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New academic building at SEBTS to be named for Pattersons

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)–Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary trustees approved plans Oct. 11 for a new faculty office building to anchor the future “western quad” of Southeastern’s campus. The building will be named Paige and Dorothy Patterson Hall in honor of the contribution made to Southeastern by former President Paige Patterson and his wife, Dorothy.

“The Paige and Dorothy Patterson Hall will be a centerpiece of the academic programs of Southeastern Seminary,” Southeastern Seminary President Daniel Akin said. “The name Paige Patterson stands for excellence in theological education, and this building will house and train a new generation of scholars and ministers who will lead the church in the 21st century in defending the faith once for all delivered to the saints.”

According to the trustees’ wishes, Southeastern will hire architectural firm Design Development to design a 20,000-square-foot, $3 million building to house faculty offices, doctoral seminar rooms and a number of new classrooms.

Details on when construction will be started are still to be worked out, but the building is the first priority on Southeastern’s plan to expand its campus in light of a burgeoning student body and faculty.

When the Pattersons left Southeastern two years ago, trustees decided to honor their legacy by naming a proposed campus center after them. At the time, the campus center topped the list of the school’s building needs.

Since then, though, the pressure of student and faculty growth –- Southeastern will see record enrollment once again in 2005-06 -– caused administrators to rethink their plans, and they decided an academic building was Southeastern’s most pressing need.

“Southeastern has exhausted all available faculty offices in our current campus buildings and will need additional offices for the future growth of our faculty,” said Ryan Hutchinson, Southeastern’s vice president for administration.

What’s more, this tribute to the Pattersons is a fitting one because they left such a strong mark on Southeastern’s academic standing. During Patterson’s decade-long tenure at the school, the number of faculty members tripled, and Southeastern went from being a school on academic probation to one of the world’s foremost centers of evangelical scholarship. Also, Patterson started Southeastern’s Ph.D. program, which will be located in the new building.

“There is no more fitting tribute to the Pattersons than this academic building,” said Mark Harris, pastor of First Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C. and chairman of Southeastern’s trustees.

Akin added, “Southeastern is delighted to honor Paige and Dorothy Patterson for the incredible leadership they brought to Southeastern for more than a decade. This school bears their stamp and this building will carry on their legacy.”

Hutchinson pointed out that a new campus center, which also will be developed on the new “western quad” of campus, is still in the school’s plan and is now slated to be built after Patterson Hall is completed.

In other action, trustees voted to kick off the second phase of Southeastern’s fundraising campaign, “Scholarship on Fire!” In Phase I, $17 million was raised to go toward building projects -– including Patterson Hall -– student scholarships, mission trips and endowment.

Anthony Allen, vice president for institutional advancement, said he knows that the second phase of Scholarship on Fire! will be just as successful, if not more so.

“Surpassing our Phase I goal was a monumental accomplishment for Southeastern,” Allen said. “As we prepare for Phase II of our campaign, we want to build upon the enthusiasm and support that was shown by our many friends and supporters in our initial phase. The vision that God has put before us will require significant capital. Scholarship on Fire! is designed to help meet the pressing needs of our growing seminary and college.”

Trustees also approved the seminary’s institutional plan for 2005-09, a five-year plan which lists priorities the seminary has set forth to increase growth academically, financially and physically. Organized by Waylan Owens, Southeastern’s vice president for planning and communication, the plan looks at things like completing the current campus master plan, increasing enrollment to 3,500 by 2010, expanding the seminary’s endowment and increasing awareness of the seminary throughout the world.

The previous plan went from 2001-04.

“We plan with eyes of faith,” Owens said, “knowing that the Lord’s plans are what He will bless. Planning is an integral part of Southeastern’s life because our Lord planned for our creation, our salvation and our glorification.”

Trustees elected Brent Aucoin as associate professor of history for Southeastern College at Wake Forest, Chip McDaniel as professor of Old Testament and Hebrew in the seminary and Alan O’Dell as professor of education for Southeastern College at Wake Forest and director of secondary education.

On Monday night, Oct. 10, the trustees and Southeastern’s board of visitors honored Bart Neal and his wife, Edith, on his retirement from 12 years as vice president for institutional advancement.

Neal was presented with a resolution recognizing his accomplishments at Southeastern. Speakers included Akin, Allen, Dorothy and Paige Patterson — who are lifelong friends of the Neals — and Chuck Simmons, the Neals’ son-in-law.

Bart Neal will work for the institutional advancement office from his retirement home near Orlando, Fla. He will focus on visiting prospective donors and speaking about Southeastern’s planned giving program.

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  • Jason Hall