News November 2022 Perspective Online

Office of Development: News and Notes

We are well into the fall semester.  Let me bring you up to speed on several items that have bubbled to the surface.

Campaign Steering Committee

The Perkins Campaign Steering Committee met in the Benefactors Room in Bridwell Library on October 5, hosted by co-chairs Julie Yarbrough and Joe Hardt.  President R. Gerald Turner, Provost Elizabeth G. Loboa, and Vice President Brad Cheves were in attendance.  I was pleased to report that the Perkins Campaign total has surpassed $27 million!  Stay tuned for future announcements which will significantly add to that total.

The committee had a robust discussion of the priorities that are currently before us in the SMU Ignited: Boldly Shaping Tomorrow Campaign:

Priority 1: Student scholarship aid, both annual support and student aid endowments.  This is always our No. 1 priority.

Priority 2: An endowment to cover an archivist in Bridwell Library along with expenses related to the former World Methodist Museum materials.

Priority 3: Continued funding for the Baptist House of Studies with a heavy emphasis on student scholarships. Continued exploration of new related projects such as an endowed faculty member/director for that program.

Priority 4: An endowed chair of evangelism, mission, and church growth and health.

Priority 5: A $150,000 endowment to memorialize Billy Abraham through periodic lectures in his memory.

Priority 6: Commitments for the Perkins Scholars Program: three pledges for the current year, three for next year, and 10 for the 2024-25 year.

Priority 7: Refurbish Kirby Parlor’s lighting, furniture, paint, and window treatments.

I was happy to announce that one of our former priorities, the Caren and Vin Prothro Organ project, has now been fully funded.  The organ will be installed by this time next year.

Perkins Executive Board

Also on October 5, the Perkins Executive Board met in Prothro Great Hall.  The Executive Board is made up of individuals who care deeply about Perkins School of Theology and who serve as an advisory group to the Dean of Perkins.

  • Two new Executive Board members were introduced, the Rev. Matt Tuggle and the Rev. Dr. Paula Dobbs-Wiggins.

The Rev. Matt Tuggle (M.Div. ’10) is the Executive Minister and one of the preaching pastors at Highland Park United Methodist Church. As Executive Minister, he oversees all programs and ministries of the Mockingbird Campus. As part of the new role, he sits on the Senior Leadership Team at HPUMC. He previously served as the Director of Family Ministries at HPUMC for five years. Prior to serving at HPUMC, Matt served churches in Georgia and Virginia. He studied Biology and Religion at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia and seminary at Perkins School of Theology at SMU. He and his wife Amy have been married for 14 years and have three children: 8- and 5-year-old sons and a 3-year-old daughter.

Paula Dobbs-Wiggins, M.D. is a board-certified psychiatrist in private practice and Adjunct Professor of the Practice of Pastoral Care at Perkins.  A native of St. Louis, MO, Dr. Dobbs-Wiggins received her bachelor’s degree in Biology (cum laude) from Harvard College and her medical degree from Harvard Medical School. During her senior year of college, she was licensed and later ordained by Eliot Congregational Church of Roxbury, Mass. Dr. Dobbs-Wiggins is currently a member of St. Luke “Community” UMC in Dallas where she serves as Coordinator of the Mental Health Ministry and Directress of the Angel & Cherub Choir. She also serves as Vice-Chairperson of the Board of Managers of Parkland Health and Hospital System. Dr. Dobbs-Wiggins is married to Kevin B. Wiggins. They are the proud parents of four young adult children, Lauren Nichelle, Kyle Eliot, Paul Wesley and Kevin Jarrett.

  • At the end of the meeting, the Executive Board held a reception in honor of Dean Craig Hill and his wife Robin. This was his last Board meeting as Dean of Perkins.
  • During the meeting incoming interim Dean Bishop Mike McKee expressed enthusiasm about beginning his tenure as Dean on January 1, 2023.

Public Life Personal Faith Scholarship Luncheon

At the Executive Board meeting, it was announced that Dr. Michael Hinojosa, recently retired Superintendant of the Dallas Independent School District, will be the speaker at the Public Life Personal Faith Scholarship Luncheon on March 28.  The proceeds from the luncheon will be applied to the Hispanic Initiative Student Scholarship Fund.

Details will be announced soon!

As always, we are looking for partners to make theological education affordable and accessible for our students in Dallas and in Houston.  Join us in this important work with an online donation to the Perkins School of Theology through this link.

I am always available at or 214.768.2026.

All my best,

John A. Martin
Director of Development