Baylor's Truett Seminary Prepares for First Commencement

May 2, 1997

by Brenda Tacker

WACO, Texas - A century after the legendary George W. Truett received his diploma from Baylor University, the seminary bearing his name at his alma mater will recognize its first graduates in ceremonies May 16-17.

George W. Truett Theological Seminary will hold a baccalaureate service at 6 p.m. Friday, May 16, in the sanctuary of the First Baptist Church of Waco, 500 Webster. Dr. Frank Pollard, pastor of First Baptist Church of Jackson, Miss. and former president of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, will be the guest speaker.

During the baccalaureate service, Dr. Brad Creed, dean of the seminary, will present the students with alumni pins bearing the name and logo of the seminary and the year 1997. The students also will receive leather-bound New American Standard Bibles, donated by the Lockman Foundation of LaHabra, Calif. And, as the first graduates of Truett Seminary, the students will be given medallions marking the centennial of Truett's graduation and the continuation of his legacy through the seminary. The medallions feature images of Truett and the Baylor campus along with the seminary's logo.

Thirty students will receive their degrees during commencement ceremonies at 3 p.m. Saturday, May 17, in the Ferrell Center at Baylor University. (An additional six seminarians are scheduled to graduate by December 1997.) Dr. Robert B. Sloan Jr., president of Baylor and the first dean of the seminary, will present the diplomas to the graduates.

William "Bill" David Shiell of Pensacola, Fla., has been selected as the Outstanding Student for the first graduating class.

The Rev. George W. Truett graduated from Baylor in 1897. As Southern Baptists' most prominent pastor and ardent advocate of religious liberty, Truett served as pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas for 47 years until his death in 1944. Before Truett enrolled at Baylor, he raised $92,000 during a 23-month period ending in 1893 to clear the university's debt. He later served 46 years as a Baylor trustee.

The seminary opened in fall 1994, and now has more than 140 students and 14 faculty and staff.

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