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Southeastern raises $16.9 million, reaching initial goal

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)–Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s capital fundraising campaign “Scholarship on Fire!” has exceeded its first-phase goal, with more than $16.9 million in gifts and pledges received. President Daniel Akin described the news as another sign of God’s blessing on the seminary.

Southeastern’s board of trustees heard that positive report, among others, during their April 11-12 meeting on Southeastern’s campus in Wake Forest, N.C.

A significant portion of the money of the first phase of “Scholarship on Fire!” will be used to fund the construction of the Patterson Campus Center, a 59,000-square-foot facility that will serve as the hub of campus life. The money also will be used for Southeastern’s endowment and student scholarships.

Scholarship on Fire! is a 10-year, $50-million investment campaign that was approved by the trustees in 2002.

“I am thrilled that we have met and surpassed Phase I of our Scholarship on Fire! campaign and our goal of $16.5 million,” Akin said. “Those who support Southeastern and believe in what we are doing have blessed us in their prayers and their giving, and they have helped us strengthen this great seminary. We are now poised to move into Phase II as we build a school that can accommodate 3,500 students and train pastors, evangelists and missionaries to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. What God has accomplished here is truly awesome, but we are ready to move ahead for His glory and the greatness of the work He has called us to do.”

Trustees elected Anthony Allen, 36, as Southeastern’s new vice president for institutional advancement. He will replace Bart Neal, who has served in that post for more than a decade and will retire in the fall.

Allen has served on Southeastern’s staff for 13 years, including eight years as director of admissions. For the past four years, he has served as a special assistant to Neal.

“I think God has been preparing Anthony for this,” Akin said. “I have great confidence that he will take us from where we are and move us forward, building on the strong foundation laid by Dr. Neal.”

Allen, noting the success of the first phase of the “Scholarship on Fire!” campaign, said he is excited about the future of Southeastern.

“Surpassing our Scholarship on Fire! campaign Phase I goal is such a milestone in the life of Southeastern,” Allen said. “The success of our campaign is a testimony to the faithfulness of God to supply our every need and the generosity of the many friends that made this possible. We are celebrating God’s goodness and the joy that comes from our partnership in the Gospel with the many friends who have given sacrificially!”

Trustees also heard a positive report from Akin about enrollment, which stands at nearly 2,500 — already exceeding last year’s record figures. He also noted that 976 new students came to Southeastern this year, and by the start of the fall semester the seminary could be looking again at a 5 to 7 percent growth in new students.

Akin noted that Southeastern is “well on its way” to his personal goal of 3,500 students enrolled by 2010.

“As we continue to work faithfully, I believe God will honor what we do for His glory,” Akin said.

In other action, trustees:

— elected Anthony Greenham as assistant professor of missions and Islamic studies.

— voted to name Southeastern’s new facilities management building, to be built this summer, in honor of John and Kay Prince, longtime supporters and friends of the seminary.

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  • Jason Hall