Midwestern launches $2.1 million capital campaign, ponder undergrad programs during trustees’ meeting
November 4, 2003
KANSAS CITY — Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary trustees and administrators broke ground Oct. 21 for the new Walk of Honor on the site of the former Farmland, Inc., property adjacent to the campus. The groundbreaking ceremony capped off the Oct. 20-21 meeting of Midwestern’s trustees on the seminary campus and signaled the launch of Midwestern’s $2.1 million capital campaign: "The Vision: Growing Disciples Today To Make Disciples Tomorrow."
"Today marks a vital step in the development of Midwestern Seminary," Midwestern Seminary President Phil Roberts said. "As we consider the marvelous opportunity to memorialize those who have contributed to our lives in the service of Christ, let’s also honor them by being faithful with the opportunity to advance Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary."
The campaign includes at least nine different ways alumni and friends of the seminary can support the renovation of the 35,000-square-foot facility purchased in March 2002. The campaign includes a memorial fund for former Midwestern students Dr. Martha Myers and William Koehn, International Mission Board missionaries who were killed last December while serving at a hospital in Yemen . More than $500,000 already has been raised, including $250,000 spent on building purchase.
In Roberts’ report to trustees, he introduced the new vice president for business services and a fundraising consultant. Dr. N.S.R.K. Samuel Ravi begins Nov. 17 as the new business vice president. Ravi is an interfaith evangelism associate for the North American Mission Board and has several years of experience in management, sales and personnel. Jim Sells, president emeritus of Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, will work with the seminary on a part-time consulting basis.
"Both of these men bring expertise to Midwestern," Roberts said. "Dr. Sells is noted as one of Southern Baptists’ most effective developers having lead SBU for over 20 years. His legacy there is legendary. We are thrilled to have him as a part of the MBTS team.
"Dr. N.S.R.K. Ravi is a Southern Baptist treasure," Roberts continued. "From a Hindu background, he brings a remarkable testimony of faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. His business and management skills are extraordinary. Having known Dr. Ravi for the better part of a decade I can say that he is a man of impeccable integrity and dedication to our Lord."
Trustees also heard a report that the new accredited associate’s degree program will begin with the spring 2004 semester. The program replaces the school’s diploma program, aimed at students 25 and over without a bachelor’s degree. Program director Stephen Andrews, Midwestern’s professor of Old Testament and archaeology, said an associate of divinity degree would be offered, as well as associate of arts with three concentrations: biblical studies, Christian education and music.
"We will use seminary faculty and adjuncts, but they will teach from an introductory and foundational perspective," Andrews said.
Trustees unanimously approved a motion to pursue the feasibility of establishing a bachelor’s degree program. Three other Southern Baptist seminaries already have undergraduate schools.
The land usage committee of the board reported on the proposed new student housing development on campus. The proposal includes the construction of 24 apartment units and the renovation of the singles dorm. The proposed method of financing is through a bond issue. The Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee will review the proposal in its February 2004 meeting.
"The beauty of this is that we get professional, fast, thorough work," said trustee Gene Downing of Oklahoma City , Okla. "We get what we want, when we want, at a price we can afford. It’s a rare win-win situation."
Auditor John Parrish of Keller & Owens said Midwestern has a clean report for the 2002-03 fiscal year. He said income was solid with increased revenue from tuition and fees, but investment income was down, which reflected the downturn in the stock market.
Interim vice president for business services Charlie Warren reported that Midwestern overhauled its computer network system to increase performance, speed, reliability and to provide back up services. He also said the school has begun to offer internet access to a test group of students, noting that with an investment of $300, the school now receives $120 per month in revenue. The goal is to provide internet service to all student housing.
Trustee Ken Barnett of Denver , Colo. , made a motion to change Midwestern’s bylaws in regards to the president’s job description. Currently, the president is authorized to employ and dismiss vice presidents and other administrative staff at his "sole discretion." Barnett proposed to add "in consultation with the (MBTS) executive committee within constraints of the budget." The motion goes to the Midwestern trustees’ executive committee for review.
Warren said the seminary is considering selling some of its undeveloped property, and in action taken after an executive session, trustees voted – with one dissention — to authorize Roberts, in consultation with the trustees’ executive committee, to negotiate any sale of land.
The next trustees’ meeting will be in March 2004.