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Southwestern receives $1 million challenge grant


(EDITORS’ NOTE: For the complete wording of “The Family” article access Southeastern’s web page at www.sebts.edu and click on “Statements on What We Believe” under the “Welcome” section.)

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–The Ralph M. Smith Leadership Development Complex at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is getting a million-dollar boost from a foundation that has contributed to numerous building projects on the Southwestern campus in the past.
The J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation of Tulsa, Okla., issued a $1-million challenge grant to the seminary last month to be applied toward the construction of the $9-million second phase of the complex. The grant brings the total pledges for this phase to $6 million. The first $5 million was pledged by Austin businessman Harold Riley.
The Mabee Foundation’s challenge grant is contingent upon Southwestern being able to raise the remaining funds by Oct. 1, 1999, according to Jack Terry, Southwestern’s vice president for institutional advancement. The second phase, named the Jack MacGorman Conference Center, will include the James Leo Garrett Conference Room, guest rooms, office space and a dining area.
This pledge is the latest in a number of similar grants the foundation has made to the seminary over the years. According to Southwestern’s director of records and research, Rodney Geno, the Mabee Foundation has made contributions to four other projects _ $250,000 for the Recreation and Aerobics Center in March 1976, $250,000 for Roberts Library in July 1982, $500,000 for the renovation of Scarborough Hall in December 1985 and $375,000 for the Bowld Music Library in July 1989.
Geno said the latest pledge makes the Mabee Foundation the largest foundation donor to the seminary with total gifts of $2,375,000.
Construction on the first phase of the leadership development complex began this summer. The first phase will include a visitor center, rotunda, lobby area, a manager’s apartment and guest rooms and will cost approximately $4.5 million. The cost of the entire facility has been put at approximately $21 million.
The complex has already benefited from numerous donations, among them a $1-million gift from Riley, a $1-million pledge from Triple J. Development and a $250,000 donation from the Davidson Family Charitable Foundation. When completed, the complex is expected to have 96 rooms and conference facilities for about 1,000 people.
Terry said the leadership development complex is named for Riley’s pastor, Ralph M. Smith, longtime pastor of Hyde Park Baptist Church in Austin, Texas, “because of his tremendous love of continued learning and for ministers to have the opportunity to continue learning.”
The strong support from Riley came out of a desire to honor Smith, Terry said.

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  • Cory J. Hailey