I decided to visit Princeton Theological Seminary (PTS) kind of on a whim. A friend of mine has done some post-grad stuff there, but I don’t think finished. Also, its important to point out that the seminary is distinct from the Ivy League College at which Nash and Einstein were faculty. I will say, though, that beside my friend, Greg Boyd also did some studies there and has really gotten a good perspective on things that I am interested in. Furthermore, I have been staying in Camden, NJ for the last several weeks, and Princeton is just a Riverline train ride up there (it’s less than 5 bucks to get all the way up there). I would have been dumb not to at least poke my head up there. Also, PST is a Presbyterian seminary, which is the denomination I attended all throughout high school, so there’s that too.
I sent an email asking about times to visit, and I got a response within a few hours and an appointment the following day. That was impressive, but also because despite being in the summer term, I was able to score a campus tour by one of the M.Div students there over the summer for language courses. I spoke with the admissions crew first, getting some sweet informational stuff that looked promising. After that meeting, I found my way to the bookstore, which was flippin’ awesome! So, for those who don’t know me too well, I totally covet books. At the PTS bookstore, I found an 85% off sale, so I walked outta there with at least 6 books for only $12 and some change, including a book I have been eyeballing for over a year now for under $3. So that was a plus.
After stocking my backpack full of titles, I took the tour with another couple of visiting prospective students. We had lunch together in the cafeteria, which had some surprisingly sumptuous selections for being in the middle of the summer. Great questions were asked, and I got the feeling that the guide really wasn’t trying to ‘sell’ the school, which I got from a few other places (I won’t name names though). After stuffing our faces, we went around campus, going in dorms, touring buildings closed for construction, and checking out the largest theological library after the Vatican. PTS, like Union, is a residential campus, with a vast majority of students living in dorms or campus housing. You would think that after many years in barracks in the Army, I would be over the whole dorm experience, but I think I recognize how unifying it can be.
One thing I really liked was the social life on campus. The students do Theology on Tap, create cigar clubs with cheesy smoking jackets, and other clique-y things that seem fun. The professors also live in housing around the campus, including two houses a stone’s throw from one of the dorm buildings. The tour guide described how students would just go right into the professors’ studies and hang out. She didn’t see that as a good thing, but from my standpoint, that’s exactly where I want to be in 20 years! Students feeling welcome to just come on in and jabber about theology, ethics, changing the world, you know, the basics. If there was one thing that really stuck out, it was the community feeling on campus, even during the summer, it was evident with the small number of kids there for language courses. I left PTS with a much higher regard than I expected to find there, to say the least.