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EDITOR’S NOTE: “From the Seminaries” includes news releases of interest as written and edited from Southern Baptist seminaries.

Today’s from the seminaries includes:
SWBTS (2 items)
NOBTS (1 item)

Southwestern reaffirmed
by accreditation body
By Keith Collier

FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS)–Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary received a letter of reaffirmation from the comprehensive evaluation committee of the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), June 27. Following a site visit this spring, the board reaffirmed Southwestern’s accreditation for the customary 10 years, with its next evaluation occurring in spring 2021.

“We rejoice with the news today received from the Association of Theological Schools of the reaffirmation of accreditation for 10 years,” seminary president Paige Patterson told employees in a campus email. Patterson thanked those on campus who aided in preparation for the board’s site visit and the faculty for their consistent excellence.
NOBTS names new VP
for institutional advancement
By Frank Michael McCormack

NEW ORLEANS (NOBTS)–New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS) President Chuck Kelley has named James R. “Randy” Driggers as the school’s new vice president for institutional advancement. Driggers, an Alabama native and NOBTS graduate, has served as vice president for development with The Baptist Foundation of Alabama since 2001.


As vice president for institutional advancement at NOBTS, Driggers will direct the development, alumni relations, church-minister relations and public relations departments of the seminary.

“I am thrilled to have someone with Randy’s passion for the Lord and extensive training and experience in development joining our leadership team. He loves making friends and he believes in the work and mission of our seminary,” NOBTS President Chuck Kelley said. “His coming will be a great blessing to this School of Providence and Prayer.”

Driggers’ background in fundraising and development is extensive. For the past 10 years, he has worked with The Baptist Foundation of Alabama in fundraising, fund management and estate stewardship. Besides fundraising and stewardship, Driggers also oversaw the public relations and marketing efforts of The Baptist Foundation of Alabama.

Formed in 1940, The Baptist Foundation of Alabama serves as a trust and fund management organization for individuals, churches, associations and entities of the Alabama Baptist Convention. Today, The Baptist Foundation of Alabama manages more than $230 million in assets for the Alabama Baptist Convention.

Prior to his role as vice president for development with The Baptist Foundation of Alabama, Driggers served as director of development for NOBTS from 1996 to 2001. From 1982 to 1990, Driggers was president of his own agency that represented close to 30 AAA rated insurance companies, primarily in the group benefits market and tax sheltered retirement planning.

Driggers is a member of the NOBTS Foundation Board, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Task Force promoting estate stewardship and the Stewardship Development Association of the SBC. Previously, he served on the Board of Regents of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

He has also held memberships in the Christian Stewardship Alliance, Partnership for Philanthropic Planning, Alabama Planned Giving Council and American Council on Gift Annuities.

Driggers has received training in grant writing and development from The Grantsmanship Center in Los Angeles, Calif., and is currently enrolled in the Kingdom Advisors training program to become a “Certified Fundraising Executive.”

Driggers attended Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., where he earned a bachelor of arts degree in religion and psychology in 1994, and NOBTS, where he earned a master of divinity degree in Christian education in 1998. He was ordained in January 1993 by First Baptist Church of Hoover, Ala., where he served as children’s minister and in administration from 1990 to 1994.

Driggers and his wife, Paula, have two children, Amanda and Jonathan Marc.
Southwestern Music Academy offers
national review for young musicians
By Rebecca Carter

FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS)–This fall, the Southwestern Music Academy joins a new incentive straight from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Canada and New York City’s own Carnegie Hall.

Called the Achievement Program, students through participating schools or tutors prepare and then perform different classical music pieces before a panel of Achievement Program judges, receiving a review certifying they perform at a specific skill level.

Because this is a voluntary national review, “students can see across the country how they stack up,” says Jill Sprenger, Southwestern’s School of Church Music associate professor of piano and the Academy director. The Academy will offer review of this nature through piano, organ, and violin, with future options expected for voice and guitar.

As a teacher herself, Sprenger knows this type of review helps music instructors as well.

“One of the hardest things in piano teaching in America, we have all these popular methods,” says Sprenger, “but the tricky thing in piano teaching is how to move a student into classical music from beginning repertoire. The Achievement Program has a clear, graded way of doing that, which I think will be an enormous help.”

Southwestern Music Academy is one of the first schools in Texas to offer this type of review. Later this summer, Sprenger expects Southwestern Seminary to host a workshop for area music tutors and prep schools who want to join the Academy in offering this opportunity, which can provide a window into their students’ skill levels.

Participating in the achievement program augments the School of Church Music’s existing goals, says music school dean Stephen Johnson.

“Dr. Sprenger’s work in connecting our graduate students to immediate teaching in the community surrounding the Fort Worth campus has grown in size and scope over the years,” says Johnson. “We are thrilled that the quality instruction our students provide to the many community students visiting our campus each semester has now connected with the Carnegie Hall Achievement Program. The School of Church Music seeks to provide such skillful leadership in many aspects of music and ministry.”

The Southwestern Music Academy offers qualified tutoring and performance opportunities for elementary and high school students, including dual-enrollment in college classes. For more information about dual-enrollment for high school students, as well as K-12 enrollment information through the Southwestern Music Academy, please visit http://www.swbts.edu/musicacademy or email Jill Sprenger at [email protected]