News Articles

Undergraduate college renamed in Leavells’ honor at NOBTS

NEW ORLEANS (BP)–Honoring the legacy left by George Washington and Corra (Berry) Leavell and their extended family, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary trustees have voted to change the name of the institution’s College of Undergraduate Studies to Leavell College.

The new name recognizes the Leavells’ nine sons and their families, eight of whom have served in full-time vocational ministry as pastors, evangelists, missionaries and denominational leaders throughout the Southern Baptist Convention. Among the brothers were Frank, who pioneered in Southern Baptist student work, serving as a longtime leader of the Baptist Student Union of the Sunday School Board (now LifeWay Christian Resources); Landrum P., who was the first director the Baptist Young Peoples Union and worked at the Sunday School Board; and Roland Q., who served as evangelism director for the Home Mission Board (now North American Mission Board) and later as president of New Orleans Seminary.

Other brothers included James Berry, an evangelist and pastor who served churches across the Southeast; and Leonard O., another pastor in the Southeast and father of NOBTS’ seventh president, Landrum P. Leavell II; George Walne and Ullin Whitney, who served as missionaries in China; Clarence Stanley, who served on the Arkansas state mission board; and Arnaud Bruce, who served as a dentist in Hollywood, Calif.

“We are thrilled about the name change from the College of Undergraduate Studies to Leavell College,” said Thomas Strong, dean of the college. “The Leavell legacy is one of effectiveness in ministry and the indwelling desire of men of God to be used to change the world.

“Our prayer and our goal is for that same legacy to continue through our students — a desire for them to be effective in their ministries and to be world changers as God uses them.”

Noting that the seminary’s undergraduate program is one of the leading programs in the Southern Baptist Convention, Kelley said the new name would be more identifiable and would bring even more recognition to its ministry. The college was established in 1992 by Landrum P. Leavell II, making the name change all the more appropriate, he said.

In addition to the name change, the seminary trustees designated the eventual proceeds of a life insurance policy on Landrum P. Leavell II to be used to endow the college. Valued at $1.5 million, these funds are the first endowment the college has received and will launch the Leavell College Fund. Leavell was Kelley’s predecessor and served as president for 20 years.

“By any standard of measure, Landrum P. Leavell II excelled as president,” Kelley said. “His legacy will now include both starting and endowing Leavell College.”

Leavell College offers a foundational bachelor of arts degree in Christian ministry, but also has certificate-level classes for lay persons, a diploma program for those without high school diplomas or GEDs and fully accredited associate and baccalaureate degrees.

Designed with today’s chaurches and ministers in mind, the curriculum is based on eight competencies: biblical expositions, Christian/theological heritage, servant leadership, interpersonal relationships, spiritual and character formation, disciplemaking, worship leadership and life skills. The classes are offered in a variety of convenient formats and schedules, including short-term workshops, Internet courses, night tracks and one-day-a-week classes as well as the tradition on-campus daily format.

“Our college provides a wonderful blend of opportunities for spiritual growth and academic preparation,” Strong said. “We are excited to see what God is doing among us.”

For more information, contact Student Enlistment at 800-662-8701, ext. 3303; [email protected]; or www.nobts.edu.

The Leavell name has played a major role in the history of New Orleans Seminary since 1946, including:

Two NOBTS presidents: Roland Quinche Leavell, the seminary’s fourth president, who served from 1946-58 and his nephew, Landrum P. Leavell II, who served from 1975-94, plus an additional year as interim president.

Two endowed professorial chairs: The Roland Q. Leavell Chair of Evangelism and the Landrum P. Leavell Chair of New Testament.

The Roland Q. Leavell Chapel: Built in 1959, the chapel honors the man who led in the purchase of the current seminary property on Gentilly Boulevard and gradually moved the seminary family from New Orleans’ Garden District to the campus in eastern New Orleans as buildings were constructed.

The Corra Berry Leavell President’s Home: Roland Leavell was the eighth of nine sons of George Washington and Corra Alice (Berry) Leavell, a deeply committed Christian woman and prayer warrior.

The Mrs. Leonard O. Leavell Lectures: Roland Leavell’s brother, Leonard, also a preacher, married Annie Glenn Elias. They had three children, one of whom was Landrum P. Leavell II. Landrum, his sister, Margaret, and other family members endowed a lecture series specifically for student wives in memory of Annie, a woman who found great joy in the life of the ministry.

The Landrum P. Leavell II Center for Evangelism and Church Health: Landrum Leavell was a pastor and church growth specialist for 20 years before he was elected NOBTS president. He started Southern Baptists’ first Center for Evangelism and Church Growth on the NOBTS campus in 1991. When Leavell retired, seminary trustees renamed the center in his honor.

Women’s Auxiliary: Roland Leavell’s wife, Lillian, created the Women’s Auxiliary, an organization to help fund scholarships for wives of fulltime students.

Certificate of Excellence Program: Landrum Leavell’s wife, Jo Ann, started and developed a full curriculum of free courses for student wives, also providing free childcare.

Jo Ann Leavell Clothing Fund for Student Wives: Also began by Jo Ann Leavell, this endowment fund generates money for clothes for needy student wives.

Leavell Museum: Located on the west wing of the Roland Q. Leavell Chapel, the Leavell Museum houses photographs and framed articles about the Leavell family and their involvement throughout Baptist history.

    About the Author

  • Shannon Baker

    Shannon Baker is director of communications for the Baptist Resource Network of Pennsylvania/South Jersey and editor of the Network’s weekly newsletter, BRN United.

    Read All by Shannon Baker ›