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In 1952 the Rather family gave Bishop John Hines their family estate home and its five acres on which to establish the campus of Seminary of the Southwest. The family stipulated, however, that they would continue residing in the house during their lifetimes. As a result, the seminary did not gain use of Rather House until 1972. Those were lean years, so Southwest was in no position to renovate the home as we would have wished. We did use it as a gathering center and meeting rooms over the next decades. We were finally able in 2006 to break ground to preserve the main rooms of the home and to add needed office space. It is now the recruiting, welcoming, and administrative center of the campus. To honor long-time trustee and friend of the seminary community, Bishop Scott Field Bailey, the Bailey Center at Rather House is named in his honor. Fundraising continues for the project.
Endowment for Faculty Excellence
Southwest students and alumni frequently describe their close relationships with faculty as one of the most formative aspects of their intellectual and leadership development. The seminary faculty is small in size, numbering fourteen, but long on impact. The hallmark of the Southwest faculty has been to cultivate a learning environment that promotes intellectual exchange, encourages scholarship, and supports critical thinking, all of which motivates and engages students.
Currently there are a number of partially funded faculty chairs. (See the Campaign for Leadership for specific information on endowed chairs for all canonical areas.) Endowed chairs provide incentives to attract and keep talented teachers and scholars. Specifically, Southwest proposes to raise faculty endowment funds designed to increase partially funded chairs to full funding and to create new fully endowed faculty chairs at $2.5 million each.
Endowment for Student Scholarships
Southwest remains committed to keeping education affordable and reasonable for seminarians, recognizing the limitations of their future salary opportunities. Specifically, Southwest proposes to raise significant additional scholarship funds. Endowed scholarships are a critical source of student aid because they minimize the need for seminarians to incur debt to finance their education. Gifts and pledges in the amount of $50,000 are required for a “named endowment.” Additionally there are many other endowed funds already established to which donors may contribute gifts of any size. Click here to see scholarship descriptions.
Booher Library is now 60 years old and was designed and built at a time when libraries served students and faculty differently than they do today. Significant upgrades in technology capacity, wiring, and computers are necessary. Significant design renovations to the 3rd floor to meet these objectives is required. Specifically, Southwest proposes to upgrade and renovate the Booher Library, provide funds to expand the number of computers, and enhance the technology infrastructure to improve connectivity commensurate with peer schools and libraries.
New Student Housing
As part of its commitment to forming men and women for the service of Christ, community life is a critical component of a Southwest education, allowing students from diverse backgrounds and experiences to come together in partnership to develop habits forming future church leaders. One of Southwest’s goals for the future is to provide more students the opportunity to become part of an engaged campus community. Key to achieving this goal is an increase in the number of students living on or near the campus. Currently, due to limited spaces, only 38 of Southwest’s 105 students reside in campus housing. To address this need Southwest has purchased land adjacent to campus and plans to construct a new 18 unit residence hall. This building will provide modern, apartment-style accommodations for single as well as married students, increasing Southwest’s total residence capacity by 50%.
The Anita Wheatcroft Chair in Christian Education
In 2001 a generous donor gave Seminary of the Southwest a $500,000 challenge gift to endow a faculty chair in Christian education and formation. In order to strengthen support for faculty salaries, housing, and benefits, and thereby assure our ability to call the best and brightest in all teaching areas, the board of trustees voted to increase the amount to endow all faculty chairs to $2.5 million. Funding for this project, therefore, continues.
For more information about major giving please contact:
Vice President of Institutional Advancement