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Board of Trustees

Officers and Executive Committee

Mr. G. Archer Frierson II, Chair of the Board of Trustees
Shreveport, Louisiana
Trustee since 2010

Archer Frierson is a member manager of Frierson Brothers, LLC of Shreveport, Louisiana. A graduate of Washington and Lee University, he serves on the board of the Washington Society of that school as well as on the boards of Centenary College, the LSU Tiger Athletic and Health Sciences Center Foundations, and on the Military Affairs Council at Barksdale Air Force Base. A lifelong member of First Presbyterian Church, Shreveport, he has been a deacon, elder, and church school teacher for both adults and youth. He most recently served on Austin Seminary’s Capital Campaign Planning Committee, and his father, Clarence Frierson, was a member of the Austin Seminary board for two decades.Dr. Walter Harris Jr

Dr. Walter Harris Jr., Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees
New Orleans, Louisiana
Trustee since 2016
Walter Harris, a member of St. Charles Avenue Presbyterian Church, New Orleans, was provost and vice president for academic affairs of Loyola University until his retirement in 2008. After a year-long sabbatical he returned to teach in Loyola’s College of Music and Fine Arts. His career in education administration spans more than forty years, at the University of North Carolina System, Arizona State University, and Knoxville College in Tennessee. A noted musician and performer, his college and civic choirs have performed internationally. His daughter, Ayana, and son-in-law, Aaron, are both Austin Seminary graduates.

Mr. James Allison, Secretary of the Board of Trustees
Houston, Texas
Trustee since 2014
Jim Allison is retired from ConocoPhillips in Houston, Texas, after working in the oil and gas industry for more than thirty years in strategic planning and risk management. Jim graduated from Princeton University and the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. He has served New Covenant Presbytery on the Permanent Judicial Committee and was a commissioner to the 220th General Assembly (2012). Jim is a ruling elder at Pines Presbyterian Church, Houston, where he has taught an adult Sunday school class for two decades and plays trombone in the Pines Orchestra.

The Reverend Katherine Bywaters Cummings (MDiv’05), Chair, Trustee Committee
Bentonville, Arkansas
Trustee since 2013
Katie Cummings became pastor, head of staff of First Presbyterian Church in Bentonville, Arkansas, in 2015. She previously served as Associate Pastor at Clear Lake Presbyterian Church and Grace Presbyterian Church, both in Houston. In New Covenant Presbytery, she served on General Council and the Committee on Examinations. A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin’s Plan II honors program and Austin Seminary, she is currently pursuing a Doctor of Ministry at Austin Seminary.

The Honorable David Peeples, Academic Affairs Committee
San Antonio, Texas

Trustee since 2010
David Peeples is a member of First Presbyterian Church in San Antonio, where he has served eight terms as a ruling elder and taught all levels of Sunday school.After graduating from Austin College and the University of Texas School of Law, he practiced law in Houston and San Antonio and eventually served twenty-three years on the trial and appellate courts in San Antonio. Now semi-retired, he administers the 22-county Fourth Administrative Judicial Region of Texas and occasionally fills in for trial courts around the state.

Mr. Jackson Farrow Jr., Chair, Investment Committee
Little Rock, Arkansas
Trustee since 2011
Jackson Farrow is general counsel and managing director at Stephens Capital Partners, LLC, an affiliate of Stephens Inc. Farrow is a graduate of Davidson College and the University of Arkansas, where he earned both his masters of science in accounting and his law degree. He is a member of Second Presbyterian Church in Little Rock and serves as the Seminary’s representative to the Texas Presbyterian Foundation.

Mr. John S. Hartman, Chair, Audit Committee
Houston, Texas
Trustee since 2012
John Hartman is vice chair of the Austin Seminary’s “Weaving Promise and Practice into Ministry” Campaign Steering Committee. Now retired, he formerly owned Lubrication Systems Company. His wife, Judye, has also been a trustee. John has degrees in chemical engineering for University of Texas and MIT and an MBA from Harvard. He serves on the board of Brazos Presbyterian Homes, mentors students and business owners, and is involved in the Business as Mission movement. He and Judye are members of St. Philip Presbyterian Church in Houston.

The Reverend Lana Russell, Chair, Institutional Advancement Committee
Austin, Texas
Trustee since 2013
Lana Russell is owner and member manager of LER Resources, Ltd., a family partnership with mineral and land assets in several states, but primarily in the Permian Basin. She studied at Austin Seminary before receiving Master of Divinity and Master of Theology degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary. Lana served churches in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, West Trenton and Toms River, New Jersey, and Darien, Connecticut.  She also served as director for alumni/ae and church relations for Austin Seminary. She is a member of Mission Presbytery and is parish associate at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Austin.

