Our History


Universal Seminary was founded by Bishop Mathew Shaw on September 10, 1952, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was incorporated as a nonprofit Delaware corporation on that date. 

The Seminary moved to Boulder, Colorado on June 6, 1972.  The Seminary was incorporated as a Colorado nonprofit corporation and the name was changed to Universal Theological Seminary on June 13, 1994. 

U.T. S. was reincorporated on June 11, 1997, as Universal Seminary. 

The Seminary closed their classrooms in Boulder, Colorado on February 24, 1998 and moved their administrative offices to Houston, TX. Instruction since that time has been conducted over the Internet, by telephone conference calls, e-mail and audio or video recordings.

In December, 2011 the Seminary was moved to South Dakota to reduce overhead expenses. During August, 2013 the Board of Trustees terminated the remaining contracts and started a search for new leadership.

In November, 2013 the Board of Trustees appointed Benita Babeckis, Th.D. to be the president of Universal Seminary with a mandate to revitalize the seminary. Dr. Benita Babeckis serves in the role of Director of Curriculum and Dean of Faculty in her capacity as President.

Her husband James Babeckis, Th.D. was appointed to the post of Secretary/Treasurer of the Seminary and given the title of Chancellor. Dr. James Babeckis serves in the role of Dean of Students and Director of Communications in his capacity as Chancellor
.