FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS ) – Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary dedicated a prayer room and tower in honor of Dottie Riley during its opening of the new MacGorman Chapel, Dec. 1. Dottie and Harold Riley gave the $16 million lead gift for construction of the new chapel in 2006, and Harold wanted to dedicate this part of the building to his wife.
“I chose to name the prayer tower after Dottie because she radiates the love of God and her fellowman,” Harold said.
During a dedication ceremony, President Paige Patterson said the prayer room’s focus will be on international missions. He also expressed his gratitude for the Riley’s investment in Southwestern and the kingdom of God.
“One of the reasons that we’re so grateful for him is that he’s an example of when God blesses you with the things of this world, most people live and die with them, very few people invest them in the kingdom of God,” Patterson said. “Harold’s willingness on a long term basis—not only here but elsewhere—to invest resources in the kingdom of God is something that we hope that this prayer room will be a testimony to.”
Dottie Riley said she was grateful for her husband’s honoring gesture.
“When Harold told me my name would be on the prayer tower and room at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary,” Dottie said. “I was overcome with humility and did not know what to say. It is an honor beyond understanding and description.
“My prayer life started at a very young age. My grandfather was a devoted Christian. He was always in prayer and reading his Bible. Witnessing the peace and serenity in his life was a powerful Christian inspiration. I decided to follow in his footsteps with prayer, kindness and love for people.”
The prayer room contains kneeling benches and places for prayer requests. The tower, located above the prayer room, stretches 100 feet in the air as a testimony to the power of prayer and the role it plays at Southwestern. The tower is lit at night and can be seen from great distances all over the community.
Longtime friends of the seminary, the Rileys have also contributed to building projects such as the Ray I. Riley Center, named after Harold’s father, and other seminary endeavors.
Harold Riley serves as chairman of the board and CEO of Citizens Insurance Company of America in Austin, Texas. His father earned a degree from Southwestern in 1953 and served as pastor of churches in Texas, Arizona, Oklahoma and California.