Historical Overview

As early as 1830, Baptists in Nova Scotia, Canada established a “department of pious scholars” at Horton Academy in Wolfville (founded 1828) for ministerial training. With the founding in 1838 of what became Acadia University, preparation for ministry was carried on under various formats until the School of Theology was put on a more formal footing in 1923.

After Acadia University was reorganized in 1966, the Baptists of Atlantic Canada began to operate the School of Theology under the name Acadia Divinity College, and on June 1, 1968, the College was established by an act of the Nova Scotia Legislature.

Today, the College exists as the official seminary of the Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada (CBAC), functioning within its evangelical tradition, and continues as the Faculty of Theology of Acadia University. The University awards all of our degrees. All of our graduate degrees are fully accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada.

While we are a Baptist seminary, we recognize that the Church of Jesus Christ is much larger than our own church affiliation and so we welcome men and women from all church backgrounds. Currently, the College has students from more than 20 denominations.


1828 |   Baptists in Nova Scotia founded Horton Academy

1830 |   Department of Pious Scholars was formed at Horton

1838 |   The Nova Scotia Baptist Educational Society established Queen’s College at Horton

1841 |   Queen’s College became Acadia College

1844 |   A Theological Department was formed at Acadia

1891 |   Acadia College became Acadia University

1923 |   A School of Theology was organized at Acadia

1966 |   Atlantic Baptists surrendered majority control of the Board of Governors of Acadia University

1968 |   Acadia Divinity College was established as a body corporate in affiliation with and located on the campus of Acadia University, but governed by a Board of Trustees composed of members of churches in Fellowship with the United Baptist Convention of the Atlantic Provinces

Historical Reflection through the College’s Principals and Presidents


In the early nineteenth century, ministerial education for young people was of great concern for Baptist leaders as institutions imposed religious restrictions on faculty and students. Baptists in the Maritimes feared their young men would go to the United States to study and never return. This concern was expressed by a group of devoted Baptist women who walked from Nova Scotia’s south shore to Horton (now Wolfville) to support the vision of a local college for young people to gain academic training for Christian ministry.

In 1828, a 65-acre parcel of land was purchased and Horton Academy was established. In October of 1838, Baptist leaders met at Nictaux, the site of the largest Baptist Church in the Maritime colonies, to pray about this issue. They resolved to establish a Baptist college where all people would be free to work and study. Queen’s College was approved by the Nova Scotia Baptist Education Society and classes began in January 1839 with two professors, Rev. Edmund Crawley and Rev. John Pryor, and twenty-one students. After Queen Victoria expressed displeasure at having her name associated with an institution founded by ‘dissidents’, it was renamed Acadia College. Its 1841 charter highlighted the primacy of religious tolerance. Although the founders believed in the universality of education, it was not until 1880 that women were admitted to the College.

Struggling financially in the mid-nineteenth century, the United Baptist Convention of the Maritime Provinces offered assistance. Through the action of the Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly, control of the College was transferred to the Convention. In 1891, Acadia College became Acadia University and a year later, the Bachelor of Divinity was approved. Over thirty years later, in 1923, the School of Theology was established. From this time forward, Acadia has prepared the majority of Atlantic Baptist students for ministry.

By the 1960s, Acadia was the only existing Baptist University in the British Commonwealth. In 1964, a committee was created to assist Convention in re-examining its philosophy regarding Christian higher education. It reaffirmed the founders’ educational philosophy and recommended that faculty be Christians. However, the Executive of Associated Alumni submitted a request for governance changes to the Nova Scotia Legislature, and, in 1966, the Legislature amended the University’s Act of Incorporation. It divided control of the University between the Convention, the Associated Alumni and the province. The Board of Governors and the Convention reached an agreement whereby a Divinity College, operating under the auspices and direction of the Convention, would assume responsibility for the academic training previously carried out by the School of Theology. Within five years, a building was to be erected and as long as it remained on campus, the College agreed to hold in abeyance its right to award degrees independently. All degrees would be granted by the University on the recommendation of the Senate of Acadia Divinity College to the Senate of the University.Beginnigs

On June 1, 1968, Acadia Divinity College was established as a separate corporate entity governed by a Board of Trustees under a charter by the Legislature. The creation of the College meant theological education, while closely linked to the University, would more directly relate to the people in the churches of the Convention. A special ceremony was held on August 31, 1968, to mark the establishment of the Faculty of Theology as a separate but affiliated Divinity College.

