FROM THE PRESIDENT
As many of you know, Southern Seminary was one of the pioneers in the development of doctoral degrees among seminaries. Over a century ago, the seminary became one of the first free-standing institutions to offer a recognized Ph.D. In the late 19th century, American higher education was beginning to standardize the Ph.D. as the highest academic degree in North America. It retains that status today, and I am extremely proud of the fact that Southern Seminary was one of the institutions that led in the development of this important academic milestone. We now have many other doctoral degrees to accompany it.
When I arrived at Southern Seminary as a student, I would often visit the library and look at the massive line of doctoral dissertations that were then available in a special section of shelves. From time to time I would take down one of these dissertations written by illustrious pastors and scholars such as W. A. Criswell, Herschel Hobbs, and so many others. Then, a few years later, I embarked on my own doctoral program at Southern Seminary. I knew that I was joining a very long line of consecrated scholarship. I felt then, as I feel now, the weight and glory of that tradition.
As a doctoral student, I knew that I had entered into a tradition and that behind me stood a long line of Christian scholars. Now, I am unspeakably encouraged to know that I am followed by a line of deeply committed, highly convictional, and academically gifted pastors and scholars.
My prayer is that the doctoral program will be for you a consummate exercise of the stewardship of your gifts and a priceless opportunity for your development as a Christian in the service of Christ’s church. Always remember that the doctoral program at Southern Seminary was intended for just this purpose — to provide a first-rank core of Christian pastors and scholars for the church.
—R. ALBERT MOHLER JR.
President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary