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NOBTS trustees receive W. W. Hamilton legacy items, affirm positive reports

Jamie Dew, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Leavell College president, expresses gratitude to God for positive reports during the April 16-17 trustee meeting.

NEW ORLEANS (BP) – New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Leavell College trustees approved faculty changes, received positive academic and financial reports, and welcomed a donation of items of historical value from the family of W.W. Hamilton, the school’s second president.

Marking five years as president, Jamie Dew pointed also to robust student and faculty mission involvement and “two straight years of credit hour growth” in his president’s report to open the meeting.

“I look back and I feel nothing but gratitude for how the Lord has been gracious to us,” Dew said. “We are on mission. We are stronger financially than we’ve been in a long time. Our morale is high.”

Dew noted that the Caskey Center for Church Excellence marked 75,000 Gospel conversations engaged in by full-tuition scholarship Caskey Center students since the center’s opening 10 years ago. An additional 5,000 Gospel conversations were recorded this academic year through evangelism classes and students’ daily interactions, Dew reported.

Special guest Doyle Hamilton, the great-grandson of W.W. Hamilton, president from 1928-1942, presented the seminary personal items from Hamilton’s presidency and ministry.

“[Hamilton] did a phenomenal job of shepherding this school through some very tough seasons,” Dew said. “This was the season of time we came to be known as the School of Providence and Prayer.”

Hamilton led the school, known at the time as the Baptist Bible Institute, through the Great Depression when the faculty was cut to five members with reduced salaries, and where students and faculty shared a common table with the little food that was available.

The donated items include Hamilton’s partially handwritten, unpublished history of the school, his preaching Bible, a personal letter from George W. Truett, copies of Hamilton’s published works, and other items. Doyle Hamilton expressed his confidence that the seminary would care for the items and said, “May God continue to bless the work of the School of Providence and Prayer.”

Bo Rice, dean of the graduate school who is transitioning to senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Brandon, Miss., was presented a commendation from the trustees. Rice was honored for his service as a faculty member, dean and for his contribution in shaping the NOBTS mentoring program that links students to ministry partners serving on the field.  

“I love this school,” Rice responded. “It has been my privilege and honor to serve here.”

In business session, the trustees approved an accelerated program for the bachelor of art in psychology and counseling degree, allowing students pursuing a master of arts in counseling degree to save time and money while pursuing their licensure. Trustees also approved a biblical studies specialization and a church planting specialization in the professional doctorate program.

In action related to faculty, trustees elected Robert Stewart professor emeritus of philosophy and theology and Nate Jernigan as assistant professor of music and worship.

Alex Wendel, LPC, Ph.D. (NOBTS, May 2024) was announced as assistant professor of counseling by presidential appointment.

Rank promotions were approved for Jody Dean, professor of Christian education; Craig Garrett, professor of counseling; Jong Gil Lee, professor of expository preaching; Beth Masters, associate professor of college ministry; and Charles Ray III, associate professor of New Testament and Greek.

Faculty members retiring this year are Rex Butler, professor of church history and patristics; Joe Sherrer, professor of discipleship and ministry leadership; and Robert Stewart, professor emeritus of philosophy and theology.

The trustee officers elected to serve for the upcoming year are:  Chairman, Eddie Wren, pastor of First Baptist Church, Zachary, Louisiana; Vice-chairman, Roc Collins, Strategic Objectives Director, Tennessee Baptist Mission Board; and Secretary-Treasurer, Shannon Brown, businesswoman, Louisiana.

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  • Marilyn Stewart