Highlights of History
On May 26, 1950, the Baptist Missionary Association of America voted to
consider an invitation from the Baptist Missionary Association of Texas to make
Jacksonville (Texas) College Seminary a project of the national association. At
its next annual meeting on March 14, 1951, the Association selected a committee
of five to investigate proposed locations for the founding of a national
Definite action was taken by the B.M.A. of America on March 17, 1954, when a
committee composed of D. N. Jackson, G. D. Kellar, J. W. Duggar, E. B. Jones and
L. H. Raney was authorized to select twenty others to serve with them to draft
and present at the next annual meeting a definite proposal of how and when to
begin a seminary. The first trustees, elected on March 30, 1955, were D. N.
Jackson, W. J. Dorman, M. E. Childers, W. C. Lacy, A. R. Reddin, L. H. Raney, H.
A. Purtle, C. O. Strong, Alfred Jones, C. L. Hall, D. D. Morgan, G. D. Kellar,
J. W. Pope, J. Howard White and W. S. Gordon.
The first trustees were granted authority to select a site, acquire property,
secure a faculty and solicit funds from the churches of the national
association. Jacksonville, Texas, was selected for the permanent location. A
land grant of ten acres was given by Dr. J. M. Travis and William S. Gober.
Another seven acres were acquired at a later date. The groundbreaking ceremony
was held on October 15, 1956, and all but the chapel of the new seminary complex
was completed in time for the first classes to begin on September 8, 1957.
Fifty-seven students from six states made up the first class.
There were five faculty members and one secretary in the first year of
school. Dr. G. D. Kellar served as president; Dr. W. J. Dorman, as dean; John W.
Gregson, as registrar; Dr. D. N. Jackson and Harold Brunson as professors. The
administrators also taught. Mrs. John W. Gregson was secretary and bookkeeper.
Most of the first faculty had already been serving as the faculty of
Jacksonville College Seminary which by authorized arrangement was merged with
the newly established national seminary.
Dr. Gerald D. Kellar served as president from June, 1956, to May, 1967. Dr.
John W. Gregson succeeded him as president and served from June, 1967, to
November, 1971. Dr. Philip R. Bryan, dean since 1967, served as acting president
from November 1971, to March, 1973, at which time Dr. John W. Duggar began to
A new library building was begun shortly after the groundbreaking on May 21,
1963, and was completed in time for dedication and a grand opening on February
18, 1964. It was named Kellar Library.
On January 18, 1971, the seminary was
granted associate membership in the Association of Theological Schools.
library addition was begun in 1980 with the dedication and grand opening on
February 17, 1981. The trustees named it the John W. Duggar Library Annex. It
doubled the size of the library which now has holdings of over 64,000 volumes.
In December of 1982, the seminary was designated a Candidate for Accreditation
by the Committee on Standards and Reports of the Commission on Colleges of the
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA.
30033-4097; Phone: 404-679-4501) to award the Associate of Divinity, Bachelor of
Arts in Religion, Master of Arts in Religion, and Master of Divinity degrees.
August 1, 1983, Dr. Philip R. Bryan succeeded Dr. John W. Duggar as president of
In December 1986, accreditation was granted by the Commission on
Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Reaffirmation of
accreditation was received in December 1991 and December 2001.
In 1992 the seminary library
became a member of the Forest Trail Library Consortium.
A major renovation
campaign was initiated during the 1993-'94 school year. Over $200,000 was raised
and applied to repairing and remodeling of student housing.
May 18, 1999, Dr.
Charley Holmes succeeded Dr. Philip R. Bryan as president of the seminary.
In August 2003, the seminary received initial certification from
the Arkansas Department of Higher Education to offer graduate theological
education at an extension site on the campus of Central Baptist College in
Conway, Arkansas. This extension site was opened under the direction of Dr. Thom
South and serves the needs of Arkansas students.
Progress has been made under every administration, and the
seminary continues to grow in students, faculty, financial support, and outreach
ministry to preachers, lay workers and churches of the Baptist Missionary
Association of America and other Christian groups.