Letter from Dean & President Douglas Travis
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
As the preacher famously put it, “for everything there is a season.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1) Seminary of the Southwest is about to enter a new season.
On June 1, 2007, I became dean and president of Seminary of the Southwest. Since then the achievements of our school and our community have been notable. Placing our Conversation Covenant and the formation of mature Christian leaders at the center of everything we do, we positioned ourselves in the “deep center of the church”. As a consequence we have:
· Enjoyed our largest enrollment ever (in the Fall of 2011)
· Increased our annual fund receipts from $416,000 in the fiscal year 2005-2006 to $765,000 in the 2011-2012 fiscal year – an 83% increase. We hope to raise $800,000 in the current year.
· Raised $12.9 million in our Campaign for Leadership, so guaranteeing that Seminary of the Southwest will be able to sustain a fulltime faculty as an M.Div. granting residential seminary
· Received the largest single gift in the seminary’s history - $2.5 million from the Henderson-Wessendorff Foundation – which will help finance what will soon be renamed The Loise Henderson Wessendorff Center for Christian Ministry and Vocation. (This is our program for training professional counselors and chaplains.)
· Refurbished Rather House to office our administration and serve as the wonderfully hospitable welcoming symbol of our community that it is today
· Partnered with the Iona School of the Diocese of Texas to create the Iona Initiative, which guarantees alternative theological education in a variety of different circumstances and dioceses throughout the United States. This demonstrates Southwest’s commitment to nimbleness in responding to the changing horizons in the world of theological education
· Consistently hired proven professionals not only as professors but as administrators. The employees of Seminary of the Southwest are truly, to a person, “mature Christian leaders”.
Personally I have found being the dean and president of Seminary of the Southwest enormously satisfying, and I’m very gratified by the achievements of the last six years. Even so, as I approach my 60th birthday, I’m conscious that it’s time for a new season not only in the seminary’s life but in my personal life. And so with this letter I am announcing my retirement as dean and president effective May 31 of this year.
I am deeply grateful to more people than I can possibly name, but I do want to say thank you to Bishop Dena Harrison, the chair of our board, and to our Board of Trustees for voting me Dean and President Emeritus. And I leave with the enormous satisfaction of knowing who my successor will be. I have every confidence that as dean and president the Rev. Dr. Cynthia Briggs Kittredge will build and, indeed, improve upon our achievements of the last six years. The best is yet to come!
Yours in Christ,
The Very Rev. Douglas Travis