SEBTS trustees OK $50 million campaign
April 19 2002 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

SEBTS trustees OK $50 million campaign | Friday, April 19, 2002

Friday, April 19, 2002

SEBTS trustees OK $50 million campaign

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

Construction at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) will soon bloom over the town of Wake Forest if a new trustee plan is successful. Trustees approved a 10-year, $50 million fund-raising campaign during their spring meeting on the SEBTS campus April 15-16. The campaign, which will be called "Scholarship on Fire," must be submitted to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Executive Committee for approval later this year.

During his president's report, SEBTS president Paige Patterson introduced consultant Jerold Panas of Chicago to make "what is perhaps the most significant presentation made during my tenure." Patterson said that whenever he should leave SEBTS, he wants the new administration to inherit adequate facilities and "not have too hard a mountain to climb." The trustees had previously identified $50 million in needs during the next 10 years, he said, and sought Panas' help in evaluating the seminary's prospects of raising $20 million in the initial phase.

Panas said his study was designed to determine how people felt about the seminary and its leadership, how the economy and competing campaigns might impact the drive, whether good leadership could be recruited, and what was the proper timing and strategy.

His research involved 15 visits with people capable of making or influencing large gifts. Nearly all of the people contacted were members of the Board of Trustees or the Board of Visitors, he said, noting that the responses admittedly came from "family" who already loved the seminary.

Never had he seen such passion among supporters of a school, Panas said, or such united support for an institutional president or CEO. "It's off the chart," he said, citing a common response "he's my hero." Panas cited the close working relationship between Paige and Dorothy Patterson, who were credited with the "extraordinary transformation" of the seminary over the past 10 years.

Panas said SEBTS is "a great institution whose wave has not crested," with "a strong leader and a great development staff."

His only reservation, Panas said, was the seminary's lack of a long history from which to recruit donors. "The seminary was founded in 1950," he said, "but it is really only 10 years old. Anything that happened before Patterson doesn't exist."

As a result, Panas recommended a Phase 1 goal of $16.5 million rather than $20 million, adding that Patterson's popularity would require him to take an active role in raising the funds.

Panas encouraged the trustees by saying, "Remember that you're only 10 years old, but what you've got, you've got in spades." Panas cited fervor, passion and commitment as characterizing the school.

Patterson said he was disappointed that the goal was less than $20 million, but could accept $16.5 million as a first phase goal. He said the seminary would try to meet the goal within 12 months of SBC Executive Committee approval.

Campus Planning Trustees voted to adopt a campus planning committee report that calls for a major renovation of the western part of the campus. The current cafeteria and former Ruby Reid Child Care Center are to be razed and replaced with a 40,000 square foot student center that will house health and counseling services, classrooms, a large dining hall, a new bookstore and a coffee shop.

In addition, plans call for Wingate Street to be closed between Stadium Drive and N.C. 98. The town of Wake Forest will give the street to the seminary, Patterson said, in exchange for other land to be used for a new connector.

A new pedestrian walkway is to run from Stealey Hall to a plaza between the new student center and the current Ledford Center, extending on to a new library to be constructed at a future date.

Trustees voted to proceed with retaining an architect to draw plans for the student center, demolition of the two existing buildings and site preparation for the new building, with the cost to come from funds previously earmarked for renovation of the Ruby Reid Center.

Patterson told the Recorder that the seminary could have the former cafeteria and Ruby Reid Center razed at no cost by donating them to the fire department for training exercises.

ATS and SACS Patterson also reported that the seminary has hosted visitation committees from two accrediting agencies, the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). He reported that hosting the committees had cost the seminary more than $70,000, not including the time put in by SEBTS personnel.

ATS already has granted continuation of the seminary's accreditation. The SACS report is expected this summer, and is expected to be positive, Patterson said.

The committees raised many minor issues that were easily corrected, Patterson said, and three larger concerns.

The first was that the seminary's college program, called "Southeastern College at Wake Forest," operated corporately under the same corporate papers as the seminary but was not described as a division of the seminary in publications or on diplomas. "We have to incorporate the college separately," Patterson said, "or adjust the literature and publications to show that the college is a division of the seminary."

Trustees chose the latter option, approving a new statement of purpose that incorporates the college as a division of the seminary. The statement identifies the school's purpose as training men and women for leadership roles in Baptist churches, and closely ties the school with the 2000 version of the Baptist Faith and Message (BF&M).

The accrediting agencies were also concerned about faculty overload, Patterson said. SEBTS requires faculty members to teach only 20 hours per year, but allows them to teach voluntary overloads for an additional stipend. Patterson said up to seven new faculty members would be added by the fall semester, addressing the issue quickly.

The third major issue related to the library, where an undersized staff has been unable to keep up in cataloging new books and getting them on the shelves, Patterson said. The bulk of an unexpected gift of $157,000 from the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention is being used to hire additional staff members and to increase the collection in some areas noted by the agencies, he said.

Missions Patterson said the "2X2" program, which sends students onto the field for two years of experience in church planting, "is proceeding at an unbelievable rate." He said new church starts were ahead of schedule in New Hampshire and Vermont, and that a new work was being started in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

He gave positive reports from Utah, Arizona and Toronto, as well.

Budget Trustees approved a budget of $17.64 million, with just more than $7 million coming from the SBC Cooperative Program. The administration had recommended one percent raises for faculty and none for the other staff, but trustees amended the recommendation to give across the board raises of three percent.

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4/19/2002 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments
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