The Urshan Story
Urshan College and Urshan Graduate School of Theology are named in honor of Andrew D. Urshan and Nathaniel A. Urshan, whose ministries represent a century of global Apostolic Pentecostal leadership. Andrew Urshan, an Assyrian immigrant from Persia to the United States, was the prototypical Oneness pioneer. His hunger for God led him from mainline Protestantism through the Holiness Movement to Pentecostalism. He then carried the gospel across North America, established the first Pentecostal churches in Russia, and pastored in New York City. In the mid-twentieth century, his son Nathaniel Urshan preached camp meetings across North America that were significant in the expansion of Oneness Pentecostalism. After pastoring one of the most influential churches in the movement, Nathaniel Urshan served as the general superintendent of the United Pentecostal Church International from 1978 to 2001.
In April 1998, Timothy Dugas, a pastor in suburban St. Louis, Missouri, initiated a committee to explore the formation of the first UPCI-owned seminary. From 1998 to 1999, various committees developed a proposal for the UPCI General Board. In 1999, the UPCI General Conference in Nashville, Tennessee voted to establish Urshan Graduate School of Theology.
The UGST board of directors held its first meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, in January 2000, choosing Nathaniel A. Urshan as chancellor, Jesse F. Williams as board chair, and David K. Bernard as president. The board of directors and the president installed the founding faculty for the first semester in August 2001: Raymond L. Crownover, James A. Littles Jr., David S. Norris, and Gerald L. Truman. In 2010, UGST earned full accreditation with the Association of Theological Schools, a national accrediting commission for seminaries.
Under the ownership of the UPCI Missouri District, Gateway College of Evangelism began offering classes in 1968 in the St. Louis area. In 1971, the Bible college purchased a campus that had formerly been St. Stanislaus Seminary, the oldest college campus west of the Mississippi River. A portion of this campus was rented to UGST when it began operations in 2000.
In October 2011, the UGST board of directors and the UPCI General Board approved a plan for UGST to acquire Gateway College and use it to establish a new undergraduate Christian college. Under this plan, the college would offer a variety of majors in addition to ministry and would seek regional accreditation. After months of collaboration between the boards, administration, faculty, and staff of both institutions, the transition from Gateway College to Urshan College was completed on July 1, 2012. In 2014, UC and UGST established the Urshan Collegiate Support Organization and, through this corporation, officially acquired the Florissant campus in 2015.
In the summer of 2018, the Urshan System attained the status of Candidate for Accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission, a regional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Candidacy is the final step before initial accreditation and provides many of the benefits of full accreditation.
In the fall of 2018, the Urshan Board voted Rev. Brent Coltharp, D.S.L. as System president and voted to acquire a 40+ acre campus property in Wentzville, Missouri. The Urshan System began the 2019-2020 academic year on the Wentzville campus.