Strong leadership and direction were critical to carrying forward the optimism and spirit of friendship to the future relationships between the University, the College and the Convention. The joint efforts of Drs. Millard Cherry and Abner Langley paved the way for the institution.

Principal Millard R. Cherry

Originally from Kentucky, Dr. Millard R. Cherry served as pastor at several southern Baptist churches. In 1957, he was offered the position of Professor of Systematic Theology at Acadia, where he also later served as Acting Dean of Theology (1963-1964) and the Dean of Theology (1964-1971) before becoming the first Principal of the College. His academic expertise was key as he expanded a faculty that was academically accomplished and reflected the theological stance of the church. Cherry (as he became affectionately known) was as an able administrator and recognized the wisdom in staying affiliated with Acadia University. He trusted the leadership of the University in representing the College’s interests during funding discussions with the province.

Dr. Cherry’s contribution to theological education in Canada was recognized by honorary Doctor of Divinity degrees from Pine Hill Divinity School, McMaster Divinity College, and Acadia University. Dr. Cherry retired in 1987 but continued serving the College for another year. He loved Acadia and believed in faculty members’ support for the students and their endeavours. In recognition of his many years as a zealous supporter of varsity teams at Acadia University, Dr. Cherry was inducted into the Acadia Sports Hall of Fame in 2011.

Principal Abner J. Langley

Dr. Abner J. Langley, Associate Principal and second Principal of the College, was ordained in 1935 and served as pastor at churches in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. He was also President of the Atlantic Baptist Convention (1951-1952) and a member of the Acadia University Board of Governors (1952-1967). In 1961, an honorary Doctor of Divinity was conferred to him by Acadia.

In 1968, at the request of the Board of Trustees, Dr. Langley became the Associate Principal and Special Lecturer in Practical Theology. He had wide support in the Baptist community because he had studied at Acadia, had helped establish the United Baptist Bible Training School, sat on the Acadia Board of Governors when the Legislature divided control of the University, and helped found the Baptist Federation of Canada.

When Principal Langley retired in 1975, he remained at the College to serve as Director of Continuing Ministerial Education and Director of Finance and Fundraising. He ensured the College operated without a deficit during his tenure. At the time of his retirement, the College was debt free and the student body had doubled in size. As a fitting tribute to the retiring Principal, the Student Association recommended that the assembly room be named “The Abner J. Langley Assembly Room”.

Building a Facility, a Faculty, and a Curriculum 

In 1968, the newly-established College faced challenges including a building project, hiring faculty, curriculum revision, and reducing tuition. Dr. Cherry believed these challenges were affecting enrolment and action was needed. In 1969, the Board of Trustees reduced tuition for the Bachelor of Divinity program which helped make the College more competitive. During Dr. Langley’s first year he focused on recruiting students, raising funds, and building a network of friends of the College. He and Dr. Jarold Zeman, the newly-appointed Professor of Church History, worked at strengthening denominational ties. Within ten years, the majority of new Baptist pastors were Acadia graduates.

The trend toward smaller numbers of students enrolled in pre-theology at Acadia University led the College to begin recruiting in other areas, such as Western Canada, New England, and overseas. The College’s first responsibility remained to the Baptist churches of the Atlantic Provinces. However, the culture and contribution of students from outside the region enriched the overall student experience. During this period, student leadership was also formalized through the creation of the Acadia Divinity College Students’ Association, which represents students’ interest to the administration, the Board of Trustees, the Acadia Divinity College Senate, and the Acadia Students’ Union.

