2015-2016 President's Report

A Message from the President

As the president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, I have the immense privilege of reporting on God's faithfulness to this institution each year at the Southern Baptist Convention.

This report is more than a compilation of data — it is an important feature of our stewardship. While the life, work, and mission of Southern Seminary can never be reduced to any report or statistical analysis, we do recognize that there is a responsibility for us to look closely at markers and milestones that help us understand the blessings of God and the stewardship required of us in these times. I hope you will take the opportunity to look closely at this report. I believe you will be incredibly encouraged as you see what is happening on Southern’s campus in Louisville and, by extension, what is now reaching around the globe.

“I hope you will take the opportunity to look closely at this report. I believe you will be incredibly encouraged as you see what is happening on Southern’s campus in Louisville and, by extension, what is now reaching around the globe.”

The past year has been one of unprecedented blessing for Southern Seminary. In part, the numbers tell the story. We are experiencing the largest enrollment in the institution’s history. In the course of the last 12 months, Southern Seminary has had over 5,000 students enrolled. I am deeply humbled by the magnitude of that number and the fact that our student body includes the largest number of students studying for the pastorate gathered at any one institution at any single time in the history of the Christian church. Additionally, Boyce College continues to experience record enrollment, now with 1,200 students studying for ministry in our undergraduate programs. Above all else, this is cause for enormous thanksgiving for the blessings of God. We also thank God for the vitality of an institution, founded in 1859, that is experiencing such growth and momentum in the 21st century.

One of the most exciting developments in 2016 has been the further development of our Hispanic program. The Lord has opened an incredible door for Southern Seminary to minister all over the globe, but Southern Seminary now has even greater opportunity to make significant inroads into the Hispanic world. As part of the Hispanic Initiatives, we have been able to hire two Latino faculty members and we also now offer an entire online Master of Divinity program in Spanish.

I hope you will also consider this report an invitation. We invite you to visit the Louisville campus and gain what can only come by seeing the amazing work of God taking place in and through Southern Seminary. This report looks back not only to the last year but to over 150 years of Southern Seminary’s life and ministry. Even more urgently, it looks ahead, focusing with hope as we anticipate what God will do through Southern Seminary and its graduates in years to come.


R. Albert Mohler Jr.



Total Students


Southern Students


Boyce Students


M.Div. Students

Hispanic Program Adds New Faculty and Reduces Online Costs.

The addition of two influential Latino pastors to the faculty and offering all online Spanish master’s-level courses for $250 per class are key elements of a new initiative at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary designed to serve more effectively those called to ministry in the Spanish-speaking world.

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Smith Elected First African-American President of KBC

Kevin Smith, assistant professor of Christian preaching at Southern Seminary, was elected president of the Kentucky Baptist Convention with 71 percent of the vote on Nov. 10. Smith, who is also teaching pastor of Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, is the first African-American to serve in the KBC’s top post.

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Southern Leads Representation at ETS

More than 60 faculty, students, and alumni of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary presented papers or participated in panels at the 67th Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, Nov. 17-19, in Atlanta, Georgia. Southern’s representation at the evangelical scholarly organization outpaced other institutions.

Campus Improvements

Legacy Hotel

The Legacy Hotel received major renovations to the lobby and guest rooms. Finishes have been replaced from the ceiling, walls, and floors to provide an updated design concept without altering the layout and function of the existing lobby.

HD Video Upgrade

Southern upgraded its live-stream to high-definition video quality on YouTube allowing viewers to rewind live events. The streaming service is used for all broadcasted Southern events, including chapel, and offers accessibility on any mobile device.

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Grant Improves Classroom Technology

A grant from the Keesee Educational Fund allowed for 10 classrooms to receive desks with outlet plugins and new media services, including Smart Boards and lecterns with touch screen computers.

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"Soccer can break barriers and infiltrate societies for missions."

Luiz Moreira, a Boyce College student from Campo Grande, Brazil and one of the founding members of the school's new soccer team, explained why he desired to help start a soccer program at Boyce.
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Fall Festival

Fall Festival

September 11

Theology Conference

September 24 – 25

ACBC Conference

ACBC Conference

October 5 – 7

Expositors Summit

Expositors Summit

October 27 – 29

David Platt in Chapel


Key Southern Baptist pastors, evangelical leaders, and distinguished scholars delivered messages at Southern Seminary chapel services in the 2015-16 academic year, including IMB President David Platt; Nathan Finn, dean of theology at Union University; and Bob Russell, pastor emeritus of Southeast Christian Church.

Watch Chapel Messages
Bob Russell at the Leadership Briefing

Bob Russell Speaks on Leadership

November 3

General Doug Carver at the Night of Valor

Night of Valor

November 11

9Marks at Southern

Mullins Lectures and 9Marks Conference

February 23 – 27

Dan Dumas at the Renown Youth Conference

Renown Youth Conference

March 4 – 5

T4G 2016

Nearly 500 years after Martin Luther ignited the Protestant Reformation in 1517, 10,000 attendees from 43 different countries and 20 denominations filled the KFC Yum! Center to hear preaching from the biggest names in Reformed evangelicalism for the 2016 Together for the Gospel conference in Louisville, Kentucky, April 12-14.

