FORT WORTH, TX (BP) – A search committee comprising nine Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary trustees has been appointed to recommend the seminary's next president. Led by chairman Danny Roberts, an at-large trustee and executive pastor of North Richland Hills (Texas) Baptist Church, the search committee was appointed by trustee chairman Kevin Ueckert and announced to the full board Aug. 23.
In addition to Roberts, the committee includes: Denise Ewing (Ill.), Jamie Green (at-large, search committee secretary), Guy Grimes (Calif.), Todd Houston (N.C.), Tom James (Ky.), Philip Levant (at-large), Andre Palmer (N.Y.) and Calvin Wittman (Colo., search committee vice chair). Ueckert and board vice chair Connie Hancock are ex officio members of the committee. Roberts is an alumnus of Southwestern (master of church music, 1979) and has served as a trustee since 2016, sitting on the Communications, Policies, and Strategic Initiatives Committee.
According to an Aug. 24 news release from the seminary, the committee includes two women, one African American and one Hispanic. The committee is diverse geographically and mixed in terms of trustee tenure (with five being in their first five-year term and the other four in their second five-year term). Only two search committee members are members of the trustee executive committee.
Ueckert, pastor of First Baptist Church in Georgetown, Texas, said, "Between now and the October Board meeting, the presidential search committee will be focused on developing the candidate profile and the application process, as well as entering a time of focused prayer." The committee will nominate a successor to former Southwestern president Paige Patterson, who was moved to president emeritus status in May and terminated less than a week later. Patterson had been under fire since late April for statements he has made about domestic abuse and women's physical appearance. He also drew criticism for his handling of an alleged 2003 sexual assault at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he served as president from 1992-2003.
Southwestern's bylaws state a president must be elected by the trustee board. Presidential nominations and expressions of interest should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Compiled by the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary communications staff and David Roach, chief national correspondent for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention's news service. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists' concerns nationally and globally.