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$58 million master plan, new faculty highlight Southwestern trustee meeting

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–While Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary trustees mourned escalating tensions among Baptist leaders in Texas, they celebrated another strong year in the life of “the Texas Baptist seminary.”

Trustees approved a $58 million campus master plan, hired four new faculty and elected two others to faculty status during their semiannual meeting Oct. 17-18.

Upbeat reports about the seminary followed a signing ceremony in which trustees publicly endorsed the revised Baptist Faith and Message.

Trustees elected four new faculty members. Siegfried S. Schatzmann, who has taught as a guest professor at the seminary since January 1999, was elected professor of New Testament. Benjamin Paul Wolfe, associate professor of New Testament at Criswell College in Dallas since 1990, was elected associate professor of New Testament.

Gordon L. Borror, pastor of First Baptist Church of Milwaukee, Ore., was elected professor of church music, while Caia Kent McCullar, associate professor of music at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor since 1995, was elected professor of church music education.

Schatzmann earned his Ph.D. and master of divinity from Southwestern Seminary. He previously served as director of studies and New Testament lecturer at Regents Theological College in England. He has written numerous books and translated works by Westermann and Gnilka.

Hemphill said Schatzmann “has become very popular with our students. He has excellent academic credentials, has translated a number of books as well as written several books. He is an authority on the hilarity of spiritual gifts, which is an interest of mine as well. I think we’ll be able to provide a resource that will be a helpful corrective for many of our churches and students.”

Wolfe earned his Ph.D. at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland and his master of arts at Dallas Baptist University. He has pastored several churches and has served as professor and director of student affairs at several schools.

“Benjamin Wolf is a brilliant scholar,” Hemphill said. “He was elected outstanding faculty member two to three years running at Criswell College, so he has a tremendous track record in the classroom. He studied with I. Howard Marshall, and he was involved in translating the Holman Christian Standard Bible and revising ‘A Concordance to the Greek New Testament.'”

“Both [professors] are super additions to New Testament faculty, bringing us back up to full strength,” Hemphill added.

Borror earned a bachelor of music cum laude from Biola University in La Mirada, Calif. He served as a professor of worship and music at Western Seminary in Holland, Mich., from 1977-98. He has also served as minister of music at five churches.

“Gordon Borror is a rare combination of minister of music who is now a pastor. He has theological, pastoral and music experience,” Hemphill said.

Borror will teach primarily in the seminary’s new core worship courses, which require musicians, theologians and educators to study together.

“I don’t know that you could have found anybody better qualified to do that unique and dynamic kind of program because he gives you almost both perspectives in one person. His book, ‘Worship the Missing Jewel,’ is considered one of the best tools written on worship,” Hemphill added.

McCullar earned a Ph.D. in fine arts from Texas Tech University in Lubbock and a master of music education and applied voice at the University of Texas in Austin. She was a magna cum laude graduate of Baylor University’s music school.

McCullar fills a position left vacant by one of the school’s most popular professors, Rhonda Buescher, who joined the Southern Baptist Convention’s LifeWay Christian Resources to revamp its children’s curriculum. Hemphill called McCullar “eminently qualified” and noted she “comes from one of our Texas Baptist schools.”

Trustees granted faculty status to Douglas Jones, the seminary’s new registrar and director of enrollment services, and Bob Overton, new director of the seminary’s Houston campus. In response to a trustee’s question, Hemphill said a nationwide search continues for a director for the world missions center.

Hemphill called a 10-year facilities master plan approved by trustees “a far-ranging visionary program.”

“It is not only far-reaching, it is also good stewardship,” Hemphill said, adding “that we’re going to invest every dollar wisely.” He also called it an important tool in the seminary’s reaccredidation process, which culminates in February 2001 with a site visit by accrediting agency representatives.

Much of the plan addresses improving efficiency and cutting expenses. One proposal calls for building an elevated water storage tank on campus at a cost of just over $2 million.

The plan includes $14 million for new student housing, something Hemphill called an ongoing critical need at the seminary. Plans call for constructing at least two living-learning center, or “dormettes,” for men at a cost of $4.5 million each and more apartments for families in the “student village.”

Other campus improvements include $479,360 for a 6-foot high steel, decorative picket fence to be built to enclose and secure the campus. Three gates would be installed to control traffic onto the campus between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.

The plan also includes $18 million to construct the next three phases of the Ralph M. Smith Leadership Development Complex, a 130,000-square-foot continuing education center under construction. Phase two is scheduled for completion in spring 2001.

