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Ralph & Bess Smith named first Scarborough recipients

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has named Ralph M. and Bess Smith as the first recipients of the L.R. Scarborough Award.
Smith was the longtime pastor of Hyde Park Baptist Church, Austin, Texas.
The new award, approved by Southwestern’s trustees in October, was conceived by the Fort Worth, Texas, seminary’s president, Kenneth S. Hemphill, as a way to honor pastors, church staff and denominational leaders for “voluntary service and dedicated participation in the life of Southwestern Seminary.”
Scarborough was one of Southwestern’s first faculty members and was elected the seminary’s second president in 1915. As the first faculty member to fill the chair of evangelism called the “Chair of Fire,” Scarborough is credited with helping to establish the seminary’s widely known passion for evangelism and missions. The Chair of Fire was the first chair of evangelism at any seminary in America. Scarborough served as president from 1915-42.
Harold and Betty Riley, longtime Hyde Park members, have donated $6 million to Southwestern to honor the Smiths. At their request, all future Scarborough Awards will be given in honor of the Smiths, who shared Scarborough’s passion for evangelism and missions.
At a Nov. 10 dinner in Austin, Riley listed the progress made at Hyde Park during Smith’s 35-year pastorate. In addition to building a far-reaching ministry there, Smith served as the chaplain for the Texas House of Representatives for two years. He served on the boards of trustees of Southwestern Seminary, the International Mission Board (then-Foreign Mission Board) and the North American Mission Board (then-Home Mission Board). He was chairman of the trustee committee that oversaw the construction of NAMB’s national headquarters in Alpharetta, Ga.
Smith was twice elected president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas. He also served as president of the SBC Pastors’ Conference and was chairman of the credential’s committee at the 1985 SBC annual meeting in Dallas. He will preach the annual convention sermon at the SBC meeting in Atlanta next June.