A Unitarian Divinity House will be established at the Divinity School as a part of its program of total renovation. This will be the first official connection of the School or the University with any denomination.
George H. Williams, action dean, stated last night that the house would probably be Divinity Hall, originally built by the Unitarians and now used mostly for a dormitory. The plan for a Unitarian House was first made in the confidential O'Brian Committee report on the Divinity School printed in 1947 but just released this week.
The Committee reported that the historic relationship of the Divinity School to the Unitarian Churches requires some institutional recognition. The school as a whole, however, will reaming non-denominational and the way will theoretically be open for similar organizations to be set up for other denominations. No specific date is set for the House's opening.
It will be assigned the solicitation and administration for the education of Unitarian ministers and the placement of graduates in Unitarian churches. The House will be under the leadership of an administrative officer, a Unitarian professor, who will be directly responsible to the Dean of the School.
The O'Brian report cites the advantage of such a system as relieving both the University and the Unitarians from their present amorphous relationship. Throughout the Schools' history, although it has been nominally non-denominational, it has been generally regarded as a training center for Unitarian ministers. Practically all the private funds given the School prior to the current fund drive have come from Unitarians.
Under the arrangement in existence for over 15 years, students at the Divinity School here have been able to take course interchangeably with the Episcopal Theological Seminary, Boston University Seminary (Methodist), and the Andover-Newton Seminary (Congregational). But the Unitarian arrangement will be the first official, on campus tie-in with a denomination.
The Committee also recommended establishment of a graduate faculty in religion here directly in charge of studies leading to the Th.D. and Ph.D. degrees. They suggested that this be done in connection with the afore-mentioned Boston schools. Those members of the faculties of these affiliated institutions who have made particularly valuable contributions to scholarship might be recommended for membership in the faculty through an inter-institutional faculty committee.
A comprehensive survey of religion at Harvard appears on pages four, five, and six of today's issue.