Baylor Alumni Association Presents George W. Truett Awards

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Dr. William M. Hinson (middle) is congratulated by Baylor University Interim President and Dean of Truett Seminary David E. Garland (right) and Baylor Alumni Association Executive Director Jeff Kilgore (left), after Hinson was presented with the George W. Truett Distinguished Church Service Award May 16 during Baylor commencement. Walker L. Knight, founding editor of Baptists Today and former associate editor of The Baptist Standard, also was honored with the Truett Award, although Knight was unable to attend the ceremony.
May 18, 2009

The Baylor Alumni Association honored Dr. William M. Hinson of Jasper, Ga., and Walker L. Knight of Decatur, Ga., with the George W. Truett Distinguished Church Service Award during Baylor University's afternoon commencement exercises on May 16.

The annual award is given to individuals who embody the meaning of Baylor's official motto, "Pro Ecclesia, Pro Texana" (For Church, For State) and exemplify the life and career of the great pastor and Baptist statesman, the late George W. Truett.

Since 1995, Hinson has been vice chair of the Haggai Institute, an international ministry in Atlanta, founded in 1969 to train Christians worldwide for leadership and evangelism. He first came to Baylor on a football scholarship, earning his bachelor's degree in religion in 1953. He then pursued degrees from both Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Hinson pastored churches in Louisiana and Florida, before returning to Waco as a special assistant to Baylor President Herbert H. Reynolds from 1986-89. He then served from 1989-95 as executive assistant to Paul J. Meyer, founder of Success Motivation International Inc., and owner of more than 40 businesses worldwide.

In 2005, Hinson was honored by the Paul and Jane Meyer Family Foundation with a permanently endowed chair at Baylor's George W. Truett Theological Seminary: The William M. Hinson Chair in Christian Scriptures, currently held by Dr. David E. Garland, Baylor's interim president and dean of Truett Seminary.

A widely regarded preacher and public speaker, Hinson represented President Gerald Ford as an ambassador to the 1976 Winter Olympics in Austria, and The Saturday Evening Post featured him in an article on "The American Minister."

Hinson has served on numerous boards, including Palm Beach Atlantic College and the Home Mission Board (now North American Mission Board) of the Southern Baptist Convention. His additional awards and recognitions include the 1981 George Washington Medal of Honor from Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge for his patriotic sermons and writings.

Hinson and his wife, the former Bettye D. Schauberger of Waco, Texas, have two children and six grandchildren.

Knight also was honored with the Truett Distinguished Church Service Award but was unable to attend the presentation in person.

A 1949 Baylor journalism graduate, Knight is the founding editor of Baptists Today and the former editor of Home Missions magazine. A member of Oakhurst Baptist Church since 1959, Knight left the Home Mission Board (now North American Mission Board) of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1983 to begin what was then called SBC Today, a news journal for Baptist moderates. In 1991, the name of the journal was changed to Baptists Today, and Knight is now publisher emeritus.

The associate editor of The Baptist Standard from 1950-59, Knight has authored or collaborated on more than a dozen books and is widely regarded as one of the foremost religious journalists in the country for having set a new standard for Baptist journalism. In 1979, Knight, who also served as the first president of the Whitsitt Baptist Heritage Society, received the Religious Freedom Award from Associated Baptist Press, and he was recently honored with the Judson Rice Award for courage and integrity. He and his late wife, Nell Knight, were married for 64 years and had four children, four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

For more information, contact the Baylor Alumni Association at (254) 710-1121 or online at

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