Molly T. Marshall, president of Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Shawnee, Kan., and the first woman president of a Baptist seminary accredited by the Association of Theological Schools, announced her retirement during the seminary’s board of trustees meeting, May 16. She plans to retire by early summer 2020 and take a sabbatical through December 2020.
In her letter to the trustees, Marshall stated, “Serving Central as President has been the greatest privilege of my life. It has summoned every gift in my repertoire and required that I develop some new ones! When you elected me to this office on November 12, 2004, we could not have foreseen all the ways that God would bless our school over the next fifteen years. We have moved from near death to a vibrant mission that is the envy of many schools.”
The board of trustees accepted President Marshall’s retirement plan. Chair Bruce Morgan expressed the sentiment of the board, saying “With profound gratitude for Molly T. Marshall’s distinguished service to Central Baptist Theological Seminary – and beyond as champion of ecumenical relationship – the Board of Trustees has accepted Dr. Marshall’s plans to retire in 2020. We are fully aware of her tireless energy in expanding Central’s prominence as a center of preparation for Christian ministry. We shall be forever grateful for her contribution to Central – and to each of us individually who have grown to love her! We wish her well in retirement.”
The search process for a new president is already well underway, with the hope is that there will be some overlap of time with Marshall and the new president.
Marshall expressed her hopes for the school’s future: “Thank you for the privilege of leadership at this beloved school. It has been a joyful expression of my vocation. May God grant you Spirit-prompted discernment as you call a new president. I will ever hold you and the seminary’s mission in my heart.”
Under her leadership, Central has created an innovative curriculum delivered through technologically enhanced means as well as a successful sustainability campaign to ensure the financial future of the school. ATS has named Central one of its top 12 fastest growing theological schools, with a state-of-the-art campus, four endowed faculty chairs and a significant partnership with Myanmar Institute of Theology. The seminary offers a robust Korean Studies department, a signature Women’s Leadership Initiative, the Urban Missional Institute and Buttry Center for Peace and Nonviolence.
Founded in 1901, Central Seminary is Baptist in heritage and ecumenical in practice as it prepares women and men for seeking God, offering courses in a dozen locations and serving more than 30 Christian denominations.