Ms. Lita Simpson, Vice Chair, Student Life Committee
McAllen, Texas
Trustee since 2011

Lita Simpson retired in 2018 as director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for Mission Presbytery. She is an elder and youth sponsor at First Presbyterian Church, McAllen, Texas. She has served in many capacities in the presbytery and in the wider church, including: directing youth conferences at Mo Ranch and Montreat, serving on one the Triennium Planning Teams where she has served  for 11 conferences in various capacities, serving on the Montreat Board of Directors, and serving a six-year term on the General Assembly Nominating Committee and two terms on the presbytery Committee on Preparation for Ministry. She was recently elected to serve on the Educator Certification Committee class of 2020.

Mr. Carlton Wilde Jr.,  Vice-Chair, Finance and Administration Committee
Houston, Texas
Trustee since 2011

Carlton Wilde is a partner at Crady, Jewett & McCulley LLP in Houston, Texas. He practices general commercial litigation, with an emphasis on contract disputes, shareholder suits, employment law, trade secrets litigation, commercial landlord-tenant law, and legal malpractice defense. He attended the College of William and Mary and received a degree in economics from The University of Texas. He graduated from the University of Houston College of Law, where he was the senior associate editor of the Houston Law Review. A former clerk of session, he is a member of First Presbyterian Church, Houston.

 

Board Members

The Reverend Dr. Janice Bryant (MDiv’01, DMin’10)

Austin, Texas
Trustee since 2014
Janice Bryant serves as associate minister at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Austin, Texas. In 2002 she became the first Baptist female to be ordained in Austin. Janice is involved in leadership, communication, and educational outreach at her church and has been involved in spirituality counseling at an Austin residential substance abuse facility. She came to ministry from a 20-year career in education as a teacher specializing in Gifted Child Education and as a public school administrator. Janice earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Jackson State University and the University of Southern Mississippi and both her Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Austin Seminary.

Ms. Claudia Carroll
Tyler, Texas
Trustee since 2011
Claudia Carroll is a member at First Presbyterian Church, Tyler, having served as deacon and ruling elder. She serves on the boards of PATH  (People Attempting to Help), an agency in Tyler serving those in need, and the Tyler Museum of Art. She sings with the Tyler Civic Chorale and the First Presbyterian Church Chancel Choir. She is also a free-lance flutist.

The Reverend Dr. Thomas Christian Currie
Shreveport, Louisiana
Trustee since 2015
Chris Currie has been pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Shreveport, Louisiana, since 2013. He served Calypso Presbyterian Church in North Carolina before earning his PhD in systematic theology at the University of Edinburgh, during which he served as a chaplain at Edinburgh Prison. He serves on the editorial board of the Scottish Parliamentary Review and is active in the Karl Barth Society of North America and Pines Presbytery.

The Reverend Dr. Jill Duffield (DMin'13)
Charlottesville, Virginia
Trustee since 2017
Jill Duffield is the editor of The Presbyterian Outlook, the first woman to serve as editor of the publication in its 157 year history. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a BA in history. Her graduate studies include an MDiv degree from Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, a doctor of ministry degree from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary with a concentration in preaching, and studies in medieval church history at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Beth Blanton Flowers
Houston, Texas

Trustee since 2015

Beth Flowers is in private practice in psychiatry and is also an associate professor at the Baylor College of Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, Houston, Texas. She is an elder at St. Philip Presbyterian Church where she has also served as a deacon, a church school teacher, youth advisor, and as a member of numerous committees. Her community involvement includes Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services and The Gathering Place. Beth previously served nine years as an Austin Seminary Trustee from 2004-2013.

Mr. Stephen Giles
Dallas, Texas
Trustee since 2016
Stephen Giles is executive producer for UnRestricted Access and America Up Close, and has worked as an advertising, sales, and marketing executive with multiple Fortune 1000 companies. He is a member of Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church in Dallas.

The Reverend Jesús “Jesse” González (MDiv’92)
Austin, Texas
Trustee since 2015
Jesse González is the new interim pastor for New Covenant Presbyterian Church, Austin. He was formerly stated supply of First Presbyterian Church in McAllen, Texas. Previously he was organizing pastor to two Hispanic new church developments: Misión Presbiteriana Hispana in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and Comunidad Presbiteriana Hispana in Springdale, Arkansas. A native of Mexico, Jesse is a 1992 graduate of Austin Seminary.

