Seminary of the Southwest celebrates successful fundraising campaign

October 15, 2014

[Seminary of the Southwest press release] Seminary of the Southwest has announced that it reached—and exceeded—its Campaign for Leadership fundraising goal, receiving gifts of more than $16 million.

The announcement came October 9 as the seminary celebrated John Hines Day, its annual recognition of its founder. Alumni and church leaders joined members of the Hines family, faculty, staff and seminary trustees in the celebration.

“The confident and hopeful spirit that was present at its founding in 1952 still animates the community of teaching and learning at Seminary of the Southwest,” said Dean and President Cynthia Briggs Kittredge. “Faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ and the conviction of its power to transform, shapes us for ministry. I am grateful beyond measure to all who support the work of this seminary.”

Campaign for Leadership, the largest fundraising campaign in the seminary’s history, increased the endowments that support faculty positions and scholarships and increased its annual fund by 38%.

Donors’ gifts brought five faculty chairs to fully funded status at $2.5 million each and provided generous support to several others. Those completed include:

  • Peter H. Coffield Memorial Chair in Pastoral Theology
  • J. Milton Richardson Chair of Anglican Studies
  • Loise Henderson Wessendorff Fund
  • Duncalf/Villavaso Endowed Chair in Church History
  • Bishop John Elbridge Hines Chair in Preaching.

President Kittredge worked closely with the Rt. Rev. Dena Harrison, chair of the seminary’s Board of Trustees and bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Texas to increase endowments for professorships and scholarships to honor beloved leaders of the church whose vision strengthened the church for ministry.

Tara Elgin Holley, vice president for institutional advancement at Southwest, expressed gratitude to the families who have strengthened the seminary through the years and who were generous with their memories and support during this campaign. “Throughout the campaign, we heard moving stories of these faithful leaders of the past who each played a vital part in the seminary’s history and in its formation for the present,” she said.

“Seminary of the Southwest is a great place where leaders are being trained to take the Episcopal Church into a hopeful future amid all the challenges we now face,” said Bishop Claude E. Payne, campaign co-chair with Mrs. Barbara Payne. “Barbara and I were honored to be ambassadors for our excellent school, which is in essence a community of leadership development with enormous promise.”

Dean Emeritus Douglas Travis facilitated the outstanding $2.5 million gift from The Henderson-Wessendorff Foundation of Richmond, Texas. Their gift named and supports the Loise Henderson Wessendorff Center for Christian Ministry and Vocation at the seminary.

Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas is an Episcopal seminary offering master’s degrees in divinity, religion, counseling, chaplaincy and spiritual formation.

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