The plan projects spending about $15 million to renovate five older buildings on campus, $830,000 to improve handicap accessibility and about $3.77 million for new faculty/staff on-campus housing. Other major buildings discussed in the plan but not budgeted include a building for a new Institute for Biblical Research and a classroom building.

The plan projects spending about $3 million on “physical plant deferred maintenance and new projects.”

In his president’s report, Hemphill highlighted the accomplishments of other SBC agencies. “I believe most Texas Baptists will continue to support the SBC when they know how God is at work in the convention,” he said.

Among the highlights he mentioned were record numbers of international and North America missionaries, church starts in the United States and baptisms overseas.

Among Southwestern’s highlights, Hemphill noted that 66 percent of the school’s full-time faculty have at least 10 years of service and 37 percent have at least 20 years of service. Southwestern’s fall enrollment is 3,094 students, a 3 percent decline from fall 1999. Enrollment at the Southern Baptist Convention’s global seminary includes students from 42 states and a record 225 international students from 46 countries representing 27 people groups. “That enrollment would double tomorrow if we were able to offer more financial assistance to international students,” Hemphill said.

Forty-four percent of Southwestern’s student body is from Texas, Hemphill noted.

“We educate 80 percent of all Texas seminary students,” he added.

One highlight of the seminary’s new curriculum is an evangelism course every student must take. Hemphill and evangelism professor Frank Harber wrote the course material titled, “got life?”

Many witnessing tools deal with death, Hemphill said, but the “got life?” program deals with life and is producing tremendous results.

According to Ohio trustee John Hays, whose church started using the “got life?” tract, what sets the tract apart is that it uses apologetics. He gave an illustration of an encounter he had with a man who listened to his presentation and then asked, “Do you have any proof outside of the Bible that this is true?” After going through the ‘got life?’ tract, this man responded, ‘I’m ready to pray,'” Hays reported.

Southwestern Seminary remains one of the highest endowed seminaries in the world. The value of the seminary’s endowment has increased to $209 million. Hubert Martin, vice president for business services, said the value of the endowment is a substantial increase over its value 5 years ago.

Vice president for institutional advancement Jack Terry said the seminary is having another strong year in giving and is more than $1 million ahead of last year’s pace, “even in an atmosphere that has not been conducive to fund-raising.”

“That’s pure grace,” he said.

For the third year in a row, cash gifts to the seminary exceeded $6 million in the fiscal year ending July 31, Terry reported. Gifts to the seminary in fiscal year 1999 were $7,336,231, the second highest giving year in school history.

More than $34 million was raised in the first phase of Southwestern’s 10-year, $100 million “Touch the World, Impact Eternity” campaign. With the success of phase one and the completion of the facilities master plan, the campaign’s overall goal has been raised to $125 million.

Terry announced several gifts highlighting the new fiscal year. The Harold E. Riley/Southwestern Seminary Foundation has approved another $1 million gift to the seminary. A donor in San Antonio has pledged $1 million toward construction of a building for the school’s San Antonio campus. A woman in Laredo, Texas, has donated the mineral rights to 35,000 acres of property.

In addition, Southwestern Advisory Council member Don O’Neal and several Fort Worth businessmen are hoping to raise $3 million to provide the naming gift for phase three of the Leadership Development Complex.

Trustees approved a policy from an ad hoc committee on grievance procedures. Trustee vice chairman Michael Dean of Fort Worth called the new policy a guideline for trustees. He said the wording in the policy was created from various documents in the seminary’s three schools that needed to be consistent.

“When a grievance reaches a point that forms need to be filled out,” Dean said, “that is the only time that trustees need to be involved in the process. We just needed to know how to handle them when they do.”

Trustees affirmed the self study the seminary has produced for its 10-year reaccredidation site visit in February. The self study is an intensive two-year study of every aspect of seminary life by faculty, staff and students with input from trustees and administrators. It details how to improve the quality of education and services in order to fulfill the mission of the institution.

In other business, trustees:

— approved a proposal to offer a baccalaureate degree in the area of ministry for students 25 years of age and older.

— approved the audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended July 31.

— authorized the seminary to offer master’s and doctoral courses in Hawaii.

— approved Mrs. Faye McCombs posthumously, Mr. and Mrs. Don O’Neal of Euless, Texas, and Mr. and Mrs. David Smith of Houston as next year’s recipients of the B.H. Carroll Award.

— passed a resolution of appreciation for Southern Baptists and the SBC Executive Committee for a record $11 million in Cooperative Program gifts during the 1999 fiscal year.

— passed a resolution of appreciation for Lawrence Klempnauer, vice president for student services, who retires Dec. 31 after 20 years of service.

    About the Author

  • David Porter