Southeastern establishes first endowed directorship, Board of Trustees elects first female chair

On Tuesday, April 10, Scott Hildreth was installed as the George Liele director of the Lewis A. Drummond Center for Great Commission Studies, the first endowed directorship at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS).

This endowment was one of many other notable decisions made at the bi-annual Southeastern Society (SES) and Board of Trustees (BOT) meetings April 8-10.

The election of officers was a historic moment in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). A thorough examination of SBC Annuals indicates that Becky Gardner will serve as the first female Board of Trustees chair for a Southern Baptist seminary. Additionally, Adrianne Miles was elected as an assistant professor of English and linguistics, the first female elected to the SEBTS faculty in 15 years.

BOT members approved the following decisions during Tuesday’s plenary sessions:

  • A $29.1 million budget for 2018-2019
  • Adrianne Miles, assistant professor of English and linguistics, elected to faculty
  • Tate Cockrell, associate professor of counseling, elected to faculty
  • Chip Hardy promoted to associate professor of Old Testament and Semitic languages
  • Allan Moseley promoted to senior professor of Old Testament and Hebrew
  • Keith Whitfield promoted to associate professor of theology
  • Curriculum revisions and new curriculum additions to include a Doctor of Education with an emphasis in biblical counseling, a Master of Arts in Christian studies in Spanish and an Associates of Arts in Bible and theology
  • Three new endowment accounts: Panichello Student Aid Fund, DeForest Student Aid Fund and Swann Missions Aid Fund
  • Becky Gardner elected as chair, Thomas Mach elected as vice chairman, Alex Gonzales elected as secretary and Charles Cranford elected as treasurer


In his address at the BOT and SES dinner, SEBTS President Danny Akin emphasized the theological progress of the school.

“You are witnessing a miracle in what is today Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. It is a miracle worth believing in; it is a miracle worth praying for; it is a miracle worth supporting,” said Akin.

Akin delivered a report of the school to SES members Monday morning and to BOT members on Monday afternoon.

Some notable achievements he included were:

  • A 13.9 percent increase in enrollment, nearing 4,000 students by the end of the academic year
  • An 8.4 percent increase in the non-white student population since 2010
  • A 9 percent increase in the female population since 2010
  • A 21 percent increase in accepted applications in the last year


David Platt, president of the International Mission Board and pastor-teacher at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C., preached at Tuesday’s chapel service.

Following Platt’s sermon, 14 International Church Planting students were commissioned to go out to serve in many unreached parts of the world.

SEBTS also honored two outgoing BOT members, Daniel Godfrey and Todd Linn, during Tuesday’s chapel service.

SES members began their meetings Sunday night by hearing from one of Southeastern’s newest preaching faculty member, Ronjour Locke. Locke is an instructor of preaching and urban ministry and started at SEBTS in January of this year.

On Monday afternoon, the Southeastern Women’s Fellowship hosted a lunch to highlight scholarships awarded to female students. The goal of the Women’s Fellowship is to provide multiple tuition scholarships each year and opportunities for participants to advance the support and encouragement of female students. The lunch honored the 2018 scholarship recipients, and attendees raised an additional $4,850 so that more women can receive theological training and impact the kingdom.

SES members give at least $1,000 to SEBTS each year and partner with the school to help train students in living out the Great Commission wherever they go. To learn more, please visit

The next BOT and SES meetings will be held Oct. 14-16.

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