Southern Seminary also sponsored “Despierta,” a pre-conference which featured leading Latino pastors, April 11 in Louisville’s Galt House Hotel. This one-day event also included addresses from R. Albert Mohler Jr. and John MacArthur.

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Dan DeWitt at Driven by Truth Worldview Conference

Driven by Truth

March 18 – 19

1937 Project

1937 Project

April 23

God and Politics

God and Politics

April 25

Jeremy Pierre at Counsel the Word

Counsel the Word

April 26 – 27

Join us for an upcoming event.

Southern proudly hosts a number of high-quality special events, conferences, and lectures each year for church leaders, lay people, and students from around the country.
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Albert Mohler AppSouthern Seminary launched a new mobile app and redesigned website for R. Albert Mohler Jr. in October, offering users more convenient ways to engage with the evangelical leader’s content. Among the new features, users can now listen to and share individual segments of “The Briefing” rather than accessing a single audio file of the daily podcast.

The free Albert Mohler app is now available in the App Store (iPhone only). The app and website also feature a “News to Watch” section aggregating noteworthy articles illustrating various worldview issues.

In the past year, more than 1.6 million people visited AlbertMohler.com for the seminary president’s essays, his daily podcast “The Briefing,” and “Thinking In Public” conversations, resulting in 6.4 million pageviews.

Download on the App Store




The Spurgeon Reader

The Spurgeon Reader

The Spurgeon Reader is a unique collection of famed British preacher Charles Spurgeon’s sermons and articles compiled and edited by retired Southern Seminary professor and Spurgeon biographer Tom Nettles. The book includes a foreword penned by R. Albert Mohler Jr. and a substantial biographical introduction from Nettles.

Southern Seminary Magazine redesign

The spring issue of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s alumni magazine marks a prominent transition for the publication, featuring expanded content on faculty and alumni while offering an innovative online version.

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More Faithful Service

More Faithful Service

Featuring contributions from R. Albert Mohler Jr., Hershael York, Dan Dumas, and more, More Faithful Service, the latest release from SBTS Press, is a workbook meant to prepare readers for a long and faithful gospel ministry. It is available for free download.

Download for Free



During the 2015-16 academic year, Towers, Southern’s monthly news publication, covered a variety of topics, including reaching American’s least religious generation; Winston Churchill’s leadership; Star Wars; and technology and spiritual devotion.

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Biblical Worship

The biblical worship programs for both Southern Seminary and Boyce College grew significantly from the year before. Enrollment in master’s programs at Southern Seminary grew by 86 percent and the Doctor of Educational Ministry program grew 79 percent. Meanwhile, the total enrollment in the Music and Worship Studies program at Boyce College grew more than 25 percent. Participation in choirs and the chapel orchestra also grew, with the Boyce College choir expanding 10 percent, Southern Chorale 15 percent, and the Chapel Orchestra 20 percent.


Growth in Enrollment

Christmas Concert, O Come, Emanuel

Christmas Concert

O Come, Emmanuel: An Advent Celebration, December 5, 2015, featured Southern Seminary Department of Biblical Worship, Sojourn Music, Sovereign Grace Music, and Highview Baptist Worship Ministry. The event raised over $11,000 for Scarlet Hope.

Music Tours

Music Tours

During the 2015-16 academic year, musical groups from Southern Seminary and Boyce College toured broadly, including churches, conferences, meetings, and schools across the nation.

Norton Hall Band,

New Album Releases

The Norton Hall Band released the album My Hope and Stay and Grinstead released their second recording, Grinstead Hymns, after being honored with national recognition for their first recording.

Music Videos

Bring the praise of the Lord to the unreached.

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Southern in the News

Mohler and Other Faculty Quoted in Major News Outlets


The Courier Journal

During the 2015-16 academic year, leaders from Southern Seminary appeared in more than 1,400 news articles and television and radio news programs. Also, the release of R. Albert Mohler Jr.’s new book, We Cannot Be Silent, brought significant media coverage

Mohler, Southern Seminary faculty, alumni, and students were quoted in such major news outlets as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Fox News Channel, CNN.com, The Associated Press, The Economist, The Atlantic, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Dallas Morning News, and many other newspapers. Additionally, national Christian news outlets WORLD Magazine, Christianity Today, Baptist Press, as well as national journals, like National Review and First Things, also regularly cite Mohler and others. In the Louisville area, major coverage of Southern Seminary has appeared in The Courier-Journal, all the local television network affiliates, as well as many local television and radio news broadcasts across the nation.

