SHAWNEE, Kan. -- Central Baptist Theological Seminary culminated two days of celebration with an open house and the dedication of Baugh-Marshall Chapel April 8.
A $2 million grant from the Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation enabled groundbreaking for the chapel in 2009. On April 8, more than 300 friends from churches and the Shawnee, Kan., community participated in tours of the chapel, a new library and Hatcher Heritage Hall, which connects the two. The event culminated with the midday outdoor chapel dedication marked by music, student testimonies and a ribbon-cutting.
The Baugh Foundation is a philanthropic organization started by Sysco Corporation founder John Baugh and his wife Eula Mae. Both are deceased but daughter Babs Baugh and granddaughters Jackie Moore and Julie Ortiz administer gifts to various Baptist organizations. Baugh and Ortiz, who is a Central trustee, represented the foundation for the event.
"We are so blessed and honored to know you all," Babs Baugh told the crowd. "Thank you for supporting Central Seminary."
Molly T. Marshall, seminary president since 2004, praised the Baughs for their vision of excellence in Baptist life. "In their generosity, this chapel bears my family name," she said, noting that her family's name had never been attached to "anything so fine."
The event signaled the completion of an approximately $4 million capital improvement project as part of the seminary's Cultivating Excellence capital campaign.
The festivities began with an April 7 evening consecration of the instruments, altar furniture and "sacred space" of Baugh-Marshall Chapel. Guest organist Paul E. Oakley "play[ed] every inch of the instruments," according to Central trustee and President of the Pillsbury Foundation Linda Roos, which donated the piano and organ.
Baugh observed, "We built the shell of the building but the instruments and the furniture gave it soul and warmth."
Students led tours of the new facilities, pointing out two windows created and donated by stained glass artists Carol Ann Holcomb and A. Lois Redman and now hanging in the hall named for Gordon and Karen Hatcher of Grove, Okla., who contributed $600,000 to the Cultivating Excellence campaign.
Founded in 1901, Central Seminary maintains historic ties with American Baptist Churches USA. It operates "in full support of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship," which includes the seminary among 15 theology schools it supports through partnerships.
Marshall, the first woman to be elected president of a Baptist seminary accredited by the Association of Theological Schools, taught at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., before joining the faculty at Central as a professor in 1997.
Marshall led the financially strapped seminary to downsize the faculty and staff, put an 82-year-old campus in Kansas City, Kan., up for sale and relocated to the suburbs, moving into a vacated church building.
The seminary has satellite campuses in Milwaukee, Wis., and Murfreesboro, Tenn.