Southwestern Seminary First Lady Dorothy Patterson’s birthday was commemorated with a gift that female students at Southwestern will benefit from for years to come: a $25,000 endowment in Mrs. Patterson’s name.

“You have truly modeled in your life as a Proverbs-31 woman,” said Director of Women’s Programs Terri Stovall as she gave Mrs. Patterson news of the scholarship during a chapel service, Oct. 25. “So on your birthday, we wanted to find a way that would honor you today and recognize your work, your ministry and your sacrifice for the kingdom of God.”

The $25,000 endowment will fund the “Dorothy Kelley Patterson Award in Women’s Studies.” Stovall said the award will be presented each year to a “woman enrolled in Southwestern’s master of divinity program, with a concentration in women’s studies. She will be a woman who exhibits academic excellence, possesses great potential for woman to woman ministries, and lives the life of a biblical woman.”

Before the presentation, chapel attendees watched a video of Mrs. Patterson’s life, depicting significant events from the past as well as pictures of her present, day-to-day life. Mrs. Patterson’s grandchildren, Rebekah and Abigail, made a special appearance in the video montage, speaking about what makes their grandmother so special to them. Numerous friends and family members of the Pattersons were present in chapel to mark the special occasion.

“You have impacted the lives of women and families around the globe,” Stovall said. “You have sacrificed so much in order to hold up the standard of biblical womanhood that God has established from creation. You have set the bar high and have challenged women to excel in theological education.”

Southwestern President Paige Patterson also wished his wife a happy birthday. He said he believes there is no tougher job than that of a pastor’s wife.

“The main reason is that they hear all (the criticism), but they can’t say anything about it,” Dr. Patterson said. “Mrs. Patterson has suffered through all that through all the years of our marriage and has done so with great faith.”

President Patterson also thanked those who contributed to the Dorothy Kelley Patterson award. He explained that the seminary places the $25,000 principle endowment in an interest-bearing account, and the interest goes each year to the award recipient.

“This award will carry on your legacy for years to come and will serve to encourage our women as they prepare themselves to one day take up the mantle,” Stovall told Mrs. Patterson.