Southeastern Honors Keesee Staff and Board Members and Announces Two New Scholarships

On Thursday, September 29, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and The College at Southeastern welcomed to campus the staff and board members of the Charles B. Keesee Educational Fund. Danny Akin, President of Southeastern, honored the longstanding support of the Keesee Fund by presenting Keesee staff and board members with the Southeastern President’s Award.

“It is quite obvious that we could not accomplish many of the things we do in training men and women for the gospel ministry without your financial support,” Akin told Keesee staff and board of trustees. “Only Heaven will reveal what your gifts have meant.” 

Since 2006, the Keesee Fund has given more than 20.2 million dollars to financially support thousands of Southeastern students as they prepare to serve the Church and fulfill the Great Commission. The Keesee fund generously supports students from Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia in a variety of Bachelor of Arts, Master of Divinity, and Master of Arts programs as well as several doctoral programs. This year, the Keesee fund has awarded more than 1.6 million in scholarships to over 320 Southeastern students, enabling them to receive Southeastern’s world-class Baptist education at minimal costs. 

“The availability of the Keesee scholarship has allowed me to take classes and to grow in my knowledge of God and to be better equipped to serve his Church,” shared Megan Dickerson, who is currently pursuing her ThM in Theology at Southeastern. “The Keesee scholarship has allowed me, a homeschooling mom of four, to go to school. I don’t know where the Lord will send us, but I will be a better minister of the gospel because of the education I have received through Southeastern.”  

“Thank you for your commitment to seeing a new generation of pastors, teachers, evangelists, missionaries, and ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ raised up to advance the cause of Christ,” shared Avery Carter, an MDiv in Missiology student. “In his mercy, God has used you in the sending of countless students like me so that the least reached might hear the life-giving good news of Jesus. Your contributions are not merely numbers on a page but rather resources God is using to accomplish his purposes.”  

In his mercy, God has used you in the sending of countless students like me so that the least reached might hear the life-giving good news of Jesus.

During Thursday’s chapel service, Akin recognized the generous support of the Keesee Fund by presenting Keesee staff and board members with the Southeastern President’s Award — the highest non-academic honor conferred by Southeastern. 

“You have made it possible for so many to attend here — many of whom would not have otherwise had the means to do so,” noted Akin. “Thank you for all that you do to help Southeastern be a Great Commission seminary.”  

Thanks to the Keesee Fund’s additional generous gift of 5 million dollars, Southeastern is establishing two new scholarships that will provide 250 thousand dollars in student scholarships each year. The first of these scholarships, the Binkley-Keesee Scholarship, is named after the Keesee Fund and Southeastern’s second president, Olin T. Binkley. The second scholarship, the Vernie Lewis Scholarship, is named after longtime Keesee trustee, Vernie Lewis, and will financially assist Southeastern’s female student population.  

In addition to these scholarships, the Keesee Fund has generously contributed to technological and audio-visual upgrades in Southeastern’s classrooms, library resources for Southeatern’s prison programs, and mission trip and Holy Land tour scholarships for Southeastern’s students. 

“Outside of the support from Southern Baptists through the Cooperative Program, no other group has had a bigger impact on Southeastern and her students than the Charles B. Keesee Educational Fund,” Akin shared. 

Passionate about supporting students who were training for Baptist ministry, Charles Blackwell Keesee and Olivia Simmons Keesee started the educational fund to financially assist students enrolled at Baptist institutions. Before Charles Keesee died in 1940, he designated money in his will that enabled the educational fund to start in 1941. At her death in 1944, Olivia Keesee likewise left a significant portion of her estate to the educational fund, which has generously supported thousands of students at Baptist institutions for over eighty years. 

Current Keesee board members include David Burhans, Georgia Compton, Paul Fletcher, John Fulcher, Ryan Hutchinson, Martha Medley, Betty Lou Pigg, Doug Ramsey, and Andy Wakefield. Keesee board members were joined on Southeastern’s campus by Sandra Prillaman, who serves as the executive director of the Keesee Fund. To learn more about the Keesee fund, visit the C. B. Keesee website, and to find out about Southeastern’s financial aid and scholarship opportunities, visit Southeastern’s financial aid and student resources page.

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