Truett Seminary Moves Into New $17 Million Complex On Baylor Campus

  • News Photo 156
    A view of the seminary's front entrance on Third Street, across from Russell Hall.
  • News Photo 158
    Interior of the 550-seat chapel, named in honor of Truett Seminary Dean Paul W. Powell.
  • News Photo 159
    Closeup of one of the magnificent stained glass windows in the Paul W. Powell Chapel.
  • News Photo 157
    Interior of the Great Hall.
Dec. 18, 2001

by Lori Scott Fogleman

Faculty and staff of Baylor University's George W. Truett Theological Seminary are now at home in the new $17 million, 64,000-square-foot Truett Seminary complex on the Baylor campus. Students will be classes on Jan. 14.

Since 1994, Truett Seminary has held classes at Waco's First Baptist Church. Faculty and staff, with the help of professional movers, began moving offices, books and furniture from the church to the seminary Dec. 13-17.

The biggest obstacles were heavy rain that fell on two of the three moving days and a cantankerous elevator in the new building.

Additional furniture and other items for the new building will continue to arrive during the next few weeks, while landscaping work will continue throughout December, said René Maciel, Truett's assistant dean for administration and academic services. The seminary complex is located on Dutton Avenue across from Russell Hall.

Truett Seminary held an "inaugural" gathering Dec. 13, when about 100 students, faculty and staff met in the seminary's Great Hall for a Christmas get-together. For some students, it was the first time they were able to get a good look at the impressive complex.

"I think the size of the building really surprised some of them," Maciel said. "They're very excited and are looking forward to the first day of classes."

Classes in the new complex begin Jan. 14, with the opening convocation set for Jan. 22. The official building dedication will be held Feb. 22, during the meeting of Baylor's board of regents.

Truett staff members also hope for a visit after Christmas from the seminary's dean Paul W. Powell, who is in Tyler recovering from heart bypass surgery. Powell is expected to return to his duties after the first of the year. During his recovery, Truett's dean was given a biography of Winston Churchill, along with a card signed by the entire seminary construction crew.

The new Truett Seminary complex features a 550-seat chapel, named in honor of Powell; a Great Hall; a 100-foot by 100-foot landscaped, enclosed courtyard; a teaching chapel named in honor of Baylor President Robert B. Sloan Jr., who was Truett Seminary's founding dean; classrooms and meeting rooms; and faculty and administrative offices. In May, workers placed the steeple and a nine-foot gold leaf cross on the chapel spire, which towers at more than 100 feet.

Longtime Baylor benefactors John and Eula Mae Baugh of Houston provided a $5 million lead gift in November 1997 for the seminary's construction. A ceremonial groundbreaking was held on Feb. 2, 2000. Actual construction began later that spring.

Since the first day of classes on Aug. 31, 1994, Truett Seminary's enrollment has more than quintupled from 51 students to a record 296 students in fall 2001. The seminary has conferred master's of divinity degrees on more than 150 students, while also offering a doctor of ministry degree, a joint master of divinity/master of music degree in conjunction with Baylor's School of Music, and a joint master of divinity/master of social work degree in conjunction with the School of Social Work.

TRUETT TIMELINE

Aug. 28, 1994 Truett Seminary holds its first opening convocation service in the worship

center of First Baptist Church of Waco

Aug. 31, 1994 Seminary classes officially begin with 51 students registered

November 1997 Longtime Baylor benefactors John and Eula Mae Baugh of Houston

provide a $5 million lead gift for Truett Seminary's construction

Feb. 2, 2000 Truett Seminary holds a ceremonial groundbreaking on the site of the new

complex

May 29-30, 2001 Steeple and nine-foot gold leaf cross placed on chapel spire

Dec. 13-14, 17 Faculty and staff move offices from First Baptist Church to Truett

Seminary

Jan. 14, 2002 Classes begin at Truett Seminary

Jan. 22, 2002 Opening convocation scheduled in Truett Seminary chapel

Feb. 22, 2002 Building dedication

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