On October 11, 1871, United Theological Seminary, then Union Biblical Seminary, opened for its first classes with two full-time professors, eleven students and a few borrowed classrooms. Bishop Milton Wright, father of famed aviators Wilbur and Orville Wright, had the vision and led the way, forming this first seminary for what was then the Church of the United Brethren in Christ. Early on, women were an important part of the seminary, which first approved the admittance of women in 1873.
In 1954, the seminary merged with Evangelical School of Theology from Reading, PA to form United Theological Seminary, in what had become The Evangelical United Brethren Church, and soon after became The United Methodist Church.
Over the years, bachelor’s degrees became master’s degrees and the Doctor of Ministry degree was added. The curriculum was revised to add greater focus on practical education with field placements and a focus on individual spiritual growth in addition to academic learning. Options for online courses and week-long intensives were created to provide opportunities for students to pursue theological education from across the country, and even around the world. United has continued the spirit of innovation encouraged from its founding by Bishop Wright, ever seeking to equip and prepare faithful, fruitful leaders to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.