BOLIVAR – The Southwest Baptist University (SBU) board of trustees met Oct. 15 and approved a recommendation by university president C. Pat Taylor to install Rodney Reeves, professor of biblical studies and dean of the Courts Redford College of Theology and Ministry, into the new Courts Redford Chair of Biblical Studies.
“We have had fundraising success during the summer and early part of the fall semester,” Taylor told trustees. “The most significant gift we have received so far this fall is a $300,000 gift from Al and Rosemary McCord. The purpose of their gift is to establish an endowed academic chair in memory of Rosemary’s father, Dr. Courts Redford.”
During his ministry, Redford (1898-1977) served as president of SBU, as a professor, as president of the North American Mission Board and as a Southern Baptist pastor. The new chair in honor of Redford is SBU’s fifth academic chair.
Reeves is a graduate of SBU and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, and he studied additionally at Oxford University. He is the author of A Genuine Faith: How to Follow Jesus Today (Baker Books, 2005) and Spirituality According to Paul: Imitating the Apostle of Christ (InterVarsity Press, 2011), as well as co-author of Rediscovering Paul: An Introduction to his World, Letters and Theology (InterVarsity Press, 2007).
During the meeting, trustees also visited SBU’s renovated football field. In its $1.5 million renovation project, the university laid Enviroturf synthetic turf on the field to replace the grass football field at SBU’s Plaster Stadium. The school broke ground on the project May 3, completing it in time for football season. Reconstruction of the stadium also included renovation of the press box and the addition of storage units under the bleachers.
Alongside these renovations to the football field, the SBU football team will change conferences next year, Taylor told trustees.
“Perhaps the most significant accomplishment in athletics this fall is moving our football team from the MIAA [Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association] to the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC),” Taylor said. “Beginning in the fall of 2014, SBU will have associate membership in the GLVC for football only.”
In his report, Taylor also told trustees that the Higher Learning Commission has approved SBU to offer up to 5 percent of its majors online.
“This approval,” he said, “is extremely important to our university. We will have much more flexibility in our ability to deliver online opportunities for our students.”
Additionally, Taylor described to trustees the challenges that universities throughout the United States are facing, such as a decrease in the number of high school graduates. He faces these challenges with hope, however.
“Do I worry? I must confess that I do worry sometimes, but I am optimistic about our future,” he said, noting that SBU has “great people” and “a great mission. Southwest Baptist University is a Christ-centered, caring academic community preparing students to be servant leaders in a global society.”