allow Berkwood Hedge School to expand their program from serving elementary school-age children to include early adolescent learners. Berkwood Hedge Middle School will begin operating in the chapel building this coming fall and then expand into D’Autremont the following year. The agreement includes Berkwood Hedge School’s commitment to make necessary investments in improving both properties. We are also finalizing a significant renovation of the Seely Mudd building, which is being leased by UC Berkeley’s Fung Institute. We look forward to welcoming them to campus and to the collaborations with them around their mission of “creating inclusive leaders who solve the world’s problems through innovation, technology, and collaboration across boundaries.”
Holbrook Hall will continue to serve as PSR’s centerpiece of student life and will accommodate classrooms, chapel, flexible programming spaces, and faculty and administrative offices. By careful discernment about our facility needs, we are reducing our footprint and using resources to invest in technology that creates access to our education from anywhere in the world, while also investing in improvements to our campus buildings, including our two student residential halls.
As we move forward, we honor PSR’s rich legacy, while also transforming our facilities to best serve our renewed sense of direction and mission. PSR’s legacy was formed in defining moments and it’s time to be unafraid and reinvent our story for a new world, for a new day.
Rev. Dr. David Vásquez-Levy, PSR President