DALLAS—Criswell College trustees promoted three professors to “elected faculty” status and heard reports of a $1.2 million gift to the school from an anonymous donor.
“It’s about ministry, about people, about students. This is an anonymous donor, but he’s given this gift through the W.A. Criswell Foundation,” Criswell President Jerry Johnson told trustees gathered April 8 at the Dallas school. “It’s a real shot in the arm.”
The funds became immediately available and will go toward scholarships, three additional faculty positions, distance education and student missions, Johnson added.
Trustees heard a much-improved financial report over the same period last year, with net spending under budget, year to date, by about $6,000.
“We are ahead in every category—every category—than where we were this time last year,” Johnson said in his board report.
Trustees also approved a motion allowing Johnson to explore land and fund-raising options for a potential move of the campus, now located at 4010 Gaston Ave., east of downtown Dallas.
At least three times during the meeting, trustees paused for prayer, giving thanks twice for financial blessings and once for God’s direction after approving the motion to explore a campus relocation.
Mike Rodgers, vice president for business and chief financial officer, told trustees the school has a year-to-date net income of $113,000 compared to a net loss of $1.2 million during the same period last year. Also, the school’s endowments are “up considerably” over last year, to about $11.7 million, largely due to a market rise, Rodgers said.
The school awarded $316,000 in scholarships and awards this academic year, “which I think is pretty significant for a college our size,” Rodgers added.
After hearing the financial report, trustee Calvin Wittman, pastor of Applewood Baptist Church in Wheat Ridge, Colo., called on the board to offer a thanksgiving prayer, adding, “I think that God has demonstrated his hand on this school, and has done so financially and tangibly.”
Trustees elected to the faculty three professors who previously served under presidential appointment.
Daniel Streett was promoted to associate professor of Greek and New Testament, Kevin Warstler to associate professor of Hebrew and Old Testament, and David Henderson to professor and Hope for the Heart Chair of Counseling.
Also, trustees granted to Alan Streett the title of W.A. Criswell Chair of Expository Preaching and professor of biblical exegesis, and a one-year sabbatical to Joseph Wooddell, associate professor of philosophy, to pursue additional post-graduate study. Wooddell would be available, if needed, for a limited teaching role, Johnson said.
Johnson told trustees of Wooddell’s book, “The Beauty of the Faith: Using Aesthetics for Christian Apologetics,” published this year by Wipf and Stock Publishers of Eugene, Ore.
Also, Daniel Streett became the first Southern Baptist published by prestigious European academic book house De Gruyter of Berlin, Germany, for “They Went Out From Us: The Identity of the Opponents in First John.”
The motion to authorize Johnson to “begin looking for alternate campus property and seek significant donor opportunities towards the development of a new campus” was approved after discussion of maintenance costs and space limitations at the current campus, the site of the former Gaston Avenue Baptist Church.
In his report to trustees, Johnson said the college must stay faithful to the evangelism and Bible training emphases of W.A. Criswell “but we must also be training other kinds of Christian leaders.”
“We need to continually think about equipping other kinds of Christian leaders, so some of these motions you are going to see today are about that kind of development,” Johnson said.
In discussing a potential campus relocation, trustee Ed Rawls said lack of a traditional campus setting is a hindrance to attracting some students.
Rawls, chair of the properties committee, told the board the school could potentially spend millions of dollars in upgrades, but only if it opts to stay put.
“We are to the point where we either spend some serious money [in upgrades] or begin the process of exploring the possibility of moving to another campus,” he said.
“We think the next step is to authorize our president to look at the possibility of land.”
Trustees also authorized the board’s executive committee to contract with Lincoln Properties of Dallas for housing up to 30 students at apartments about one mile from the campus. Student costs would be in the $325-$400 per month range, student services committee chairman John Mann said.