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Seminary ends year in black; trustees ratify new budget

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MILL VALLEY, Calif. (BP)–A positive financial report highlighted business at the Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary fall trustee meeting in Mill Valley.

Trustees applauded a report from seminary officials indicating the Southern Baptist Convention institution finished the 2000-2001 fiscal year some $320,000 in the black, thanks in part to greater than expected support from the SBC’s unified giving plan, the Cooperative Program.

Trustees also ratified an operating budget approved by the board’s executive committee this past summer. Normally, trustees approve the budget at their spring annual meeting but the process was delayed this year because of what President William O. Crews called “rather dramatic staff transitions.”

And while staff vacancies remain, Arizona trustee Joe Panter voiced confidence in the seminary’s new vice president for business affairs, Gary Groat. “We are not without challenges in the business affairs office,” Panter said. However, he added, “We are real encouraged.”

The new operating budget for fiscal year 2001-02 is $8,530,200. That represents a 6 percent increase over the previous spending plan of $8,020,100.

Seminary officials expect revenue growth from tuition and fees, gifts and auxiliary income. Revenue from tuition and fees is expected to increase 7 percent due to a rise in the tuition cap from 9 credit hours to 12 credit hours, Groat said.

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Additionally, gift income is projected to increase 5 percent because of growth in Cooperative Program giving through Southern Baptist congregations along with ongoing fundraising efforts in Colorado for the Denver regional campus. And higher student housing levels on the residential campus in Mill Valley is expected to boost auxiliary income.

While more students are living in Mill Valley campus housing, President William O. Crews told trustees enrollment at the main campus recorded a slight decline as the new academic year began. The Denver campus posted a slight enrollment decrease to 27 students. But enrollment growth at three other Golden Gate Seminary campuses produced an overall 17.9 percent increase in the student headcount compared with fall 2000 figures. Fulltime equivalency enrollment figures were not immediately available.

A total of 1,314 students currently are enrolled at Golden Gate Seminary. And with 451 students this fall — down from 480 a year ago — Mill Valley continues to have the largest enrollment among the school’s five campuses.

Campuses reporting increased enrollment this fall were: Vancouver, WA — 73 students, up 7.3 percent; Phoenix – 44 students, up 19.5 percent; and Brea, 250 students, an increase of 15.2 percent.

In other action, trustees received a report on a resolution previously adopted by their executive committee opposing a proposed study to consider merging GGBTS with Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee declined to authorize a feasibility study in September.

Also approved by trustees was an 11-page document outlining presidential succession procedures. Trustees said the comprehensive checklist constitutes a “contingency plan” in the event a president retires or vacates the office under other circumstances.

Several trustees elected in June at the 2001 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting ceremonially signed a statement affirming “that the Baptist Faith and Message Statement officially adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention is a summary of our doctrinal beliefs.” By signing the statement, the trustees also “recognize and accept the obligation to administer our trusteeship in accordance with and not contrary to the principles set forth in this confessional document.”

Crews reported receiving letters of resignation from three trustees: Don Ledbetter of Nevada, who moved to California; Matt Adams of Michigan, who has moved to Nebraska; and Charles Grant of West Virginia who resigned to devote more time to his business.
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(Cameron Crabtree contributed to this story.)