The generosity of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s donors is helping the seminary to flourish and to pursue fulfillment of the Great Commission worldwide, Southwestern Seminary President Adam W. Greenway told friends of the seminary at a celebratory luncheon, March 7. The luncheon recognized Barbara Cooper, 2019 recipient of the B.H. Carroll Award, and John D. Morgan, 2019 recipient of the L.R. Scarborough Award, for their legacy of faith and commitment to Southwestern Seminary.

The B.H. Carroll Award, the seminary’s highest honor, is given annually to individuals or couples who have made significant contributions to continue the vision of the seminary’s founder. Encouraged by her longstanding connection to Southwestern Seminary, recipient Barbara Cooper has been extremely generous in her support. 

Twenty years ago, Cooper and her husband, Bill, met Jack Terry, vice president emeritus for Institutional Advancement at Southwestern Seminary, through a Sunday School class Terry was teaching. Through Terry, the Coopers became dedicated to the work of the institution, and Barbara became involved in the Dressed for Service program for women.

Bill Cooper was a World War II bombardier and an engineer who had developed a keen interest in real estate, and he aimed to buy as many properties as possible. Through the years, the couple accumulated numerous homes in Colorado and in North Texas, and a spectacular Colorado ranch.

After a life of service to Christ, Bill passed away in 2011, and Barbara Cooper became a strong supporter of Widows’ Might. After Bill’s death, she proceeded to give away her properties, and the Coopers’ vast ranch at the foothills of the Rockies was a gift to Southwestern Seminary. Sold for $1.3 million, it established an endowment for women’s programs at the seminary. As her remaining properties are sold, a portion of the proceeds will permanently endow Southwestern Seminary’s women’s programs.

Cooper encouraged those attending the luncheon to be generous in their gifts to Southwestern Seminary. “Even the smallest gift contributes to the Great Commission,” she said. “It was a great joy of Bill and I to contribute.”

John Morgan, recipient of the L.R. Scarborough Award, attended Southwestern Seminary, graduating in 1966 with a Bachelor of Divinity degree. That year, he and his wife, Beth, founded Sagemont Church in Houston, and Morgan has since faithfully served as its pastor for more than 50 years. 

A preacher who enthusiastically shares the Gospel, Morgan believes that all who know Christ are called to evangelize. Sagemont now counts more than 20,000 members and regularly sends hundreds each year to share the Gospel on short-term international mission trips, as well as through mission work in Houston.

The church still counts everyday evangelism as part of its core mission. “The idea is not just to talk the talk,” Morgan says, “but to be living proof of a loving God.”

In 2016, Sagemont announced a $650,000 gift to Southwestern Seminary to underwrite the John D. Morgan Classroom at Mathena Hall in honor of the Morgans, and in celebration of the church’s 50th anniversary. Reflective of Morgan’s passion to evangelize, Matthew 28:19 is inscribed on the wall: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” Sagemont also supports J. Dalton Havard School for Theological Studies in Houston and the Darrington Prison Extension Campus in Rosharon. 

“I accept this award as a tribute to my church family,” Morgan said upon accepting the award. “We all love Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.”

Greenway expressed deep gratitude for the generosity of all donors who make the work of Southwestern Seminary possible. “The pastors of your grandchildren are being trained right here and right now,” he said. 

He emphasized the seminary's commitment to four directives that guide the institution: a commitment to the full authority of the Bible, to the Baptist faith, to the Great Commission, and to a spirit of cooperation. “We want our seminary to again be known as a place that builds bridges and brings people together,” he said.