As the eighth president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Paige Patterson brings to the position 28 years of experience in the education of pastors and missionaries. After 17 years as president of The Criswell College, he served for 11 years as president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C. The focus of Dr. Patterson's leadership is made up of an intense commitment to evangelism and the global mission task based on a foundational component of demanding research and rigorous academic preparation.
A graduate of Hardin-Simmons University, Patterson also completed Th.M. and Ph.D. degrees in theology at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He was twice elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention, serving Southern Baptists in that role from 1998-2000. During those years he appointed a committee to revise the Baptist Faith & Message, the confession most widely employed by Southern Baptists, and also presided over the historic session of the convention in which this revised confession was adopted.
While studying at New Orleans Seminary, Patterson was pastor of a church and at the same time operated a coffee-house ministry with street evangelist Leo Humphrey in the famous French Quarter. There he worked with biker gangs, underworld figures, homosexuals, prostitutes and runaway teenagers from all 50 states in sharing the good news of salvation in Christ.
The Pattersons have now traveled to and ministered in 125 countries of the world, which has allowed the President to share Christ with six heads of state in various countries, including Yasser Arafat and Menachem Begin. He has led church planting movements in New Hampshire and other states in America and served as pastor of churches in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas.
Currently, Dr. Patterson is involved extensively in Christian sportsman banquets throughout the United States. Using PowerPoint presentations on hunting dangerous game and emphasizing the critical importance of fathers in the task of making responsible men from the mischievous raw material of boys, he has rejoiced over more than 2,000 men coming to Christ through these banquets in the last two years. These events develop naturally out of his love for the "outback," his exploits in hunting (he has taken lion, leopards, and buffalo, or three of the African "big five") and SCUBA diving. Despite their busy schedules, Dr. and Mrs. Patterson have both found time to pen numerous books and articles.
A native Texan, Patterson was born in 1942 while his father, T.A. Patterson, was completing his Th.D. degree at Southwestern Seminary under the tutelage of W.T. Conner. The beginning of his tenure as President in August 2003 marks Paige Patterson's return to Southwestern. His wife, Dorothy, is a professor of theology in women's studies at Southwestern, but she sees her most critically important role as that of wife, mother, and now grandmother. Their son, Armour, together with his wife Rachel, live in Arizona's Sonoran Desert, where he pursues a literary vocation. Their daughter, Carmen, is married to Dr. Mark Howell, pastor of the Houston Northwest Baptist Church in Houston, TX. The Howells have presented the Pattersons with two granddaughters, Abigail and Rebekah. Noche, the ever-present black Labrador Retriever, completes the family circle.