Southwestern Seminary trustees trim budget

FORT WORTH—In their first meeting with newly elected president Adam Greenway April 8-10, trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary approved lowering the budget, transferred investment funds to GuideStone Financial Resources and elected new officers.

Greenway described the 2019-2020 budget as “a recalibration and reset” of the school’s priorities. The $32.6 million budget is a reduction of more than $3 million from what trustees approved a year ago.

“In a time where we must be extraordinarily judicious in conserving resources entrusted to us by the Southern Baptist Convention of churches, by the donors and friends who believe in our work and are willing to invest in us, and the tuition dollars we receive from our students,” Greenway said, “we must make sure we steward and shepherd every dime in a way that is going to enable our seminary to flourish and thrive in an increasingly challenging environment and world.”

Acknowledging that budget cuts involve “some tough choices and some transitions,” Greenway said the action puts Southwestern in a strengthened position.

He emphasized his commitment to residential theological education and “to reprioritize our core degree programs which begin with the master of divinity program, our master of arts in Christian education program and our master of music program.” 

Trustees approved moving endowment funds currently managed by the Southwestern Seminary Foundation to GuideStone Financial Resources. Created in 1998 as the Harold E. Riley Southwestern Foundation and given to the seminary by Riley in 2005, the Foundation will be dissolved once the funds are transferred. A separate entity known as the Harold E. Riley Foundation continues to operate with no connection to SWBTS.

The Board elected Colby T. Adams as vice president of strategic initiatives, overseeing communications, campus technology and other administrative priorities. He also serves as chief of staff. Adams previously served as director of communications at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Patricia Ennis was named distinguished professor emeritus of family and consumer sciences.

In order to correct an oversight at the Feb. 27 called board meeting, trustees elected Randy Stinson as professor of theology and ministry in the School of Theology, having already approved him to the position of provost.

The current bachelor of arts in humanities and biblical studies degree in Scarborough College was eliminated and replaced with a B.A. in Christian studies and a B.A. in humanities.

Graduates for spring and summer commencement who are approved by the faculty and certified by the registration were approved by trustees.

Updates approved to the bylaws included renaming The Jack D. Terry Jr. School of Church and Family Ministries as The Jack D. Terry Jr. School of Educational Ministries, as well as The School of Church Music to The School of Church Music and Worship.

Elected by acclamation to serve as board officers are three Texans—Philip Levant, pastor of Iglesia Bautista La Vid in Hurst as chairman; Danny Roberts, executive pastor of North Richland Hills Baptist Church in North Richland Hills as vice chairman; and Jamie Green, retired speech-language pathologist in Katy as secretary.

“What we’ve experienced the last two days is best described as family,” outgoing chairman Kevin Ueckert shared in closing the meeting. “We will forever be grateful for God’s grace in the midst of this window of opportunity to be a part of what he’s doing.”

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