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TRUSTEES: SWBTS to build student housing

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s trustees have approved plans for new student housing, with construction to begin this spring and the first phase to be completed by July 2012.

Trustees, in an April 6 meeting, also added new faculty, approved an increase in benefits for career employees, modified the doctor of ministry program and adopted a resolution on marriage.


Southwestern will construct 12 buildings in two phases along Seminary Drive, where the main entrance to the Fort Worth, Texas, campus is located. The first phase, which includes six buildings, will go up in a field adjacent to current student housing. The second phase will replace the oldest section of current student housing, built in 1958.

“The purpose of the seminary is to train students,” said Hance Dilbeck, a Southwestern graduate and newly elected chairman of the board of trustees, “and housing helps us to meet a very important need.” Dilbeck commended the seminary’s administration for “putting together a great plan that is going to be both pleasing to the students and fiscally responsible.”

“I, myself, lived in seminary housing here with my wife and firstborn child,” Dilbeck said. “I know how important it is in building community within the student body, establishing relationships with lifelong peers, and we’re excited to get this project underway as quickly as possible and to see our students and their families enjoying the housing.”

Once completed, the 12 buildings will hold 216 two-bedroom units and 36 three-bedroom units, for a total of 252 units. This doubles the current total of three-bedroom housing options on campus and better provides for families with children. Plans also include a commons area with a playground, pavilion and picnic area.


Trustees elected nine new faculty members and approved 11 faculty promotions, effective Aug. 1:

— Charles Carpenter was elected associate professor of English in the College at Southwestern. Carpenter has served as an instructor at the College of Biblical Studies in Houston since 2006.

— Frank Catanzaro, associate professor of adult education in the Terry School of Church and Family Ministries. Catanzaro served as associate professor of counseling at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., from 1998-2011.

— Travis Dickinson, assistant professor of philosophy and Christian apologetics in the College at Southwestern. Dickinson has served as a graduate assistant and instructor for the University of Iowa since 2006.

— James Johns, professor of biblical studies in the Havard School for Theological Studies in Houston. Johns has served as an associate professor at Houston Baptist University since 2002.

— Thomas Kiker, assistant professor of pastoral ministry in the School of Theology. Kiker has served as pastor of Center Grove Baptist Church in Ahoskie, N.C., since 2001.

— Evan Lenow, assistant professor of ethics in the School of Theology. Lenow has served as an adjunct professor and director of the Riley Center at Southwestern since 2007.

— Patricia Nason was elected professor of foundations of education in the Terry School of Church and Family Ministries. Nason has served as professor and science education department chair for the Institute for Creation Research Graduate School since 2004.

— Stephen Presley, assistant professor of biblical interpretation in the Havard School for Theological Studies in Houston. Presley has served as a graduate assistant and instructor at the University of St. Andrews in St. Andrews, Scotland, since 2008.

— John Wilsey, assistant professor of history and Christian apologetics in the Havard School for Theological Studies in Houston. Wilsey has served as an adjunct professor for Liberty University and an associate pastor at First Baptist Church in Charlottesville, Va., since 2009.


Also during their April session, trustees:

— approved increases in career employee benefits, effective Aug. 1, including adjusting retirement contributions from 5 to 7 percent, offering to match annuity contributions up to 1 percent and granting a salary increase of 1 percent.

— authorized a change in the doctor of ministry degree, shortening it from a four-year program to a three-year program. The new program will consist of two year-long seminars of 12 hours each plus a one-year dissertation.

— adopted a resolution on marriage, underscoring the position set forth by the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. “That was done a little over 10 years ago,” trustee John Brunson said, “so it seemed appropriate to us in the political climate in which we find ourselves that we make an expression that this resolution contains.”

The resolution reads as follows:

Resolution on Marriage

Whereas, numerous pressures upon the traditional view and practice of marriage are occurring within the society of the United States, and;

Whereas, the pressures are both moral and legal, frequently with the support of media and political figures, and;

Whereas, Christians are called upon to speak with clarity and definitiveness as to the position held upon Biblical standards.

Now, therefore, the trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary affirm the definition of marriage as contained in the Baptist Faith & Message 2000 as “uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime.”

— elected three new officers: Hance Dilbeck of Oklahoma as chairman, Jimmy Jackson of Alabama as vice chairman and Harlan Lee of Arizona as secretary. Dilbeck, pastor of Quail Springs Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, previously served as the board’s vice chairman. Trustees also praised the work of Geoff Kolander, who has served as chairman since 2010.
Keith Collier is director of news and information for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas (www.swbts.edu/campusnews). For computer renderings of Southwestern Seminary’s plans for new student housing, go to www.swbts.edu/campusnews/story.cfm?id=358A5C9D-15C5-E47C-F9B803714825F042.

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  • Keith Collier