Golden Gate trustees meet at Rocky Mountain campus

DENVER (BP)--Trustees of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary held their fall meeting at the seminary’s Rocky Mountain campus near Denver, which had just celebrated its 10th anniversary.

Golden Gate has four other regional campuses: Northern California, near San Francisco; Southern California, in Brea; Pacific Northwest, in Vancouver, Wash.; and Arizona, near Phoenix.

Trustees elected John Sailhamer as professor of Old Testament, beginning with the upcoming semester. Sailhamer has been on the faculty of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., since 1999.

Sailhamer served as scholar in residence at Northwestern College in St. Paul, Minn., from 1995-98. Dating back to 1975, he has taught Old Testament, Hebrew, Semitic languages and theology as associate professor at five other theological institutions, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Ill; Bethel Theological Seminary, St. Paul, Minn.; Bethel College, St. Paul Minn.; Biola College (now University), La Mirada, Calif.; and Los Angeles Baptist College, Newhall, Calif.

“Dr. Sailhamer has a sterling reputation as a classroom instructor and writer,” GGBTS President Jeff Iorg said. “His election is a major addition to our faculty,” a description echoed by Southern California campus director Eddie Pate, “John is really a foremost Southern Baptist Old Testament scholar. It is a blessing for us to have someone of his caliber joining our faculty.”

Sailhamer, who has authored or coauthored numerous scholarly books and Bible commentaries, holds a doctorate in philosophy in ancient Near East languages and literature (Northwest Semitics) from the University of California at Los Angeles. He also received his master of arts degree in Semitic languages from UCLA and a master of theology in Old Testament from Dallas Theological Seminary.

Other reports to the trustees during the Oct. 9-10 sessions included:

-- An overall increase in enrollment -– from a non-duplicating headcount of 1,007 in fall 2005 to 1,299 in fall 2006, a gain of 22 percent.

-- The opening of the seminary’s eCampus -– a virtual “sixth” campus. Two classes currently are offered through the eCampus, with 40 students enrolled, including one who currently is serving in the Army in Iraq. The seminary is scheduled to offer four additional courses in the spring, and roll out a full four-year cycle of courses beginning next fall.

“The eCampus means that Golden Gate has no walls to prevent ... training for ministry, no matter their location,” said Rick Durst, eCampus director. “It provides effective leadership training as close to the student's church or ministry context as possible.”

Students must complete one year of courses at a physical campus in order to receive a degree, per accreditation requirements.

-- The expansion of the seminary’s Contextualized Leadership Development program, which partners with local churches and Baptist associations to offer theological training to local ministers throughout the West. Don Beall, CLD director, has certified 40 centers for instruction this year, and 34 of those are actively teaching this fall -– more than double the number last fall.

-- Permission for the Pacific Northwest campus to receive international students; previously only the Northern and Southern California campuses were allowed to admit international students.

-- Large gifts given to the school during 2006, including an unrestricted gift of $90,000 from Berkland Baptist Church in Cambridge, Mass. The pastor, Paul Kim, is a Golden Gate graduate; his wife is a Southern Baptist chaplain at nearby Harvard University. The gift was a fulfillment of a $100,000 pledge made last year as part of the church’s 25th anniversary celebration.

-- Nearly $3 million raised since the launch of the “Partners for the Future” fundraising campaign.

Also at the trustee meeting, seminary supporters Carol and Conley Smith were given the Harold K. Graves award. The Graves award, named after the former GGBTS president, is bestowed on an individual or family who demonstrates long-term service to the seminary. The award normally presented annually upon recommendation and approval of the faculty.

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