In spite of many disruptions in our society, important events continue this fall. Several of these impact funding for the school and for student scholarships. We are grateful for the generosity of donors who continue to stand behind us during these “interesting” days, and I want to tell you about two of these events featuring some of our steadfast supporters.
- On October 7, the Perkins Campaign Steering Committee convenes to discuss the coming capital campaign. The women and men of this committee are dedicated to moving Perkins forward in every way by increasing funding for scholarships, programs, research, and facilities. President Turner of SMU meets with this group and will share exciting news about some major gifts to the University. SMU is currently in the fourth year of preparation and study before a formal announcement is made about overall goals and projects; however, a number of significant gifts have already been announced for the University, including the $100 million pledge by the Moody Foundation establishing the eighth School at SMU, The Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies. That School will benefit the Ph.D. program in Religious Studies taught jointly by Perkins and Dedman College.
- Also on October 7, the Perkins Executive Board will meet virtually for its fall meeting. This group, an advisory board to the Dean, meets twice a year, and is involved in many activities supporting Perkins School of Theology. The Executive Board is made up of 41 individuals who are deeply committed to the mission of Perkins. In this meeting, a representative of In Trust Center for Theological Schools will present a seminar designed to equip each board member, and the board as a whole, to become more effective. The seminar is funded by the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust and the In Trust Center for Theological Schools. In Trust’s mission is to train boards of theological seminaries in effective governance.
These two meetings are vital to Perkins’ financial goals. The Campaign Steering Committee will set the projects and financial goals for the coming campaign. The Executive Board advises the Dean during this time of change in our society and the Church.
In addition to the exciting potential developments at these upcoming meetings, we have had a fruitful semester so far:
- Recently, the Robert H. and Beverly U. Fowler Foundation Trust of Pennsylvania donated $250,000 for the Perkins Center for Preaching Excellence. This generous gift will enhance the work of the Center, which was previously funded by the Lilly Endowment, along with gifts from individuals and Methodist annual conferences. Dr. Alyce McKenzie’s outstanding leadership of this Center has made it one of Perkins’ most effective off-campus ministries for the Church.
- Several other major gifts will be announced on October 7. Watch for press releases and descriptions of these important donations.
- The Perkins Scholar Program has now welcomed its fourth cohort of exceptional M.Div. students. This program, the brainchild of the Perkins Executive Board, has enabled 40 academically outstanding students to be educated at Perkins debt-free. Each scholar is awarded up to $21,000 over three years in financial aid. The scholarship and designation are awarded to students who not only are outstanding academically, but demonstrate leadership ability.
I have shared some stories about remarkable support we’ve received this year. But, as always, your gifts are needed to enhance our work at Perkins. More and more of our supporters are using the online option of giving on our website here. Many are using the convenient option of recurring gifts: monthly, quarterly, or yearly. If giving by check, it should be made out to “SMU” with a notation of the area supported. The check should be mailed to:
P.O. Box 750133
Dallas, TX 75275-0133.
During this time of COVID disruption, we are encouraging our friends to make a special donation to the SMU Fund for Perkins, which is the Dean’s discretionary fund. He is able to use money from that unrestricted account to meet all special needs as they arise.
As always, thank you for faithfully supporting our important work at Perkins School of Theology.
John A. Martin
Director of Development