During the early years, the School of Theology met in rooms in the University Hall, and then in 1959 took over Sawyer Hall, the former home of the Rev. Dr. A.W. Sawyer, president of Acadia University between 1869 and 1896.  Sawyer Hall was situated between University Hall and the Vaughan Memorial Library, near Manning Memorial Chapel. When the College became a separate corporate entity, the Governors of Acadia University leased a campus site for a new building to the Board of Trustees for ninety-nine years. During its first year, the Acadia Divinity College Campaign raised almost half of their goal of $350,000. They soon reached almost $280,000 in gifts and pledges through a campaign among Convention churches, the United Baptist Women Missionary Union (UBWMU) and individuals. With these gifts and $100,000 held by the University in a fund, the College was assured the successful completion of the new building. A sod-turning ceremony took place on August 30, 1969, excavation began on March 13, 1970, and the building was dedicated on October 20, 1970. Although theological education had been an integral part of Acadia University since 1838, the new Divinity College building was the first facility built especially for theological training.

Drs. Cherry and Langley also worked diligently at building a faculty. Joining Dr. Earl Merrick, Head of the Department of Practical Theology and Dr. Morris Lovesey, Professor of Biblical Studies, was Dr. Allison Trites, as Professor of New Testament. With Dr. Cherry as Professor of Systematic Theology and Dr. Langley as Professor of Homiletics and Pastoral Ministry, only the Church History and Christian Education positions remained. Dr. Jarold Zeman, from Czechoslovakia, came highly recommended for the Thomas James Armstrong Memorial Professorship of Church History. A distinguished scholar who had been a pastor, served the Convention of Ontario and Quebec and became President of the Canadian Baptist Federation in the 1970s, Dr. Zeman was also an articulate evangelist. Dr. Langley recruited Dr. Oliver Ohsberg, a North American Baptist, as Professor of Christian Education. Dr. “O” was a strong supporter of Christian education in the church.

The curriculum included traditional courses in Biblical Studies, Biblical Languages, Theology, Church History, Homiletics, Practical Theology and Christian Education. A strong demand from the constituency called for an even greater effort in extension work outside Wolfville, and in the early 1970s, an urgent need for a program of field supervision became apparent.

Acadia was the first university in Canada to offer credit in the field of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) through courses offered by the Institute of Pastoral Training and delivered by the College faculty. Dr. Charles J. Taylor, recognized for his pioneer work and the first to lecture in the field of CPE, was instrumental in establishing the first program in Clinical Pastoral Training at a Canadian federal correctional institution. Along with several students, Dr. Taylor also initiated Kairos marathons, a ministry that tends the spirituality of the incarcerated.

Many theological schools in the United States were pressing for a doctorate to be the first professional theological degree. As a compromise measure the American Association of Theological Schools, the accrediting body for theological seminaries in the United States and Canada, approved the Master of Theology as the first professional theological degree. On recommendation of the Acadia Divinity College Senate, the Senate of Acadia University voted in 1972 to replace the Bachelor of Divinity with the Master of Divinity as its first post-undergraduate professional theological degree and the degree was awarded for the first time that year.

Principal Harold L. Mitton

Dr. Harold L. Mitton was the third Principal of Acadia Divinity College and Dean of Theology for Acadia University.  He earned a Bachelor of Arts at Acadia University in 1944, a Bachelor of Divinity in 1946, and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity in 1966.  Following ordination, he served Baptist churches in Aylesford and Windsor, Nova Scotia; Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island; Fredericton, New Brunswick; and, Calgary, Alberta.

