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Morgan Patterson, GGBTS dean, dies

MILL VALLEY, Calif. (BP)–Morgan Patterson, retired dean of academic affairs at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, died of cancer at his home Nov. 19. He was 85.

Patterson served at Golden Gate from 1976-84 and arranged for the donation of his extensive library collection of church history and related material to the seminary upon his death.

“Morgan Patterson was a scholar and Christian gentleman who devoted his life to Christian education,” Jeff Iorg, president of Golden Gate, said. “We appreciate his profound contribution to Golden Gate Seminary.”

After leaving Golden Gate, Patterson served from 1984-91 as president of Georgetown College in Kentucky. During his tenure, Georgetown College had the highest enrollment in its 162-year history and doubled its endowment to $16 million.

Since his retirement from Georgetown College, Patterson served as visiting professor of church history at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisiana College, Golden Gate Seminary and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He also taught at Oklahoma Baptist University.

In 1993 Patterson was given the distinguished service award for contributions to Baptist history by the then-Historical Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. He also earned a listing in “Who’s Who in America.”

Earlier in his career, Patterson was director of graduate studies in the school of theology and the David T. Porter professor of church history at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. He served on the faculty there from 1959-76.

In addition, he was the assistant professor of church history at New Orleans Seminary from 1956-59. As a pastor, he served at Stapleton (Ala.) Baptist Church and Progress (Miss.) Baptist Church.

Patterson was born in 1925 in New Orleans, and he received master of divinity and doctor of theology degrees from New Orleans Seminary, in addition to another graduate degree from Stetson University in Deland, Fla. Patterson completed two years of postdoctoral study at Oxford University.

He was a member of the Baptist History and Heritage Society, American Society of Church History and the Conference on Faith and History. Prior to beginning his ministry, he served as a flight officer in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II.

A resident of Novato, Calif., Patterson was a member of Tiburon (Calif.) Baptist Church. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Ernestine Patterson of Longwood, Fla., two sons, W. Morgan Patterson II and Jay Patterson, and four grandchildren.

Representatives of schools where he served joined family and friends at a memorial service Nov. 28 at Tiburon Baptist Church. Donations in Patterson’s memory may be made to Golden Gate’s Morgan Patterson Collection in lieu of flowers and sent to Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, 201 Seminary Drive, Mill Valley, CA 94941.
Phyllis Evans is director of communications for Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary.

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