FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – Emanuel University in Oradea, Romania, honored Southwestern Seminary first lady Dorothy Patterson by establishing the Dorothy Patterson Chair of Biblical Womanhood, Dec. 18.

Elijah Soritau, a professor at Emanuel, and his wife Raelene witnessed the Patterson’s passion for biblical family values while he studied under Southwestern Seminary President Paige Patterson, then the president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

During that time, Raelene says, the Pattersons adopted them as a son and daughter.

“We saw firsthand the role of biblical manhood and womanhood lived out for us by this extraordinary couple,” Raelene says.

Upon their return to Romania and to Emanuel University, Raelene began a Bible study in her home with 10 female students of the university. 

“Dr. Dorothy Patterson has always been a champion of the biblical home and an inspiration to many in fulfilling her roles as godly wife, mother and servant in the kingdom of God,” Raelene says.

That inspiration led her to start the Bible study, and she used Mrs. Patterson’s book, “A Woman Seeking God: Discover God in the Places of Your Life,” as a resource, translating it into Romanian. The small group later grew into the university’s women’s ministry group called “The Beauty of Holiness.”

The Dorothy Patterson Chair of Biblical Womanhood will help enhance the ministry of that women’s group with seminars, conferences and scholarships. Additionally, it will help in the translation of all of Mrs. Patterson’s publications and other literature into the Romanian language.

“It was instinctive to name this endowment chair after her since her name is synonymous with biblical womanhood,” Raelene said.

Southwestern Seminary President Paige Patterson said his wife has worked from the shadows for years to establish biblical Christianity around the world, whether through fundraising, writing books or other means.

“She is just as happy for her work to remain in the shadows,” Patterson said, “but I am grateful that Emanuel has chosen to honor this woman who has contributed so greatly to literature for women.”

After the plaque honoring Mrs. Patterson was revealed, Patterson spoke in the university’s chapel service and personally gave an installment of $10,000 toward the chair.

“The Patterson family is honored,” Patterson says of the recognition they received.

Emanuel University is the largest privately funded Christian school in Europe and is also the only government-accredited, evangelical Christian university in Europe.

The university was founded as an underground school in 1986 by Emanuel Baptist Church. It came out of secrecy after the Communist regime fell in 1989 and now has more than 1,500 graduates serving around the world.