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Seminary Campaign a Success!

Seminary campaign raises more than $46 million

AUSTIN—On Monday, January 13, 2020, Austin Seminary received confirmation from the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation of Midland, Texas, that it had met the requirements of a $1 million challenge grant they issued in January 2019. With funding completed for The Mary B. and Robert J. Wright Learning and Information Center, the Seminary concludes its Weaving Promise and Practice into Ministry: The Campaign for Austin Seminary, having raised a record $46.23 million to support the Seminary’s mission.

“We are thrilled by what this campaign has allowed Austin Seminary to become,” says Austin Seminary President Theodore J. Wardlaw. “We are humbled by and profoundly grateful for friends near and far who have demonstrated throughout this project their commitment to the Seminary and the value of exceptional theological education.”

Fundraising for the library renovation project, the final component of the campaign, was launched in 2011 with a $2 million commitment from Max and Cassandra Carr of Austin, Texas. Many generous donations followed, including, in 2018, a pledge of $4 million from Mary and Robert J. Wright and Michael and Stacey Wright of Dallas, Texas. The Mabee challenge required that the remaining $6.1 million be raised within one year, a challenge that inspired many alumni and friends toward expressions of generosity and support. Gifts to complete the funding included $2 million from The Walton Family Foundation of Bentonville, Arkansas; $1 million from the Frierson Family of Shreveport, Louisiana: Archer and Ivy Frierson, John and Christy Frierson, Tannie and Jennifer Frierson, and Chris and Paula Frierson; $1 million from The Perot Foundation of Dallas; and $500,000 from Bill and Paula Sample of Shreveport. A gift from Beth and Fort Flowers of Houston, Texas, brought the campaign to its successful conclusion. Importantly, throughout the library component of the campaign, Austin Seminary alumni collectively gave more than $516,000 toward the Digital Education Center—the largest collective graduate gift ever. A ceremonial groundbreaking for the Mary B. and Robert J. Wright Learning and Information Center takes place on February 5, 2020.

In addition to the learning and information center, the accomplishments of the campaign include tangible benefits for students and faculty that will ensure excellence in teaching and learning, reduce the education debt of our graduates, and provide for ongoing professional and spiritual support to pastors and other church leaders. They include funding for:

The John and Sue McCoy House Student Apartment Building

Endowment of the College of Pastoral Leaders

Three Distinguished Faculty Chairs

·      The Clarence N. and Betty B. Frierson Distinguished Chair of Reformed Theology

·      The Edward D. Vickery Sr. Distinguished Chair of Christian Ethics

·      The Blair R. Monie Distinguished Chair of Homiletics

Eleven Student Fellowships covering full tuition and fees, housing, books, and stipend

·      The Clifford J. and Mary K Grum Fellowship

·      The Mert and Betty Cooper Fellowship

·      The Elizabeth Currie Williams Fellowship

·      The Trull-Herlin Family Fellowship

·      The Betty Wilson Jeffrey Fellowship

·      The Grace Presbytery Fellowship

·      The Crawley Family Fellowship

·      The Robert W.B. and Shirley Johnston Fellowship

·      The Hugh H. and Nancy T. Williamson Fellowship

·      The Robert W.B. and Shirley Johnston International Student Fellowship

·      The New Covenant International Fellowship

Over the course of the Weaving Promise and Practice into Ministry campaign, nearly 800 donors made gifts totaling $46,227,155 to Austin Seminary; of those, more than 250 were first-time givers. The campaign was led by Austin Seminary President Theodore J. Wardlaw and directed by Donna Scott, Vice President for Institutional Advancement. John Van Osdall of Houston provided leadership as chair of the Campaign Committee; vice chairs were Cassandra Carr, now of San Antonio, John Hartman, of Houston, and the late John M. McCoy of Dallas. Serving on the committee have been Joseph Clifford, Marvin Cooper, James Crawley, Katherine Cummings, Jackson Farrow Jr., G. Archer Frierson II, Walter Harris, Aquanette Hicks, Eugene McKelvey, Blair Monie, Lyndon Olson Jr., Charles Pistor, Cynthia Rigby, Lana Russell, Anne V. Stevenson, Asante Todd, Karl Travis, Elizabeth Williams, Hugh Williamson, Michael Wright, and Louis Zbinden.

“On behalf of the Weaving Promise and Practice into Ministry campaign leadership, we express our heartfelt thanks to so many friends who made our goal attainable,” says Campaign Chair John Van Osdall. “Their generosity enables Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary to be a center of excellence in equipping our students to share the Christian message with future generations.”