Mission and History

Home > About Us > Mission and History

Our Mission and History

The Presbyterian College was founded in 1865 and its history is one of shaping transformational leaders for local congregations. Leaders who are committed to God’s mission of care for the world.

In its programs and curriculum, the College is committed to:

  • Christian scholarship grounded in rigorous academic study. Scholarship that grounds you in the Christian tradition of biblical, theological, and historical reflection.
  • Spiritual formation and character development fostered within a vital community of faith and learning.
  • The development of competencies and leadership skills for transformational leadership.

This mission and history is rooted in a dynamic and diverse faith-based community, in affiliation with McGill University, Laval University, and the Institut de Théologie pour la Francophonie. As a college in the Reformed tradition, we live out a generous orthodoxy. We welcome scholars and students from a variety of denominational backgrounds from around the world. We are also a college of The Presbyterian Church in Canada.

For more information on our current programs, click here. For an overview of the benefits of study at The Presbyterian College, click here.

Seminary in Montreal - historic library

Since 1865 the College has been preparing women and men to serve their towns, cities, and neighbourhoods as ministers and community leaders. Women and men who have had a vision to transform lives through the grace and good news of Jesus.

The College evolved from a meeting of local industrialists, educators and community leaders, led by Sir William Dawson, then Principal of McGill College—a meeting that happened at the home of John Redpath. Throughout its history, we have equipped men and women not only for ministry, but also for the enrichment of life in the Canadian and global context. Our foundational degree has been the Master of Divinity (formerly known as a Bachelor of Divinity). 

Historic Graduates

Seminary in Montreal, Graduates

Graduates have served the denomination as preachers, teachers, pastors, chaplains, and community leaders from the College’s earliest years. James Naismith, the man who invented basketball, graduated from the College. Further afield, physician and minister Andrew S. Grant, known as “Grant of the Yukon,” saw to both the body and soul of those who participated in the Klondike gold rush.

Graduates have served as chaplains, as epitomized by John Weir Foote, who served in WWII and was awarded the Victoria Cross, the first awarded to a Canadian chaplain. The College is one of the three theological colleges of The Presbyterian Church in Canada. Students benefit from an ecumenical arrangement as part of the Montreal School of Theology (MST), the oldest North American ecumenical consortium of three theological colleges: Diocesan College (Anglican), The Presbyterian College, and the United Theological College. The College is affiliated with the Faculty of Religious Studies of McGill University, which provides the College’s students with a rigorous academic program.

Participation in the missio dei

Seminary in Montreal - missio dei

In keeping with its rich legacy, The Presbyterian College develops leaders who contribute to the renewal of the church and God’s mission in the world. It accomplishes this in a dynamic community, affiliated with a top university, and in a vibrant and cosmopolitan city. As a seminary in Montreal and in the Reformed tradition, The Presbyterian College also welcomes students from a variety of denominational backgrounds.

While most of its graduates have gone on to serve congregations within Canada and around the world, others have chosen ministries in chaplaincy, politics, academia and business.