Atop a hill in Berkeley, a Lutheran seminary stood for 65 years before making the move to a downtown building. Now the same site will be home to a Muslim college.
California Lutheran University has sold the 10-acre property on Marin Avenue where the school's Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary once operated to Zaytuna College.
Zaytuna, a liberal arts college that launched its undergraduate program in Berkeley in 2009, plans to expand and develop its first master's degree program and work toward joining the Graduate Theological Union at the new site, according to a news release from CLU.
The Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, one of seven seminaries of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, had moved to an office building in downtown Berkeley this summer. According to the release, the new location allows students to work more closely with the surrounding community and the sale of the former site will contribute to the seminary's long-term financial sustainability.
"We are delighted that the property is going to another nonprofit, faith-based educational institution," Chris Kimball, CLU president, said in a written statement. "We are also pleased that Zaytuna is committed to preserving the campus and its buildings as neighbors had wanted."
Zaytuna is the only Muslim liberal arts college in the United States and aims to educate students to become "morally, intellectually and spiritually accomplished persons who, having been rigorously trained in the Islamic and Western scholarly traditions, are ready to interact with and shape modern society by the light of principles that transcend it, being motivated constantly by the intention of finding the extent of human wisdom," according to the news release.
"We are humbled and honored by this beautiful display of interreligious cooperation," said Zaytuna President Hamza Yusuf in a written statement. "The Lutheran community built and maintained this lovely campus, and has seen fit to entrust us with its next chapter, and we intend not to disappoint them. We will honor the intentions of its founders, whose expressions of love and excellence in service of the sacred remain manifest across the campus."