Davidson’s Religious Heritage

Students on Chambers Lawn

Davidson’s church affiliation is part of our heritage. Davidson College was founded by Presbyterians, and to this day we maintain a formal voluntary affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). However, defining what that means is more complicated than it sounds.

Our religious heritage is not just part of our history. Much of what we cherish about Davidson today—our strong sense of honor and integrity, our extraordinary dedication to leadership and service, and our fundamental commitment to academic inquiry and openness—is, for many, shaped by our close and strong ties to the Reformed Tradition, and specifically to our Presbyterian heritage.

Similarly, Davidson is strongly and passionately committed to inclusivity. This commitment is driven in no small part by our grounding in the Reformed Tradition, which upholds the dignity and worth of every person and therefore values members of the community who come from a different or no religious tradition. We enroll, admit, and employ the most talented students, faculty and staff from all backgrounds. This commitment is central to who we are.

During the recent presidential search, some members of the Davidson family pointed out an apparent tension between our commitment to inclusivity, which draws strength from our Presbyterian affiliation, and the presidential bylaw, which restricts by religious affiliation eligibility to the office of the President.

At that time, the Trustees made a commitment to undertaking a thorough and thoughtful discussion of this important question as part of their periodic review of the college bylaws. That process began in January 2012. More information can be found below.

The trustee committee examining this issue invites your comments; e-mail talk@davidson.edu.

Statements on Presidential Election Bylaw and Church-Relatedness

Additional Links and Information