Mission & History
Drew University’s mission is to offer its diverse community of learners a challenging and individualized education shaped by a deep-rooted culture of mentoring, thoughtful engagement with the world beyond its campus, and a steadfast commitment to lifelong cultivation of the whole person. Through its distinctive emphasis on the reciprocity of knowledge, experience, and service, Drew prepares its students to flourish both personally and professionally as they add to the world’s good by responding to the urgent challenges of our time with rigorous, independent, and imaginative thought.
Drew was established in 1867 as a seminary with a gift of $250,000 from Daniel Drew, Wall Street financier and steamboat tycoon. The gift included the Madison, New Jersey, property known as The Forest, which has served as the school’s campus ever since. Drew Theological Seminary, as it was then known, was the antecedent of today’s Drew Theological School, which empowers creative thought and courageous action through programs such as its Doctor of Ministry in Public Theology, Master of Divinity, and Social Justice Leadership Project.
In 1928, an unexpected $1.5 million gift from brothers Arthur and Leonard Baldwin led to the addition of an all-male undergraduate college, aptly named Brothers College. The college became coeducational during the 1940s, was renamed the College of Liberal Arts in the 1950s, and grew significantly in the 1960s. In 1980, it was granted the fourth Phi Beta Kappa chapter in New Jersey. The school now offers unique and nationally ranked programs in professionally mentored scientific research, Theatre Arts and Political Science and International Relations, and seven semesters in New York City.
A graduate school, which is devoted to advanced study in the humanities, opened in 1955. A gift of $5 million from Trustee Barbara Morris Caspersen G’91 and her husband, Finn, in 1999 resulted in a new name for the school: the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies. It offers degrees in fields such as medical humanities and history and culture and in professional programs such as a Masters of Arts in Teaching, Master of Science in Data Analytics, Master of Science in Finance, and Master of Education.