The Reverend Bobbi Kaye Jones (MDiv'80)

Austin, Texas
Trustee since 2017
Bobbi Kaye retired in 2018 from her position as senior pastor of Tarrytown United Methodist Church in Austin. Previously she served four years as a district superintendent in Rio Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church. Jones received a BA in Liberal Arts Plan II from the University of Texas at Austin in 1977 and an MDiv from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in 1980.

The Reverend Keatan King
Houston, TX
Trustee since 2016
Keatan King is associate pastor at St. Philip Presbyterian Church in Houston, Texas. She serves the Congregational Resourcing Committee of New Covenant Presbytery. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Austin College with a bachelor of arts in cultural anthropology and Spanish and received her Master of Divinity degree from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. She is the daughter of Austin Seminary alumnus and former board member Carter King.

Mr. Steve LeBlanc
Austin, Texas
Trustee since 2015
Steve LeBlanc is the founding partner of CapRidge Partners, a real estate operating company in Austin. Previously he managed $45 billion real estate and private equity portfolio for the Teacher Retirement System of Texas. He is a trustee and governor of the Urban and Land Institute and is the advisory director of the Real Estate and Finance Council and professor at the McCombs School of Business at UT where he led the creation of the Real Estate Certificate Program for undergraduate students.

Dr. J. Sloan Leonard
Dallas, Texas
Trustee since 2016
Sloan Leonard is a pathologist and co-founder of DPA Laboratories. He is general partner with JSL Investments LTD and co-founder and director of Pegasus Bank in Dallas. A member of Highland Park Presbyterian Church in Dallas, he served on the HPPC Foundation (2003-10), as director of the investment committee for the Texas Presbyterian Foundation (2009-2014), and as chairman of the steering committee for Wee Kirk Presbyterian Church in Linville, North Carolina (2007-2012). He currently serves on the boards of Hydrotex Holdings Inc. and the Center for Non-Profit Management in Dallas.

Ms. Sue B. McCoy
Dallas, Texas
Trustee since 2015
Sue McCoy was a staff therapist at the Pastoral Counseling Center in Dallas for twenty years before transitioning to coordinator of marketing and event planning for the next fifteen; she retired in 2014. She holds degrees from the University of Texas and the University of North Texas. She is a ruling elder, having served at NorthPark Presbyterian Church and Highland Park Presbyterian Church, both in Dallas. She has served on the Committee on Preparation for Ministry for Grace Presbytery and on the Board of Directors of the Pastoral Counseling Center, and was recently elected to the Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church Foundation Board. Her late husband, John, was a trustee emeritus at Austin Seminary.

The Reverend Matthew Miller (MDiv’03)
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Trustee since 2015
Matthew Miller became pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Albuquerque, in 2013; he previously served churches in Sioux City, Iowa, and Pulaski, Tennessee. A graduate of The University of Colorado and Austin Seminary, he was a Commissioner to the 220th General Assembly and serves on the Committee on Preparation for the Presbytery of Santa Fe. He has been engaged with his communities through his participating in Albuquerque Religious and Clergy United, a multi-faith coalition aligned to speak out in response to officer-involved shooting deaths in Albuquerque, and on the boards of Hearts with Haiti and Siouxland CARES.

W. David Pardue 
Oklahoma City, OK
Trustee since 2018
David is a partner in the law firm of Hall Estill in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He holds degrees from the University of Oklahoma and the OU School of Law. He has been a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church since 1974. where he has served in all areas, as a deacon, elder, chair of the Personnel Committee, Executive Committee, clerk of session, teacher and choir member. He is a member of the Rotary Club in OKC and the Porsche Club of America.

Ms. Denise Nance Pierce (MATS'11)
Austin, TX
Trustee since 2017
Denise is the founding principal of The Law Office of Denise Nance Pierce in Austin, Texas. She also serves as the Women’s Ministry Leader at the Greater Mount Zion Baptist Church, Austin. At the center of the development of Texas’s public charter school law and regulation, she was vice president and general counsel for the Texas Charter Schools Association and has served on the National Advisory Council of the Alliance of Public Charter School Attorneys. She has a BA in political science and economics from Texas A&M University and the JD from The University of Texas at Austin School of Law. She earned the Master of Arts (Theological Studies) from Austin Seminary in 2011.

The Reverend Mark Ramsey
Austin, Texas
Trustee since 2016
Mark Ramsey is senior pastor at Westlake Hills Presbyterian Church in Austin. He serves on the Committee on Ministry for Mission Presbytery. He is associate editor for the Journal of Preachers and has served as an adjunct instructor at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and on the Macedonian Ministry faculty.

