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SBC seminaries drop membership, Baptist college group told at meeting

WACO, Texas (BP)–A report on a decision by the six Southern Baptist Convention seminaries not to renew their membership in the Association of Southern Baptist Colleges and Schools was relayed to the association during its annual meeting June 5-9 in Waco, Texas.
“My greatest disappointment this year,” Bob Agee, ASBCS executive director, said, “has been the decision of the seminaries to drop out of the association.” He said that after the dissolution of the Southern Baptist Education Commission in 1996 he had hoped that the association could keep the entire family together.
“The presidents of the seminaries decided that they would act in concert and, since some did not want to be members, all dropped out,” Agee said.
“We will continue to make ministerial education at both the undergraduate and graduate levels a part of our agenda and program,” Agee stressed. “The seminaries have simply exercised their prerogative not to be members of the Association of Southern Baptist Colleges and Schools.”
During a meeting of the operating board, members of the association’s staff were instructed to remove the seminaries from the membership role and cease member benefits.
Removal of the seminaries from ASBCS membership leaves 54 schools in the association — 48 colleges and universities, three Bible colleges and three academies.
Member services include listings in the nationally distributed annual schools directory; an Internet web page for each school on the ASBCS website; subscriptions for faculty, staff and trustees to the quarterly Southern Baptist Educator; representation on national educational boards and institutions; regular continuing education opportunities, tuition exchange programs with other member schools for children of faculty and staff and well as participation in the Consortium for Global Education, which coordinates international student and faculty exchange programs.
Also during their annual meeting, the 15-member board of the association and voting representatives of its member schools presented their annual outstanding educator award, elected four new board members and elected officers for 1999-2000.
Hosted by Baylor University, the presidents and chief academic officers of ASBCS member schools honored veteran educator William E. Hull, university professor and former provost of Samford University, with the Charles D Johnson Outstanding Educator Award. The award is presented annually by the association to a person who has made a significant contribution to Southern Baptist-related higher education. The award honors the memory of Charles D Johnson who served as chairman of the former Education Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1932-53.
Agee, one of Hull’s former students, said the author, lecturer and educator had made invaluable contributions to his life and the lives of countless other educational and religious leaders. Agee praised Hull for his distinguished service to Southern Baptist Theological Seminary from 1954-75 and his service to Samford University in Birmingham, Ala. Hull served Southern as a fellow, assistant professor, professor, dean and provost.
Also during the meeting, C. Stephen Evans, dean of research and scholarship and professor of philosophy at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Mich., delivered three H. I. Hester Lectures. He discussed what it means for an institution of higher education to be distinctively Christian and what steps these institutions can take to encourage faculty to be Christian scholars.
Also addressing the group were Robert B. Sloan Jr., president of Baylor University; Duane Litfin, president of Wheaton College; and George Lucas Jr. from the American Academy for Liberal Education.
Members approved a budget of $202,484 for the 1999-2000 budget year which begins Sept. 1. Projected income of $205,600 to fund the budget includes member dues of $110,000, contributions of $30,000 from state Baptist conventions and $65,600 in funds from auxiliary enterprises, gifts, sale of materials, placement fees and other sources.
Projected expenditures include $118,584 for staff compensation for the executive director and the director of communications, and funds for outsourcing of secretarial and bookkeeping services. The budget includes $20,000 for funding The Southern Baptist Educator quarterly journal. Other budget items include funds for the ASBCS Internet site at www.baptistschools.org; a placement registry for potential faculty and staff; and ASBCS meetings workshops and conferences.
The presidents and chief academic officers also approved a national education colloquium set for June 3-7, 2000 in Williamsburg, Va. The meeting is expected to draw 500 participants from member schools.
In addition to the presidents and chief academic officers who represent their schools at the annual meeting, the group will invite members of constituent groups from ASBCS schools that normally meet separately throughout the year. Those groups include personnel who are responsible on their campuses for alumni relations, public relations, in-service guidance, development, admissions, church relations, student development, campus ministry and other areas of campus life. Those groups will be encouraged to have their annual meetings during the colloquium and participate in joint sessions with all registrants.
Members of the association also approved annual meetings for June 2-5, 2001, in Lexington, Ky., to be hosted by Georgetown College and June 1-4, 2002, in Panama City, Fla., to be hosted by Florida Baptist Theological College.
New board members of the association elected to three-year terms are Mike Arrington, provost, Ouachita Baptist University; Rory Lee, president, Louisiana College; and Bob White, executive director of the Baptist Convention of the State of Georgia. Stan Lott, president of Chowan College, was elected to a one-year term to replace retiring president Cordell Maddox of Carson-Newman College.
Current board members who have served partial terms and were re-elected for three-year terms include Lanny Hall, president of Hardin-Simmons University, and R. Kirby Godsey, president of Mercer University.
New officers of the operating board elected during the meeting for 1999-2000 are chair, Larry McSwain, president, Shorter College; vice chair, Pat Taylor, president, Southwest Baptist University; recording secretary, Michael Carter, provost and vice president for academic affairs, Carson-Newman College; and president and treasurer, Bob Agee. The four officers and two members at large make up the administrative committee. New members at large are Doug Hodo, president of Houston Baptist University, and Howell Todd.
Other board members include Joseph E. Early, vice president for academic affairs, Cumberland College; Jairy Hunter, president, Charleston Southern University; William M. Pinson, executive director, Baptist General Convention of Texas; and James M. Porch, executive director, Tennessee Baptist Convention.

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  • Tim Fields