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Southwestern trustees add 4 profs, elect new officers

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s trustees approved the addition of four professors, elected new officers and approved the largest budget in the seminary’s history during the board’s spring meeting March 8-10 in Fort Worth, Texas.
The school of theology added George Klein as an associate professor of Old Testament and Michael Barnett as an associate professor of missions. The school of educational ministries added Margaret Lawson as an assistant professor of foundations of education, while the school of church music added Stanley Warren as an associate professor of voice.
Miles Seaborn, retired pastor of Birchman Baptist Church in Fort Worth, was elected chairman of the trustees March 9. After chairman Ollin Collins resigned just before the fall meeting in October, Seaborn, the vice chairman, stepped in to serve as acting chairman. A trustee since 1993, Seaborn chaired the search committee that recommended Kenneth S. Hemphill to the seminary’s presidency in 1994, and he is immediate past president of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.
The new vice chairman is Michael Dean, pastor of Travis Avenue Baptist, Fort Worth, and the new secretary is Matthew McKellar, pastor of Sylvania Baptist Church, Tyler, Texas.
Klein comes to Southwestern from Criswell College in Dallas, where he has served as a professor since 1984 and as academic dean since 1992. He also was editor of the Criswell Theological Review from 1989-96. Klein has a Ph.D. and a master’s degree from Dropsie College for Hebrew and Cognate Learning, Philadelphia, a master of divinity from Southwestern, and degrees from Dallas Theological Seminary and Baylor University, Waco, Texas.
“Dr. Klein is an incredible linguist in numerous biblical languages,” said Southwestern President Kenneth S. Hemphill. “His classroom evaluations at Criswell College have been outstanding. He is also a well-published author.”
Barnett has been with the International Mission Board since 1989, most recently as administrative associate for North Africa and the Middle East. He has lived in England since 1992. Barnett has a Ph.D. and master of divinity from Southwestern and a bachelor of arts from the University of Houston.
“While we understand Dr. Barnett’s appointment will be a great loss for the IMB, we feel like it will be an opportunity to expand and multiply his impact because Southwestern trains about 51 percent of all Southern Baptist missionaries,” Hemphill said.
“Being able to enlarge and enhance [the missions] program is key to us. That’s who we are,” he said.
Lawson returns to Southwestern from her latest positions as an adjunct professor at Dallas Baptist University and minister of discipleship and prayer at Springdale Baptist Church, Fort Worth. She has worked as director of Southwestern’s curriculum center and earned a Ph.D. and a master of arts in religious education from the school. Lawson earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of South Africa in Pretoria.
“Dr. Lawson will be a wonderful mentor for our ladies,” Hemphill said.
Lawson will also be working with Paula Hemphill to develop Southwestern’s women-in-ministry strategy.
Warren brings a long list of music ministry, education and performance experience to Southwestern. He comes from Oklahoma Baptist University, Shawnee, where he serves as assistant professor of voice and music history. He has a doctorate from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Ky., and master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester, New York City.
Warren has served in the music ministry of churches in Oklahoma, Kentucky and Colorado and performed at numerous churches and with opera companies, symphonies and choirs.
“Dr. Warren is a world-class tenor soloist and has a heart for the local church and a passion for students,” Hemphill said. “He combines those elements that we think are distinctive of our music program.”
In his report to the trustees, Hemphill said:
— Enrollment is growing steadily.
— International student spring enrollment is 188, surpassing the fall record of 181.
— Southwestern is unique among SBC seminaries in its Islamic study focus.
— Keith Kline has been named director of leadership development.
— Phase II plans for the leadership development center are being reviewed by Fort Worth officials and phase I construction should be completed late this summer
— When completed, the leadership development center will be at the heart of Southern Baptist training.
— The seminary’s computers are Y2K compliant.
Hemphill said he was encouraged by the trustees’ enthusiastic affirmation of the theological education in the 21st century committee report given by committee chairman Daryl Eldridge, dean of the school of educational ministries.
Eldridge’s report included the vision statement that Southwestern will be “a community of faith and learning which develops spiritual leaders with a passion for Christ and the Bible, a love for people, and skills to minister in a rapidly changing world.”
“The trustees were so positive, so enthusiastic about Southwestern’s intentionally moving into the 21st century as a dynamic, innovative school built on the historic foundation of good classical teaching … with a greater emphasis on leadership skills and foundational principles such as spiritual formation and evangelism,” Hemphill said.
Eldridge also shared with trustees plans to develop courses that teach core competencies all students will share, no matter what school they are in.
“I think the core value that the trustees were most excited about was the spiritual formation that will involve all our new students in small groups that are faculty-led,” Hemphill said.
Trustees approved the seminary’s $27.3 million budget, an all-time high.
“We are thankful to God and to our Southern Baptist constituency for their continued outstanding giving to the Cooperative Program,” Hemphill said, noting tuition will increase $5 per credit hour to $80, making the total cost per hour the same as in 1997, after a reduction in tuition for the current academic year.
The trustees adopted a resolution thanking Southern Baptists “for their continuing support and affirmation of our Southern Baptist Convention Cooperative Program, the greatest method in history of providing a broad base of support for every phase of our Southern Baptist outreach everywhere, including missions, evangelism and education.”
Southwestern receives 41 percent of its operating funds from the Cooperative Program.
Trustees also adopted a resolution thanking Southwestern’s president, administration, faculty, students, support staff and constituency “for their devotion to their respective tasks God has assigned them here and for approaching these assignments in a proactive manner and God-honoring way with a commitment to excellence.”
Trustees voted to change the name of the ombudsman committee to the trustee liaison committee and to continue to meet with the faculty council, which was formerly the faculty ombudsman committee.
Hemphill said the changes are evidence of continued dialogue and cooperation between the faculty and trustees.

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  • Matt Sanders