While in Calgary, he was approached to consider the position of Principal, which he accepted in 1975. During Dr. Mitton’s tenure, several key initiatives enhanced the reputation of the College. In 1983, Acadia Divinity College became fully accredited with the Association of Theological Schools in United States and Canada (ATS). Dr. Mitton also strengthened the relationship between the College and Acadia University, as well as between the College and the Convention. He also served two terms on the Acadia University Board of Governors, including a term as a faculty representative of the University.

Dr. Mitton was highly effective in weaving together his academic leadership with church leadership. His ministry career included service as President of the Atlantic Baptist Convention (1960) and the Vice-President of the Baptist Federation of Canada (1968). In 1971, Dr. Mitton was appointed to the Canadian Baptist Overseas Mission Board. He was highly regarded as a church statesman and sought out as one of Canada’s finest preachers.

Broadening Academic Offerings

In 1976, Acadia Divinity College responded to a pressing need for trained personnel in Christian education by introducing a two-year program leading to a degree of Master of Religious Education.

In 1979, the inaugural Simpson Lectures were introduced, underlining the importance of preaching to the pastoral office. Mr. Gerald K. Simpson of Fairhaven, Deer Island, New Brunswick, established an endowment to finance an annual series of lectures on the practice of ministry prepared primarily for students, pastors, and spouses.

In 1980, the Faculté de Théologie Évangélique in Montréal became affiliated with Acadia University with the Baccalaureat en Theologie (BTh) being awarded by the University. This new venture worked well and provided theological training for Baptists in Québec.

The Bachelor of Theology and Master of Divinity programs were the heart and soul of the College curriculum. However, Dr. Mitton believed that the curriculum should also include courses of a practical nature. As the school developed, so did the importance of clinical education and training. In 1980-1981, a pilot project of Supervised Field Education allowed students to directly test their vocational commitments by combining theory and practice in a church setting. Also, a two-year Master of Arts (Theology) in the areas of Biblical Studies, Church History, Theology, and Psychology of Religion was introduced in the same academic year.

During Dr. Mitton’s leadership, a generous gift from Marjorie and Sheldon Fountain in 1983 was made to Acadia Divinity College to establish the Marjorie and Sheldon Chair in Evangelism and Mission, the first of its kind in Canada. Dr. Andrew MacRae was the first occupant of this Chair.

Dr. Mitton was also concerned about the lack of women enrolled in the seminary and spoke on the floor of Convention, calling for an expanded role for women for ministry. The College appointed Dr. H. Miriam Ross, a former missionary with the Canadian Baptist Overseas Missionary Board, as the first full-time female faculty member. Dr. Ross’ appointment was the turning point for women’s studies at the College. In 1985, the Hannah Maria Norris Chair of Christian Missions and Social Issues was established by the United Baptist Woman’s Missionary Union, and Dr. Ross was the first occupant of the Chair.

When Dr. Mitton retired as Principal in 1985, he was granted Professor Emeritus status and became Director of Supervised Field Education. During his tenure, the College played a significant role on the Canadian Baptist scene in the Atlantic Provinces and across Canada.

Principal Andrew D. MacRae

A native of Scotland, Dr. Andrew D. MacRae was ordained in 1957 and called to urban ministry. He was well known as a Baptist pastor, preacher, leader and evangelist, and in 1966 was appointed General Secretary and Superintendent of the Baptist Union of Scotland. Dr. MacRae served extensively in Europe and the Soviet Bloc, working with the Baptist World Alliance and preaching, teaching and leading conferences in more than 50 countries on every continent. In recognition of his work, he received a Doctor of Divinity from the Campbellsville University in 1979.

In 1979, Dr. MacRae received an invitation from Acadia Divinity College to establish the first Chair of Evangelism and Mission in Canada. Between 1980 and 1985, he served as Professor of Evangelism and Mission. He then served as Principal and Dean of Theology at the College from 1985 to 1998. During his time in Canada, Dr. MacRae earned his Doctor of Philosophy from St. Andrews University in 1984 and received an honorary Doctor of Divinity from Acadia University in 2004.

