Did you know that Perkins’ Houston-Galveston program turns 25 in 2020? Here is the story of the program’s origins, from Professor Joseph Allen’s outstanding account, Perkins School of Theology: A Centennial History:
To make seminary education more broadly available in the region, as well as to reverse declining enrollment at Perkins, Dean Robin Lovin began work in the fall of 1994 to establish an extension program in the Houston area. After an exploratory meeting with leaders of the Texas Annual Conference in Houston in January 1995, Lovin was able to announce at the Texas Annual Conference on May 29 that “Perkins South” would offer its first classes in the fall of 1995. The program would enable students to take the initial portions of their work toward Perkins degrees – the master of divinity, master of theological studies and master of religious education – in Houston-Galveston, after which they would complete their degree work at the Dallas campus. Lovin expressed his special thanks to James Moore, pastor of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Houston, and Charles Millikan, pastor of Moody Memorial United Methodist Church in Galveston, for making their churches’ facilities available and providing financial support for the program. As Millikan observed, “Houston is one of the few major metropolitan areas in the country without a permanent, fully accredited seminary.” (Page 337)
Over the years, many outstanding students, including Bishop Cynthia Harvey, have attended Perkins through the Houston-Galveston program. As noted above, until recently, our theological accrediting body, the Association of Theological Schools, required students to attend classes on the Dallas campus in order to finish their degree programs.
However, that requirement has changed, and Perkins has permission to offer complete degrees in hybrid format at various sites. Students and professors meet at the beginning and the end of the semester face-to-face, with the remainder of each course conducted online. As a result, we have seen a remarkable increase in the number of students who are participating in this program.
Professor Hugo Magallanes, Associate Dean for Academics, who has spearheaded the development of the hybrid program, is enthusiastic about the future of this site. This hybrid format has attracted students from the greater Houston area, as well as others who fly in from Arkansas, Florida, Missouri and other states.
Houston, the fourth-largest city in the country, is a wonderful site for a Perkins education. With many Methodist and nondenominational churches in the area, we expect continued growth. Our close association with Houston Methodist Hospital, where many of the classes are held, is an added bonus. In addition, because Houston has been cited as the most diverse city in America, it affords Perkins an opportunity to reach out to various communities with our outstanding education.
Almost all of the Houston-Galveston students are enrolled full time and receive scholarships similar to the Dallas-based students. Several of our select group of Perkins Scholars are enrolled in Houston-Galveston.
We are always looking for scholarship help for Perkins students in every degree program. We are committed to helping them gain ministry skills in order to shoulder leadership positions in the church and in various capacities in society.
Click here to join in making education more affordable for these students!
With a thankful heart,
John A. Martin
Director of Development