R. Albert Mohler Jr. at T4G 2016

Mohler at Conferences

One of the first ways that students discover Southern Seminary is from hearing Mohler speak on issues of the day at a conference. Here are some of the major conferences where Mohler spoke in the past year:

June 22-25, 2015
D3 Youth Conference

Aug. 3-4, 2015
Send North America

Sept. 28-30, 2015
“The SBC and the 21st Century”

Oct. 15-16, 2015
Evangelical Homiletics Society Conference

Nov. 16–19, 2015
ETS Annual Meeting

Jan. 30-31, 2016
Summit on Biblical Sexuality

Feb. 9, 2016
RISK 2016

Feb. 25, 2016
Ligonier National Conference

March 9-11, 2016
Shepherd’s Conference

April 12-14, 2016

April 15, 2016
Children Desiring God

May, 17-19, 2016
The Gospel Coalition Council Colloquium

May 25, 2016
Moody Pastor’s Conference

May 26-29, 2016
Por Su Causa Conference (Dominican Republic)

Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler prays for Governor Matt Bevin at his inauguration

SBTS Leaders Participate in Inauguration of Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin

Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. and Hershael York, Victor and Louise Lester Professor of Christian Preaching, were among the 11-member clergy at the gubernatorial inauguration where Mohler delivered the invocation, asking God for “daily guidance and protection” for Bevin and his family.

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Historic Enrollment Numbers

This Year...


Prospective Students Attended a Preview Day


Countries Represented in Southern’s Enrollment


Current Master of Divinity Students

At 1,985, Southern Seminary has the largest group of M.Div. students assembled at one time in one institution in the history of theological education.

Komatsu Brothers

Komatsu brothers from Hawaii, moved from thousands of miles away to Louisville, Kentucky: Rocky (B.S. in Humanities from Boyce in 2013), Trevor (B.A. in Biblical and Theological Studies from Boyce in 2015), Christopher (Boyce student), Van Michael (SBTS M.Div. student), and Kendrick (Boyce student).

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Steven Kunkel

Steve Kunkel says his autism is a gift from God. The son of international missionaries, Kunkel was diagnosed with autism at an early age after he hadn’t spoken for three years. The Boyce College student now speaks seven languages and is preparing for future missionary service as a Global Studies major.

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Albert Oh and his wife, Sara, moved to Louisville from New York to study in preparation for overseas missions. Because of the move, Oh said he thought he would have to give up his work as a freelance cinematographer. He looked for different jobs, but then found an opportunity to work as the cinematographer for Southern and use his gifts to tell the Southern story.


Southern alumni are located in all 50 states and 74 countries

Since 1992, Southern has deployed over 10,000 ministers of the gospel.
Russell Moore

Russell Moore

President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention and formerly Southern’s dean of the School of Theology, spoke at the Driven by Truth conference March 18-19. He explained how a proper worldview is rooted in a Christian ethic. Speaking on Matthew 25:31-46, Moore said Christians may often find themselves in situations where what is right is not easy to discern. During these times, he said, Christians must strive to live ethical lives even if it does not make sense in the eyes of the world, like loving those who are ignored and overlooked by society.

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Greg Thornbury

Greg Thornbury

If his appearance is striking to his fellow New Yorkers, Greg Thornbury’s evangelical convictions are “far out.” As the president of The King’s College in the financial district of Manhattan, Thornbury is shaping the landscape of Christian higher education as he mobilizes students to influence the sectors of nance, politics, and the arts. During his time serving under SBTS President R. Albert Mohler Jr., Thornbury says he learned to read gregariously in order to engage the “wisdom of the Babylonians” — alluding to Daniel 1:4. He hopes to pass that contagious love for learning to his students so “they will rise in position, stature, and leadership.”

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Raymond Lowdermilk

Raymond Lowdermilk

Lowdermilk is a military chaplain who graduated with his M.Div. in Biblical Counseling from Southern Seminary in December 2012, said he recognizes a “huge” opportunity for ministry in the military. Lowdermilk says he never has to compromise his convictions as a Southern Baptist chaplain and “continually contends for the sufficiency of Scripture in counseling, preaching, and teaching.”

Lowdermilk served a deployment as an Army 1st lieutenant chaplain for the Joint Detention Group in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp and is now stationed in Alaska with the Air Force.

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Jamaal Williams

Jamaal Williams

Jamaal Williams was installed as campus pastor of Sojourn Midtown Jan. 13. One of the fastest-growing churches in the United States, Sojourn’s largest congregation is located in Louisville’s Shelby Park, a majority black neighborhood. But prior to calling Williams, Sojourn had no African-American pastors. While recognizing his preaching style, interactions with others, and personality may present challenges to some white members, Williams says he is focused on leading in such a way that Sojourn can flourish as a multiethnic display of God’s kingdom.

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$47.9 M budget approved for 2016-17 academic year represents 29 percent growth over the budget 5 years ago.

Economic Growth and Revitalization


Fuller Hall Renovation

Fuller Hall Renovation

In April, the board of trustees approved a $14-million renovation of the seminary’s Fuller Hall to serve the seminary’s need to house the school’s growing enrollment. This project is the third phase of the 10-year Master Plan that began in 2012.

Tower Hero

Cooperative Program speeds ministry deployment

Generous giving through local Southern Baptist churches that participate in the Cooperative Program provided almost a quarter of the seminary’s funding, helping to speed the deployment of Southern graduates to the ends of the earth.

Help equip future gospel ministers

The Annual Fund was established to ease the financial burden students have to bear by offsetting the overall operating costs of the institution. Every dollar given to Southern Seminary’s Annual Fund is a dollar that a student will not pay in tuition and fees.
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