In retirement, he served as Director of Doctoral Studies, the Sheldon and Marjorie Fountain Professor Emeritus of Evangelism and Mission, and Liaison for Hong Kong Ministries. In honour of his valuable leadership and in recognition of his global impact and lifelong commitment to evangelism and mission, the Andrew D. MacRae Centre for Christian Faith and Culture was established in 2016.

Notable Milestones

In 1985, the College was finishing its two-year probationary membership with Association of Theological Schools in United States and Canada (ATS). Within months of Dr. MacRae becoming Principal, an examining team from ATS reviewed the status and the College received an accreditation for five years, the longest term available at the time. This was a strong affirmation of the high academic standing of the College.

In 1989, the Doctor of Ministry program was established. It broadened the ministry and helped to meet the challenge of balancing scholarly achievement with the College’s primary purpose of preparing people for ministry.

For more than 150 years, Acadia University was the centre of the study of Baptist history in the Maritimes. In 1991, the Acadia Centre for Baptist and Anabaptist Studies was launched under the sponsorship of the College and in cooperation with the University Library.

The Acadia University Senate approved the offering of the Master of Divinity with one of four specializations: Pastoral Ministry, Pastoral Counselling, Christian Education, and Youth Ministry. In 1996, the Master of Divinity in Pastoral Counselling was approved by the Canadian Association of Pastoral Practice and Education.

Dr. MacRae helped lead Acadia University into a new concept of an expanded international reach through affiliations with schools in Nigeria (Christ International Divinity College in 1990 and Universal Gospel Divinity College in 1994) and Hong Kong (Bethel Bible Seminary in 1997).

Perhaps Dr. MacRae’s most significant contribution to the long-term future of the College was introducing the Living Legacy Campaign, a capital fundraising project whose major component was the enhancement of the endowment for student bursaries and scholarships. The funds raised also supported the development of funds for endowed chairs, library enrichment, and building expansion. By 1997, the Campaign raised more than $3 million.

When Dr. MacRae retired in 1998, Dr. Timothy Ashley, Chair of Faculty, served for a year as Acting Principal and Dean, with Dr. Allison Trites as Acting Assistant Principal. Within the year the Board of Trustee’s Search Committee called Dr. Lee McDonald as Principal.

Principal and President Lee M. McDonald

Dr. Lee M. McDonald was ordained in the American Baptist Churches of the United States and served as both a pastor and a reserve chaplain in the United States Army. Dr. McDonald was well-respected as a scholar of New Testament studies. At the time of his call to Acadia Divinity College, he was serving as a senior pastor in California and teaching as an adjunct at Fuller Theological Seminary.

During his tenure as President, Dr. McDonald encouraged the pursuit of excellence in theological education. He believed faculty should bring practical and pastoral experience as well as academic and scholarly knowledge to their roles. Teaching and the formation of students for ministry was the highest priority and the College recognized that students would be drawn to a seminary where faculty were experts in their fields. By the end of Dr. McDonald’s tenure, the College faculty were the most published among seminary faculty in Canada.

Dr. McDonald brought both practical and scholarly knowledge to his role. In 2005, the Board of Trustees changed the title of the chief administrative officer of the College from Principal to President to better reflect the new emphasis on the role of the College in the broader context of North American seminaries.

Supporting Theological Education

The thirty-year old College building needed repair and upgrading so it received a facelift with new doors, repairs to the roof, and refurbished offices and classrooms. Most notably, the second floor became accessible with the installation of an elevator, in recognition of Dr. Dennis Veinotte’s service as Professor and Director of Clinical Pastoral Education (1984-2001).

Through the Lilly Foundation Grant received in 2001, Acadia Divinity College was leading the way in theological education and poised to become the most technologically advanced seminary in North America. By converting classrooms to “smart classrooms” with state-of-the-art technology, classroom learning was revolutionized.

In 2000, the Doctor of Ministry program was restructured and during the Association of Theological Schools accreditation in 2001, the College received high praise for the quality of the dissertations authored by Doctor of Ministry students. Accreditation was continued for another ten years.

