A Message from the President


Welcome to Central Seminary. We are grateful for your visit to our website and are glad to share information with you about our history, mission, and programs. 

Founded in 1901 by Baptist leaders concerned about the need for a seminary in the Midwest, Central has sought to fulfill the purpose set forth in its charter by providing “education and training for ministers of the gospel, missionaries and teachers” and by living into our mission statement: “Preparing leaders for seeking God, shaping church, and serving humanity and all creation.”

Today Central Seminary equips students with the theological knowledge, spiritual insight, and practical skills needed to lead in an ever-changing world by cultivating an inclusive, cross-cultural community of reflection, critical thinking, and discernment. Our faculty and staff are dedicated to creating a learning environment in which students from varied ethnic, geographical, and theological backgrounds can pursue theological education that is accessible, affordable, and relevant.

While our administrative building is in Shawnee, Kansas, the seminary’s community of faculty and students extends across the nation and around the world with 9 learning sites in 7 states and with 2 international educational partnerships. Central currently enrolls 500+ students in our certificate, diploma, master, and doctoral level programs, which are offered in Burmese, English, Kachin, and Korean. Our students are scattered across 35 different states within the U.S. and in 15 countries. In recent years, our seminary has been on the leading edge of providing theological education that is inclusive of technological proficiency, and currently most course offerings are provided virtually.

Central welcomes students who desire to deepen their relationship with God, to sharpen their leadership and ministry skills sets, and to serve our world in thoughtful, compassionate, Spirit-led ways. If you are looking for a place where both faith and intellectual exploration are valued, where inclusion in a cross-cultural learning community is offered, and where service of humanity and all creation is fostered, Central is the place for you.


Pamela R. Durso


About President Pamela R. Durso

President Pamela R. Durso was appointed as the 11th president of Central Seminary in Shawnee, Kansas by the Board of Trustees in February 2020 and began her tenure on June 1 in the midst of the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. With most of the seminary faculty and staff working from home and classes confined to the zoom online platform, her first weeks as president were not what anyone expected, but the seminary community welcomed her virtually and in socially distanced ways.

President Durso holds two degrees from Baylor University, earning a B.A. degree in religion in 1983 and a Ph.D. in church history in 1992. She received a Master of Divinity degree in 1987 from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. From 2003-2009, she served as associate executive director-treasurer of the Baptist History and Heritage Society and from 1999-2003, she was assistant professor of church history and Baptist heritage at Campbell University Divinity School in Buies Creek, North Carolina. She also was an adjunct faculty member for ten years at McAfee School of Theology in Atlanta, teaching Baptist history and church history electives.

From 2009 until 2020, President Durso served as executive director of Baptist Women in Ministry, where she was a resource for women serving in all areas of Christian ministry. She has used her voice as an advocate for women ministers, calling on Baptist churches to re-imagine their futures, to re-think their leadership, and to re-create their identities.

President Durso is the author and/or editor of ten books, including The Story of Baptists in the United States, which she co-wrote with her husband Keith, and The Power of Woman: The Life and Writings of Sarah Moore Grimké, which was based on her doctoral dissertation. She has also written numerous journal articles and book chapters. The recipient of numerous awards, President Durso was presented with the Carolyn Weatherford Crumpler Leadership Alumni Award from the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (2018) Lifetime Achievement Award by Christians for Biblical Equality (2015), and the Baptist History and Heritage Society’s W. O. Carver Distinguished Service Award (2010).