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In the fall of 1924, the first students at what would later be called Dallas Theological Seminary met to study under Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer. Dr. Chafer had a vision to found a school that would emphasize the expository preaching and teaching of the scriptures.  At the start of the fall semester, we pause to reflect on the faithfulness of God over the past 90 years and look forward to his future provision and direction.

Milestones in DTS History

The story of DTS is a testament to the Lord's guidance and provision. Major milestones in the Seminary's 90 years include:

  • 1924 – 13 students meet to study under Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer.
  • 1927 – First graduating class
  • 1928 – Davidson Hall erected as the first permanent building on campus
  • 1953 – Dr. John Walvoord becomes president, and Chafer Chapel is constructed
  • 1969 – DTS receives SACS accreditation
  • 1981 – Walvoord Student Center completed
  • 1986 – Dr. Donald Campbell becomes third president
  • 1994 – Dr. Charles Swindoll becomes fourth president
  • 2001 – Dr. Mark Bailey becomes fifth president
  • 2013 – The MA in Biblical Studies is approved as the Seminary's first fully online degree


Note from Dr. Bailey


Anniversary Event to be Webcast Live from Campus

Join the Ninetieth Anniversary Celebration via a live webcast from campus on October 16, 7:30-8:30 pm CDT. The event will be webcast on DTS alumni, board members, faculty, staff, and donors are invited to tune in as the Seminary’s three living presidents—Dr. Donald Campbell, Dr. Charles Swindoll, and Dr. Mark Bailey—host a simulcast that focuses on the grace “that brought [us] safe thus far.” DTS grad Chip Ingram, senior pastor of Venture Christian Church in Los Gatos, California, and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge radio program, will provide a challenge to alumni and friends.

Share Your Story

DTS has received thousands of wonderful stories over the years about the impact the Seminary is making around the world because of the diligent and faithful work of our graduates. But there are many stories left to tell. Visit to write a note or record a video sharing your story of God's faithfulness and how he has used DTS to bless your life.

The Future of the Seminary

For the 90th Anniversary issue of Kindred Spirit magazine, Dr. Bailey and Dr. Mark Yarbrough, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Academic Dean, shared some of the challenges and opportunities DTS expects to encounter in the future:

  • The growth and training needs of the worldwide church, especially in Latin America, Northern Africa, and Southeast Asia
  • The rise of distance education in the form of additional extension sites and mobile programs
  • Ongoing curriculum assessment that ensures students are receiving preparation for today's current issues
  • Accommodating students' need to finish degree programs quickly and with less expense

As DTS explores these new educational models, the Seminary remains committed to the vision of Dr. Chafer 90 years ago: to teach the centrality of the gospel and biblical authority.

“While we adapt, some things must always remain central,” Dr. Bailey said, emphasizing the core beliefs of the Seminary's doctrinal statement. “These Christian doctrines are embedded in our bylaws. They have and will drive DTS—by the grace of God—until Christ returns.”