WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP) — Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary celebrated 10 years of leadership by President Daniel Akin during its spring board of trustees and board of visitors meeting.
Trustees also approved new Ph.D. tracks, established the Kingdom Diversity scholarship program, met new faculty members and approved the purchase of additional property. Southeastern awarded former president Paige Patterson its Presidential Award, the highest honor the school grants.
Speakers at a banquet in Akin’s honor included Wake Forest Mayor Vivian Jones, James Merritt, Susie Hawkins and Thom Rainer.
Jones thanked Akin for his positive influence on the area. “Southeastern has a very pivotal part in our community. You are one of our largest employers,” Jones said during the March 31-April 1 meetings. Akin “has built relationships in our community that have made our community a better place. … You have made this a better place for all of us to live.”
Merritt, pastor of Cross Pointe Church in Duluth, Ga., spoke on Akin’s legacy and called his relationship with Akin a “treasured friendship.”
Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources, narrated a slideshow highlighting Akin and his family during chapel April 1. Rainer also spoke at a board of visitors chapel service. Former trustee chair Ed Litton presented Akin with a framed resolution of appreciation from trustees and his official presidential portrait.
Akin gave God the glory for Southeastern’s achievements. “It is His doing, not ours,” Akin said. He called the audience to remember the urgency of the Great Commission and those who will go to hell and never hear the name of Jesus.
Akin expressed gratitude for “10 wonderful years” and the opportunity to “emphasize what Southeastern is all about, the Great Commission.”
The seminary is experiencing its fifth year of record enrollment at 3,120 students, Akin said during his report to trustees and visitors. Southeastern expects to have 3,200 students in the fall.
Trustees heard a report about Southeastern’s fully online master of divinity degree, one of five graduate degrees and two undergraduate degrees offered entirely online. Students are taking 25 percent of their class hours through hybrid and online classes.
The endowed Kingdom Diversity scholarship at Southeastern has been established, totaling in $275,000, Akin reported. The seminary also received accreditation from the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability to certify its proper management of finances. Southeastern raised $50 million in a recent fund raising campaign and has expanded from one to seven endowed chairs in the past decade.
Scholarships for International Mission Board personnel and their family members have expanded, totaling $465,000 during the most recent fiscal year, trustees learned.
Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, who served as Southeastern’s president from 1992 to 2003, was the guest speaker in chapel. Patterson preached at Akin’s ordination ceremony and 10 years ago at his inauguration.
Patterson preached on Amos 7:10-15 and drew parallels between Amos and Akin. “Both came from humble origins … [which] positions a man to understand life and the intervention of God in all things. Anything and everything you do is the touch of God on your life,” he said.
Patterson continued, “Whatever your calling is today, make the decision to finish well, following the example of your president. Give your life for the cause of Christ.”
Akin then led in the commissioning of 20 IMB missionaries and honored them for their Great Commission hearts and the eternal fruit their lives will bear.
In other business, trustees:
— were introduced to new faculty members: Jason Fowler, director of library services and instructor of library services; Chip Hardy, assistant professor of Old Testament and Semitic languages; and Denise O’Donoghue, director of women’s life and assistant professor of ministry to women. Dwayne Milioni, who served previously as an adjunct professor, has been appointed as an assistant professor of preaching.
— confirmed Chuck Lawless as vice president for graduate studies and ministry centers; and Jamie Dew as vice president for undergraduate studies and academic support.
— authorized six new Ph.D. tracks, including apologetics and culture, theology and worship, systematic theology, historical theology, philosophy of religion and Christian leadership.
— approved new majors at the College at Southeastern, the seminary’s undergraduate school, including pastoral ministry, English, philosophy, theology, global studies, history/pre-law, biblical studies and worship ministry. They also approved a one-year “tentmakers degree” for students who plan to enter non-vocational ministry.
— approved the purchase of 13 acres contiguous to the seminary’s property.
— elected Todd Linn, pastor of First Baptist Church in Henderson, Ky., as the new trustee chair. Ed Litton, the former chair, served for two years as chair and 10 years on the trustee board.
— approved the 2015 budget of $25.5 million.
Akin’s 10th anniversary as president was also honored through a special edition of “The Great Commission Magazine of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.” The bi-annual publication featured articles on Akin’s leadership and the seminary’s growth since 2004.
Ali Dixon is a news and information specialist at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).