NCB was founded in 1977 in the heart of the diverse, challenging, and stimulating cultural milieu of the San Francisco Bay Area. The area was and is a crucible of social change and intellectual fervor, radiating out across the nation. NCB’s founders, a group of lay Christians, pastors, and scholars, established New College Berkeley to provide our students, both Christian and those interested in Christianity with a place to study and talk about how contemporary Christians engage contemporary issues.
NCB’s founders were committed to providing high-caliber interdisciplinary studies for the laity. They believed that all Christians, not only professional clergy, have a ministry. They believed that God's people are called to faithful service in the church and in the world, in the home and in the marketplace, in the professions, and in the public square.
Throughout its subsequent history, New College Berkeley has encouraged Christian believers to "walk in newness of life," drawing understanding, companionship, guidance, and strength from a community of evangelical Christians from various denominational affiliations and walks of life.
In 1992, NCB became an affiliate of the Graduate Theological Union . Today, NCB stands as the only evangelical school in the United States linked to a large theological consortium connected to a major public university. NCB is the only evangelical, ecumenical institute in the GTU consortium.
When NCB was founded, director Dr. David Gill and our first president Dr. Ward Gasque brought to the project their commitment to intellectual rigor, and a faith that makes a difference in our everyday lives, our vocations and our relationships. Co-founder Rev. Earl Palmer stressed the understanding of the Reformed tradition that Christianity should transform our whole lives. The NCB mission of strengthening believers in their lives of faith infuses salt and light into the notoriously secular environment of the San Francisco Bay Area and the diverse religious community of the Graduate Theological Union.