Leaders hope new BTSR initiative with college will increase racial diversity - Word&Way

Leaders hope new BTSR initiative with college will increase racial diversity

RICHMOND, Va. — Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond has formed an alliance with Saint Paul’s College, a historically African-American school with Episcopal ties in Lawrenceville, Va., which seminary leaders hope will enhance BTSR’s goals of racial diversity and ecumenical openness.

Initially the alliance will provide an annual $5,000 scholarship to a Saint Paul’s graduate to pursue full-time theological education at the seminary, beginning in the fall of 2012. The scholarship, named in honor of Saint Paul’s president Robert L. Satcher Sr., is funded by gifts from two donors.


Saint Paul's Memorial Chapel is one of two buildings on campus listed on a historic register.

“BTSR is seeking to live into its original dream of being ecumenically open and racially diverse,” said seminary president Ron Crawford. “These goals will not happen on their own. We have to create specific relationships to achieve our goals.”

The scholarship will cover about half the cost of the seminary’s tuition, which currently is $10,000 a year. That figure will increase to $11,500 in 2012.

“We’re thrilled that Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond is opening this door of opportunity to a Saint Paul’s College graduate and we rejoice in this new ecumenical alliance,” said Satcher in a press release. “It is also a great honor to have this scholarship presented in my name.”

Crawford said the scholarship will be offered only to a student in his or her first year at the seminary, in hopes that additional financial aid will assist the student in subsequent years.

“We will make a concerted effort to grow scholarship funding for students from Saint Paul’s in the coming years,” he said. “We would love to have four or five Saint Paul’s graduates at BTSR, all on scholarships growing out of this effort. … We believe we will find donors willing to fund other scholarships for Saint Paul’s students.”

The relationship with Saint Paul’s is a first for BTSR, said Crawford, but he hopes it’s not the last.

“With time we would love to develop a number of relationships with ‘feeder schools’ with specific scholarships designated for a graduate each year,” he said.

Saint Paul’s, founded in 1888, is a four-year coeducational school with 600 students about 75 miles south of Richmond.

The 150-student BTSR, founded in 1989, is one of two seminaries funded by the Baptist General Association of Virginia and one of 15 theological education partners of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

Robert Dilday (rdilday@religiousherald.org) is managing editor of the Religious Herald.