Courses for the Bachelor of Theology program became separate from graduate courses and taught in the evenings to meet the needs of students. The courses were also opened to lay people who wished to advance their theological understanding. During this time, a graduate diploma and an undergraduate certificate program began. As the courses were transferable to the Bachelor of Theology and Master of Divinity programs, they attracted potential students.

The Youth Ministry Program was established with the support of the Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada (CBAC) and the Atlantic Baptist Foundation. Through a combination of lectures, group interaction, creative learning techniques, and individual consulting, students gained skills to shape an effective youth ministry.

Concerned about faculty and staff salaries, Dr. McDonald instituted a plan for increases which was accomplished by the end of his term. By 2007, increased enrolment resulted in bursary support per student being stretched, raising concerns about student debt levels. With backgrounds in education, finance and law, the Board of Trustees brought many skills to College governance and through their stewardship, endowments increased. By the end of Dr. McDonald’s tenure, the College was debt-free.

On June 30, 2007, Dr. Lee M. McDonald retired from the College. His years of service were marked with increased enrolment, an emphasis on scholarship and publications, and improvements to the facility, all in an environment of fiscal responsibility. He also recruited new members of faculty who were experts in their fields, including Dr. Craig Evans and Dr. William Brackney.

Upon Dr. McDonald’s retirement, Dr. Robert Wilson served from July to December 2007 as Interim President until the arrival of Dr. Harry Gardner in January 2008.

President Harry G. Gardner

Dr. Harry G. Gardner, a native of Nova Scotia’s south shore, is the first Acadia Divinity College alumnus to become President. He occupies the Abner J. Langley and Harold L. Mitton Chair of Church Leadership and teaches pastoral ministry, leadership, and Christian spiritual formation. A pastor at heart, Dr. Gardner’s passion for the development of each student as a whole person ensures confirmation in their personal calling and their preparation to serve as Christian leaders.

In the 1970s, a call to Christian ministry led Dr. Gardner to Acadia’s Master of Divinity program. Following pastorates in Nova Scotia, Dr. Gardner served as both Director of Home Missions and Church Planting and Executive Minister of the Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada (CBAC). During this period, he completed a Doctor of Ministry at Fuller Theological Seminary on church renewal and evangelism. He also served as President of the North American Baptist Fellowship in 2007.

Dr. Gardner’s involvement with the CBAC as well as his international leadership with the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) and the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS) have ensured that students and alumni are at the leading edge of theological education.

New Curriculum and Course Delivery

In 2010, under Dr. Gardner’s leadership, the College undertook a complete curriculum review to address rapid changes in ministry. Degrees were modernized by introducing new courses and specializations. This was the first curriculum renewal since the founding of the College in 1968. In 2011, ATS approved the Master of Divinity, Master of Arts (Theology), and Doctor of Ministry degrees and granted another 10-year re-accreditation of the College. In 2012, the Doctor of Ministry curriculum was changed to permit greater flexibility and variety in course selection.

At the same time, a significant change was underway in theological education across North America. Individuals called to ministry became less inclined to relocate and study full-time, preferring, instead, to remain in their ministry context and complete courses alternatively. In response, the College created a system allowing part-time and distance students to complete programs without relocating. Several one-week intensives were added, and three-times-weekly courses were changed to once a week in a 3-hour timeframe, especially for students driving in from the Halifax area. In 2010, in partnership with the Atlantic Baptist Foundation, the College launched the New Brunswick extension program, introducing 3-weekend courses. In 2013, an agreement was signed between Acadia University, Acadia Divinity College, and Crandall University allowing students to earn concurrently a Crandall undergraduate degree and an Acadia Bachelor of Theology degree. The first graduates of this partnership were in May 2018.  In 2015, the College partnered with NAIITS: An Indigenous Learning Community (formerly North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies) to offer the Acadia Master of Arts (Theology) in Indigenous Community Development program. The first student graduated on May 14, 2017.

