Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary raises $50 million

sbarr@newsobserver.comFebruary 17, 2014 

The campaign helped pay for renovations to Binkley Chapel.

COURTESY OF SOUTHEASTERN BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY

— The Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary raised more than $50 million over the past decade, funding that the organization said is critical to educating more students.

The fundraising campaign spanned 11 years and brought in an official total of $50.2 million, with $29 million already received and $21 million more in commitments and planned gifts.

The money is being used for some physical improvements on campus, including technology improvements, renovations to Binkley Chapel and the building of Patterson Hall. The latter cost $7.2 million and opened in October of 2008.

The campaign took place at a time when funding from the seminary’s denomination has not increased. Funding levels in 2013 were level compared with 2003, said Daniel Palmer, the director of financial development at the seminary.

However, today the school trains 3,100 students, 700 more than a decade ago. The school’s mission statement said it “seeks to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by equipping students to serve the Church and fulfill the Great Commission.”

“It really emphasizes that private giving to our school has taken on more significance,” Palmer said. The school’s recently adopted strategic plan calls for keeping tuition affordable as a way to support the its mission.

“When students graduate without debt, they are often willing to take bolder risks for the sake of the gospel – leaving the comforts of home and family to plant their lives in new and challenging contexts,” the report said.

The campaign is the biggest the school has ever undertaken, with the final donations that pushed the school over its $50 million goal coming in the final days.

“We had no room for error,” Palmer said. “It worked out, and we're pretty excited about it,”

Ryan Hutchinson, the executive vice president for operations at the seminary said that even with the completion of the campaign, the school will continue to raise money to help pay for facilities improvements and ensure students can access scholarships.

“The needs continue no matter what the successes are,” he said.

During the next decade, the school hopes to build a student center and renovate and expand its library.

Barr: 919-836-4952

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