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Southeastern Seminary enrollment approaches 2,000, Patterson says
--By Lee Weeks
     ATLANTA, June 16--Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary is on course to reach the 2,000 enrollment mark by the year 2000, Southeastern President Paige Patterson announced during the seminary's annual National Alumni and Friends Luncheon June 16 at the Georgia World Congress Center.
     Through the 1999 spring semester, Southeastern's non-duplicating headcount totals 1,813 students. This figure, which includes the total number of students enrolled during an academic year, is expected to rise with the addition of new students enrolling during the summer school sessions. Patterson, who also is president of the Southern Baptist Convention, said the seminary remains equipped to handle the enrollment growth, thanks to a student-housing construction boom over the last year and a half that has resulted in nearly 300 new student-family housing units. "We have space for you now and we ought not to face another difficulty with that for another couple of years," Patterson said.
      Also, Patterson said Mackie Hall is scheduled to reopen later this summer, having been renovated for faculty office space. In other business, Phil Roberts, vice president of the North American Mission Board, presented Patterson with a plaque commemorating the seminary's new partnership with NAMB in the "Nehemiah Project," a national church-planting initiative.
As part of the project, students enrolled in the seminary's master of divinity program in North American church planting will spend their first two years of the program studying at the Southeastern campus. The final two years will be field training, working with a mentor where a church is being planted.
     Roberts said NAMB is funding a director's position for each of the six Southern Baptist seminaries. Bill Brown, instructor of evangelism and church growth, is heading up the Southeastern program. Roberts said students "will not only learn about the theory of church planting but [fulfill] the practice of evangelizing our world by planting New Testament churches." In another program development, Patterson said the seminary had its first graduate in May from the seminary's new master of divinity with women's studies program.
In alumni news, Southeastern honored George W. Braswell with the 1999 Distinguished Alumnus Award.
     Braswell, distinguished professor of missions and world religions at Southeastern, has served on the faculty 25 years. Braswell, who received a doctor of ministry from Southeastern in 1973, also serves as director of the seminary's doctor of ministry program. Patterson described Braswell as a universally recognized scholar in the study of Islam.
"There are very few out there who know more about Islam than Dr. Braswell," Patterson said. "He has written extensively in the area of not only Islamic studies but also in missions. George Braswell combines the two things you almost never see, a scholar and missionary, all at one time."
     The following alumni were elected as officers for the coming year: president-elect, Coy Privette, a member of Southeastern's board of trustees and former president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina; secretary-treasurer, Terry Harper, pastor of Colonial Heights Baptist Church, Colonial Heights, Va.; and member-at-large, Ned Mathews, pastor of Parkwood Baptist Church, Gastonia, N.C., and member of the board of trustees.

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