Centres of Excellence

The Acadia Centre for Baptist and Anabaptist Studies was established in 1991. During Dr. Gardner’s tenure, two additional centres of excellence were launched: the Charles J. Taylor Centre for Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care and the Andrew D. MacRae Centre for Christian Faith and Culture.

The Taylor Centre reinvigorated the College’s emphasis on chaplaincy for which the College had been nationally recognized. It fosters and promotes clinical and theological excellence in Pastoral Care through personal growth, the building of professional capacities, and rigorous theological reflection.

The MacRae Centre was launched during the 2016 Simpson Lectures Week and is integral to the work of Acadia Divinity College in preparing Christian leaders to think more deeply on matters of faith and witness. The Centre provides a reliable setting for people to explore the intersection of faith, vocation, and realities of a shifting cultural landscape.

Strategic Plan and Priorities

Developed from the recommendations of the self-study conducted for the 2010 ATS accreditation review, a five-year strategic plan was approved by the Board of Trustees in 2012.  The life and function of the College were examined internally, and focus groups within the Atlantic Baptist constituency provided an external view of the College. The plan focused on four themes: transformative experience for students; effective faculty and staff; stable and reliable resources; and good governance.

The College also launched Now More Than Ever: Four Strategic Priorities: a fundraising initiative to refurbish the College building, increase endowments for key academic chairs, increase student scholarships and bursaries, and secure an endowment for a Centre for Christian Faith and Culture.  Each priority confirms the vital role of the College in Canada’s spiritual life and its contributions to global ministry.

The Board of Trustees recognized the increased role of the President for major gift development and leadership to the Now More than Ever: Four Strategic Priorities. As a result, the Board appointed Dr. Anna Robbins as the first Vice-President in May 2016 for a three-year term to support the leadership of the College during this time.

Since August 2014, the College has raised more than $4 million towards these priorities, including the first fully endowed academic chair of Acadia Divinity College, The John Gladstone Chair of Preaching and Worship through the generous support of The W. Garfield Weston Foundation together with the Atlantic Baptist Foundation and individual donors in four Canadian provinces.


Acadia Divinity College has a long and rich history. It began with the establishment of a “department of pious scholars” at Horton Academy in 1830 to the founding of Acadia College in 1838, and moved from the School of Theology of Acadia University, established in 1923, to its reorganization as Acadia Divinity College in 1968. Acadia Divinity College has been served well by its Principals and Presidents as well as the many devoted faculty and staff who have given much of themselves to serve the students, as they answer the call of God in their lives.

Equipping Christians to serve has always been at the heart of Acadia Divinity College. The Master of Divinity and ordination-track Bachelor of Theology degrees have prepared hundreds of alumni who are serving Christ in local churches, inner-city missions, Christian camps, prisons, military, hospitals, and a multitude of mission ventures and service organizations. The Master of Arts (Theology) opens doors to further study and many Acadia graduates are teaching in colleges and seminaries throughout the world, providing training for the next generation of Christian leaders. The Doctor of Ministry program provides renewal and renewed vision to those involved in ministry, touching many denominations and ministries internationally.

The faculty of Acadia Divinity College provides leadership both locally and internationally, achieving a worldwide reputation for excellence in research, scholarship and providing leadership education for the church. Their reach is wide and deep, encouraging students – who represent more than 20 denominations and 30 ministerial vocations worldwide – to study at ADC. Through their graduates, Acadia Divinity College touches the lives of many, as alumni serve communities locally, nationally, and internationally.

With a deep sense of mission, Acadia Divinity College continues to teach and model that faith is crucial and relevant and that rigorous theological study makes a difference. The College is grateful to the many individuals, churches, and organizations that have given generously over the years enabling ADC to better educate and prepare men and women for leadership for Christian ministry in Canada and around the world.