Mary and Robert J. Wright Pledge $2.5 Million to Establish The Blair R. Monie Distinguished Chair in Homiletics

Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary has received a $2.5 million pledge from Mary and Robert J. (Bob) Wright of Dallas, Texas, to establish The Blair R. Monie Distinguished Chair in Homiletics, in honor of the long-time pastor of Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church in Dallas and former trustee for Austin Seminary.

With this gift the Wrights honor their pastor, Blair Monie, for his work at Preston Hollow. Monie recently announced he will retire after 18 years of service in June 2014. The Wrights believe that dedicating a faculty chair in homiletics (preaching) in his name recognizes and celebrates his gift for preaching and ensures that Austin Seminary can continue to prepare and send strong preachers into the church.

“We have always believed that the most important function of a living, vibrant church is the education, study, and delivery of the Word. Blair Monie has always been able to deliver an exciting and interesting explanation of the many ‘hard to understand’ messages that the Bible possesses. His sermons always hold one's interest as well as cause us to think about the many new ways these messages can be understood,” Bob Wright said. “This is indeed an art and a talent, and we know that we are being selfish in wishing Blair would remain at PHPC. Perhaps our Lord has bigger and better jobs in store for him.” 

“We are thrilled and deeply grateful for this generous act by Mary and Bob Wright,” Austin Seminary President Theodore J. Wardlaw said. “Throughout their life together, the Wrights have been so very supportive of numerous church-related causes, and this gift will both enhance in a marvelous way the Seminary’s commitment to the teaching of preaching and honor a pastor who has embodied best practices in preaching and leadership throughout his ministry. The future church will be their grateful beneficiary.”

The Wrights are active members of Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church, and are well known in and beyond the Dallas business community. Mary Wright is an artist, teacher, and interior designer specializing in hospitals, churches, banks, and offices. She founded Medical Space Design, Inc., and also heads MSD Air. She and Bob raised two children and have five grandchildren.

Bob Wright is an elder at Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church and past chairman of the Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church Foundation. Wright is the founder of Medical City Dallas, Business Jet Center Dallas, Business Jet Center Oakland, Business Jet Access, Medical Cities, Inc., Shadin Avionics, and TWG, Inc., which has entities in health care, aviation, aircraft avionics, real estate, energy, and Internet technologies. He is past president of the Medical Group Management Association, the College of Medical Care Administrators, of which is a Distinguished Fellow, and the Center for Research.

Blair Monie served on Austin Seminary’s Board of Trustees from 2003-2012. He has been a member-at-large of the General Assembly Council and as chair of the Congregational Ministries Division of PC(USA), which is responsible for the denomination’s overall resources to the church, including Christian education, curriculum, and theological institutions. He has also served on the boards of THR Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, Presbyterian Communities and Services, the Pastoral Advisory Council of the Board of Pensions, and the advisory council of the Dallas Theater Center.