FREMONT, Calif. — President Jeff Iorg reported gains in enrollment at Gateway Seminary and mission clarity in planning for the future during the seminary’s recent meeting of the Board of Trustees.
“Our enrollment continues to grow, our financial position remains strong, our morale is good, and our mission is clear,” Iorg said.
Iorg reported a 9.4 percent increase from fall 2018 to fall 2019 in enrolled hours system-wide. The Ontario, Calif., campus and Gateway Online experienced particularly strong growth; enrolled hours in Ontario increased 12.3 percent and online course hours increased 19 percent.
“We are delighted our fall tuition revenue has exceeded the budgeted amount, indicating our growth exceeded our expectations,” Iorg said.
To meet current and future needs, trustees discussed purchasing additional apartments near the campus in Ontario. “This step would solve our housing needs for the next two to three years,” he said. The seminary purchased two apartment complexes when it moved to Ontario and they are now fully occupied.
Gifts to the annual fund increased 15 percent in the 2018-19 fiscal year compared to the previous year. The number of donors increased by almost 40 percent over previous years through the application of a crowdfunding platform and social media campaigns.
“Many of these new donors are Millennials and Generation X-ers,” Iorg said. “They will be the future strong supporters we depend on.”
The sale of the Brea property — site of the former Southern California campus — continues to move forward with a finalized sale expected within six months. The earnings from this sale will be added to the Land Sale Endowment or used to purchase campus housing, Iorg said.
Trustees approved the Gateway Imperative, a new strategic plan designed to guide the seminary through the next decade. The plan was crafted by a task force of Gateway faculty and staff during an 18-month period of research into future student demographics, future trends in graduate education and
projections about Southern Baptist churches in the western United States. Additionally, the task force sought input from students, staff, faculty, trustees, donors and ministry partners.
“The entire seminary community has had a voice in creating this document, as well as key people outside our system,” Iorg said. Gateway faculty endorsed the document in August 2019.
In personnel matters, trustees approved Max Stabenow as the new regional director for Gateway’s San Francisco Campus (SFC) as of January 2020. Current SFC director Rick Durst will transfer to the Ontario campus to serve as a full-time professor of theology.
Iorg shared a story with the trustees about a summer mission trip to South Asia he participated in with Gateway students. While doing street evangelism in a city, Iorg, a student and their translator were invited to a local family’s home. They listened as the family shared their religious beliefs, then a young woman in the home asked about the team’s beliefs.
“The student responded by saying she worshiped Jesus Christ and asked her if they had ever heard of Him,” Iorg said. “The young woman cocked her head to the side and said, ‘No, I have never heard of Him. Who is He?'”
“Everything I love about Gateway crystallized in that moment,” Iorg said.
Iorg watched as his student shared the Gospel and led the young woman to Christ.
“Why are we here? We are here because we believe people need to hear the Gospel and we can train people to share it more effectively,” Iorg said.