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Southwestern honors 3 distinguished alumni

ST. LOUIS (BP)–Key Southern Baptist leaders were on hand to honor Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s distinguished alumni during the June 12 alumni luncheon in St. Louis.

Seminary alumni and staff members celebrated the work and achievements of distinguished alumni David S. Dockery, Stanley Togikawa and, posthumously, James N. Morgan.

Jack Graham, the SBC’s newly elected president, LifeWay Christian Resources President James T. Draper Jr., Annuity Board President O.S. Hawkins and International Mission Board President Jerry Rankin were present. All are Southwestern Seminary alumni.

Southwestern President Kenneth S. Hemphill said the distinguished alumni had made significant contributions to Baptist life and had demonstrated “outstanding achievement in their professions.”

With the publication of “Theologians of the Baptist Tradition” in November 2001, David S. Dockery joined a select list of theologians and scholars who have written more than 100 books, chapters and articles.

Inaugurated as president of Union University in 1996, Dockery was honored for his prolific contribution to Baptist literature. He received a master of divinity with biblical languages from the Fort Worth, Texas, seminary in 1981.

“I am deeply honored,” Dockery said. “How thankful I am to be a Southwestern graduate,” he said.

Togikawa, a native of Hawaii and business services and church support leader for the Hawaii Pacific Baptist Convention from 1983-2001, received a master of arts in religious education from the seminary in 1959. He was instrumental in establishing the Shiraki Memorial Foundation scholarship fund benefiting Hawaiian students enrolled in Southern Baptist seminaries.

The foundation has provided more than $600,000 in scholarship funds, and Southwestern has received a large portion of those gifts.

“Everything I’ve done in my ministry is because God put me there. Every student from Hawaii who comes to Southwestern … we will pay for their books and tuition,” Togikawa said.

Morgan, president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas from 1952-54 and host of the “New Life for You” radio program, died in November 2000 after making a life long contribution to Southern Baptist and Texas Baptist life. His ministry spanned 67 years.

Morgan received a bachelor of theology from Southwestern in 1941 and a master of arts in religious education in 1946. He was also awarded honorary doctorates from Baylor, Howard Payne and Dallas Baptist universities.

Morgan’s son, James, accepted his father’s distinguished alumni award on behalf of the Morgan family. He said his father was devoted to the seminary.

“My dad loved Southwestern Seminary. He was fortunate to live in the city where the seminary was located. He talked about the school on the hill. I know today that he can look down somehow and be proud that he is receiving the award,” Morgan said.

Ronnie Floyd, 2001-2002 president of Southwestern’s national alumni association and pastor of First Baptist Church, Springdale, Ark., noted that Southwestern alumni like Dockery, Togikawa and Morgan are fanning out across the globe.

“I was surprised to learn recently that over 51 percent of all Southern Baptist missionaries and 40 percent of Southern Baptist pastors trained at Southwestern to take the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world,” Floyd said.

Hemphill noted that five of the six theology school deans in Southern Baptist seminaries also prepared for their ministries at Southwestern.

The Southwestern alumni association elected new officers at the luncheon: president, Bruce Perkins, president and CEO of Shiloh Christian School in Springdale, Ark.; vice president, Keith Thomas, pastor of First Baptist Church in West Palm Beach, Fla.; and secretary, Jack Terry, vice president of institutional advancement at Southwestern.

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  • Gregory Tomlin