Four administrative appointments announced at Southwestern Seminary

Ashley Allen

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The appointments of new administrators for finance, operations, facilities, and the Office of the President at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary were announced today by President Adam W. Greenway.  

“I’m delighted to announce appointments to four key administrative leadership posts on Seminary Hill,” Greenway said. “Not only is each person a well-qualified administrator with significant experience, but each person also brings a ministry-driven commitment to the work that will make a difference in the lives of the students and faculty they serve. Our seminary will be strengthened by their service.”

In a recent administrative restructuring, operations and facilities are now part of the Institutional Advancement Division, while finance is now part of the Institutional Administration Division. 

Michele G. Smith was appointed associate vice president for finance. A member of Travis Avenue Baptist Church in Fort Worth for the last 25 years, Smith has served at Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University since 2008, most recently as the vice president of business and finance. In her role at TCU, she coordinated annual financial audits, developed an annual operating budget of $9 million, and oversaw an endowment of approximately $80 million. 

Smith also has previous experience as assistant vice president at Bank One in areas including professional banking, special projects, and student loans. She holds Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Business Administration degrees, both with concentrations in finance, from Baylor University. She also serves as the volunteer treasurer for Mercy Clinic of Fort Worth. Located on the grounds of Travis Avenue Baptist Church, the Mercy Clinic provides free health, dental, and spiritual care to the uninsured and underserved community in south Fort Worth. 

“After over a decade of service at another institution of higher education in the Metroplex, I’m thrilled that Michele Smith will be making Southwestern Seminary her home as she brings her formidable talents in finance, budget, audit, and other areas of administrative responsibility to this critical new post of institutional service as associate vice president for finance,” said Colby T. Adams, vice president for institutional administration, which oversees business operations. “I believe the best days of Southwestern Seminary are ahead with Michele Smith giving great leadership to our fiscal operations.”

Smith said she is “thrilled” to serve at the seminary. 

“In partnership with Dr. Greenway and his senior leadership team, I look forward to building on the existing sound financial framework to best position this great institution for future opportunities,” she added. “I am passionate about preparing women and men for ministry through biblical Christian theological education and am pleased to join the Southwestern Seminary team as we together serve His kingdom in this way.”

Smith will begin her service on March 14.

Eric H. Vaughan was named associate vice president for operations. He most recently served eight years as the executive director of Compassion Center of Northwest Arkansas, a non-profit ministry affiliated with Cross Church in Springdale, Arkansas, that assists the vulnerable and food insecure. In his role at the ministry, Vaughan led the Compassion Center to establish “Feed the 479,” a food pantry that grew from annually serving 5,000 individuals to over 135,000 individuals while simultaneously establishing and operating multiple businesses to fund the ministry. The state of Arkansas recognized the work of Vaughan and his team as leaders in the fight against hunger and the organization was awarded multiple grants to continue their efforts. 

Vaughan earned a Bachelor of Arts in telecommunications from Oklahoma Baptist University and a Master of Arts in theology and leadership from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. His appointment was effective Jan. 31.

“Eric brings a wealth of business and ministry experience to Southwestern Seminary that will serve our institution well as we press forward in training the next generation of church and ministry leaders,” said F. Edward Upton, vice president for institutional advancement. “I look forward to seeing how he leads our campus operations team to serve the students, faculty, and staff of Southwestern Seminary.”

“I am honored and humbled to have this opportunity to engage and serve Southwestern as we continue the tradition of excellence that has been a hallmark of President Greenway’s tenure,” Vaughan commented. “I look forward to establishing great relationships with the team.”

Steven Graves, named director of facilities maintenance, most recently worked as the core claims project manager for Jenkins Restoration in Norcross, Georgia. His role entailed managing repairs on multiple properties, preparing estimates for insurance property claims, conducting site inspections with homeowners to address repairs and other concerns, and recruiting and meeting with subcontractors. 

Graves’ ministry experience includes serving as the adult discipleship pastor at Cross Pointe Church in Duluth, Georgia, where he provided oversight to multiple volunteer group leaders, managed the budget, and helped transition the church’s ministries to an online platform during the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to his roles in Georgia, he was the director of student services and the resident minister at Cross Church in Springdale, Arkansas. Additionally, Graves was previously the associate pastor of Mill Creek Baptist Church in Bardstown, Kentucky.

“Steven exemplifies the type of culture that has marked the Facilities team at Southwestern Seminary for decades—a strong work ethic and attention to detail in stewarding the resources entrusted by God to this great institution,” Upton said. “His mix of experience in the field and in the local church will serve Southwestern extremely well in the years to come.”

“I am excited to be a part of this historic institution and serve with a great team that has been assembled here,” Graves said of his appointment.

Graves, who earned a Bachelor of Arts from Spurgeon College in 2019, began his service on Jan. 1.

D. Heath Woolman, who will serve as chief of staff for Greenway, is a Doctor of Education in organizational leadership candidate in the Jack D. Terry School of Educational Ministries at Southwestern Seminary. He has served at First Baptist Church of Kissimmee, Florida, in several roles since 2014, most recently as the discipleship pastor. Woolman has additional leadership experience as the senior pastor of Chaplin Baptist Church in Chaplin, Kentucky, and student pastor at First Baptist Church of Frostproof, Florida. Also, he has served as a trustee of The Baptist College of Florida.

Woolman, who will coordinate the work of and oversee the staff serving in the Office of the President, holds a Master of Divinity degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, a Master of Arts in Christian Leadership from Liberty University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Education from Warner University.

“As a minister and administrator, Heath Woolman brings the qualities and experience that are needed to make sure the Office of the President functions at the highest levels,” Greenway said. “I’m grateful for his sense of calling to this role and for God’s provision of him to serve our team.”

“My family and I are excited to make the ‘Dome’ our home,” Woolman said. “Southwestern’s legacy of training men and women to fulfill God’s calling for their lives has directly impacted the nations for eternity. I am honored and grateful to join Dr. Greenway’s administrative team as Southwestern Seminary continues this work of reaching the world for Christ.”

Woolman begins his service on March 14.