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Diversity scholarships awarded by seminary

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP) — Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary has awarded the value of nearly $200,000 in Kingdom Diversity scholarships to address cultural and gender diversity on campus.

Among Southeastern’s students, 26 percent are women and the seminary is seeking to increase that percentage to at least 35.

In August 2013, Southeastern launched its Kingdom Diversity initiative to help make God’s Kingdom vision of people from every tribe, tongue and nation worshiping Christ together a reality on its Wake Forest, N.C., campus and in churches.

“Kingdom diversity is a core value at Southeastern,” Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern, said. “Building a student body that reflects the beauties of ethnicity designed by our God is a goal we are pursuing with passion.”

The new Kingdom Diversity scholarships at Southeastern have been awarded to 23 students. Gifts range from nine full-time, 13 part-time, and one $1,000 partial scholarship. Seven scholarships were awarded on the doctoral level, 10 on the master’s level and six on the collegiate level.

“Southeastern is convinced that every voice that will sing ‘holy, holy, holy’ at our God’s throne is a voice that needs to be heard on our campus,” Walter Strickland, special advisor to the president for diversity and instructor of theology, said.

Students selected for the scholarships represent a variety of cultures that include African-Americans and other individuals from nations such as Korea and the Dominican Republic, he said.

“As a Great Commission seminary, Southeastern desires to seek and equip students from every corner of the Kingdom to serve in every context of the Kingdom,” Strickland noted. “A diverse campus benefits everyone as we sharpen each other with our God-given uniqueness to better serve our Lord wherever He may send us.” 

Eight of the scholarships were awarded to women and 15 of them were awarded to men. Two of the most sought after scholarships went to African-American and Hispanic women; one is pursuing a Doctor of Education and the other is seeking a Master of Divinity.

“On average, students of color tend to be more financially in need and Southeastern seeks to help relieve the financial burden of ministry preparation,” Strickland said. “These scholarships are another way to demonstrate that the recipients are valued on Southeastern’s campus.”

Southeastern has drawn national attention in response to giving away the Kingdom Diversity scholarships. “I think we are finally putting actions to the desires of our heart as an institution,” Strickland said.

The one-time gifts are awarded based on merit and need for the duration of one year. Students can apply for a scholarship every semester and re-apply the next year. Previous recipients will be heavily considered for the following year, especially if their enrollment at Southeastern is dependent on the scholarship.

A Kingdom Diversity scholarship fund has been created in honor of Akin. “Few things have honored me more greatly than having a scholarship established in my name for this very purpose,” he said.

For additional information on how to contribute to this fund, click here
or contact Daniel Palmer, director of financial development, at [email protected] or 919-761-2203.
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).

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  • Ali Dixon