Mr. Conrad  M. Rocha
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Trustee since 2015
Conrad Rocha is executive director of Law Access New Mexico, a not-for-profit law firm providing free civil legal services to New Mexico’s poor. He is also the Stated Clerk / Executive of the Synod of the Southwest. Deeply involved in the PC(USA),  he was vice president at the Menaul School and served on the Board of Directors of the Board of Pensions, the General Assembly Council,  the Presbyterian Investment & Loan Program, Westminster Gardens Retirement Center (California), the Presbytery of Santa Fe, and has served on the Platform Team of the 211th through 221st General Assemblies . He is also member of the System Planning Work Group for the New Mexico Access to Justice Commission of the State of New Mexico.

The Reverend Matthew E. Ruffner
Dallas, Texas
Trustee since 2016
Matthew Ruffner is senior pastor at Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church in Dallas, Texas. Previously he was associate pastor for mission at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Atlanta and director of Sunday night youth programs. Ruffner has served as a consultant for the Cousins Family Foundation, working with the Cousins Fellowship Program for Seminaries. He has also worked as an admissions associate at Columbia Seminary.

Ms. Martha Crawley Tracey
Denver, Colorado
Trustee since 2015
Martha Tracey is vice president of Crawley Ventures, a subsidiary of Crawley Petroleum Corporation. Crawley Ventures invests in alternative assets including venture capital, real estate, and private equity.  Martha is a member of Montview Boulevard Presbyterian Church in Denver, Colorado. At Montview, Martha has served as President of the board of the Montview Foundation and also on the Youth Minister search committee. A lover of the arts, she has been a supporter of Opera Colorado and the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver for many years. Through the Crawley Family Foundation, Martha has also supported Friendship Bridge, a social finance nonprofit that provides microcredit and education for women in Guatemala. Martha has an MBA from the Yale School of Management and a BA in Economics from Williams College. She is the daughter of former Austen Seminary trustee James Crawley.

Mr. John Van Osdall
Houston, TX
Trustee since 2017
John Van Osdall is executive vice president of USI Southwest. A member of St. Philip Presbyterian Church, Houston, he is on the board of Faith in Practice, which serves the poor in Guatemala through short-term surgical, medical, and dental mission trips and health-related educational programs. He also serves on the board of Mo-Ranch Conference Center. Van Osdall previously served on Austin Seminary’s Board for three terms and currently chairs the Seminary’s Weaving Promise & Practice into Ministry capital campaign.

The Reverend Dr. David White
Faculty Representative since 2018
David White is The C. Ellis and Nancy Gribble Nelson Professor of Christian Educations, Professor in Methodist Studies. He joined Austin Seminary faculty in 2005. His interest in the formation of young Christians is informed by work at the Youth Theological Initiative at Candler School of Theology (Emory University, Atlanta) and the Youth Methodist churches he served in California, Mississippi, and Alaska. He is author of three books and serves on the Advisory Board for the Yale Divinity School project Theology of Joy & the Good Life. 


Ms. Elizabeth Williams
Dallas, TX
Trustee since 2017
Elizabeth Williams retired as CFO then treasurer of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, for nineteen years. She earned degrees from Rhodes College and the University of Virginia and did graduate study at Yale University and the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard Business School. Williams served as director on corporate boards including Chaparral Steel Company, Texas Industries Inc., and Sterling Bancshares, and is active in community and church service organizations including The Hockaday School, the Summerlee Foundation, and NorthPark Presbyterian Church where she is an elder. Elected the first woman to chair Austin Seminary’s Board of Trustees in 2002, she is the daughter, granddaughter, sister, and sister-in-law of Austin Seminary graduates.

Mr. Michael G. Wright
Dallas, Texas

Trustee since 2015
Michael Wright is president of Medical Cities, Inc., which manages and leases Medical City Dallas, a 1.7 million-square-foot, 668-bed hospital and medical office complex in north Dallas. He is also a partner, overseeing the operations, of Business Jet Center and Business Jet Access which have grown to become the largest FBO and charter/management companies based at Dallas Love Field. He serves on the Board of Texas Christian University, Austin College, and Presbyterian Communities and Services. He has been an active member of  Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church since 1969.


Trustees Emeriti

Max R. Sherman
, Austin, Texas
B.W. Sonny Payne
Louis H. Zbinden Jr., 
San Antonio, Texas




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