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Midwestern trustees celebrate record year for special gifts

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)–In a year of record special contributions, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary trustees dedicated four rooms in the William Koehn and Martha Myers Center for World Evangelism, the first expansion project in campus academic/administration facilities in more than 25 years.

Trustees also received a substantial gift from the Missouri Baptist Convention toward the seminary’s new undergraduate program during their March 14-15 meeting in Kansas City, Mo.

In other business, MBTS trustees voted to authorize President R. Philip Roberts to execute a potential land sale of up to 50 acres of the seminary’s 223-acre campus. The resolution includes two parcels of land, one of 33 acres on the seminary’s southeast corner and another of up to 17 acres of woodland on the east side.

The sale could provide Midwestern $8 million to $9 million in revenue. According to Roberts, proceeds from the sales would not go toward the seminary’s cash flow but would provide funds for long-term investments, upgrades for campus facilities and support of the seminary’s endowment.

“This decision by our trustees will provide a world of resource for Midwestern to strengthen its position to be a lighthouse for the Lord in the Midwest and around the world,” Roberts said.

The four rooms in the 35,000-square-foot Koehn and Myers Center, a former retreat center acquired by the seminary in 2002, were dedicated by trustees with ribbon-cutting ceremonies. The dedication of the Kelley Fireside Room, Downing Conference Room, C.W. Scudder Room and the Board of Trustees Room marks the completion of the first phase of remodeling at the building.

“This dedication is an excellent demonstration of how Midwestern, through the faithful support of our friends, is moving forward to train the next generation of pastors and missionaries,” Roberts said. “The vision of the future at Midwestern is bright and we thank the Lord for His provision.”

During the meeting, the seminary’s institutional advancement office reported a record amount of special gifts to the seminary, totaling $564,309 from Jan. 1 through December 2004.

As part of the dedication ceremonies, Midwestern was presented with a $100,000 check from the Missouri Baptist Convention toward the new undergraduate college. Midwestern trustee and former Missouri Baptist Convention President David Tolliver presented the check in a March 15 chapel service to Roberts.

“We are thankful for the generosity of the Missouri Baptist Convention,” Roberts said. “Their investment here will insure that the work of the Gospel — evangelism, missions and church planting — will be increased in Missouri and across the heartland. We are astounded at the MBC’s encouragement, knowing that they already generously support the Cooperative Program and its worldwide mission.”

Trustees approved a $5,084,237 budget for the 2005-06 academic year, up from the current $4,949,788 budget. The board approved a $10 per credit hour tuition increase from $120 to $130 for qualified Southern Baptists. Rates also were increased for non-SBC Baptist students to $170 and all others at $260 per credit hour.

The board affirmed the election of two professors to the faculty: Alan Branch, assistant professor of Christian ethics, who serves as the seminary’s vice president of student development, and Radu Gheorghita, associate professor of biblical studies. The board also renewed contracts for Michael McMullen, associate professor of church history and Donald Whitney, associate professor of spiritual formation. Scott Brawner, dean of students for Midwestern’s undergraduate college, also was appointed as an instructor for Christian education.

The board also established a new faculty position titled “distinguished professor,” by which the seminary will bring in a widely known scholar and/or practitioner to teach on campus.

Kevin Ezell of Kentucky was reelected as trustee chairman. Also elected as trustee officers were Michael Landry of Florida, first vice chairman; James Freeman of Missouri, second vice chairman; Judy Crain of Maryland, secretary; and Wayne Parker of Michigan, at-large member.

The board recognized outgoing trustee Gwen Newman of Georgia, who served as the secretary/treasurer since 1999, for nine years of service on the seminary’s board.

The next trustee meeting is scheduled for Oct. 10-11 in Kansas City.

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  • Cory Miller