DALLAS (SMU) – The Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University has received a $1 million gift from Barbara Cook Wendland and Erroll Wendland to establish the Wendland-Cook Professorship in Constructive Theology.

The Wendlands are both graduates of SMU and are active in many community and humanitarian affairs, as well as being long-time supporters of Perkins. The professorship will contribute to the academic study of systematic and constructive theology that address current church and social issues, inequality of power, and a commitment to the liberation of all peoples, the promotion of justice and the encouragement of nonviolence.

“We are extremely grateful to Barbara and Erroll Wendland for their Christian generosity, but we are even more grateful for their dedication to the most serious and comprehensive levels of theological inquiry in preparing leaders for the Church,” said William B. Lawrence, dean of Perkins School of Theology. “Their commitment to endow a professorship at Perkins means that our school will be blessed with a renewed focus upon the principle embodied in Charles Wesley’s prayer that knowledge and vital piety will be reunited in the community of faith.”

Perkins School of Theology is one of five University-related official schools of theology of The United Methodist Church. The school was founded in 1911 by the Methodist Episcopal Church South, now The United Methodist Church. Degree programs include the Master of Church Ministries, Master of Divinity, Master of Sacred Music, Master of Theological Studies, and Doctor of Ministry degree, as well as the Ph.D. in cooperation with SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.