FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary took the opportunity to dedicate several renovations to its Naylor Student Center, Dec. 1.
J. Howard and Sue Williams Room
An upstairs banquet room was renovated to honor J. Howard and Sue Williams. Howard Williams, along with his children and other friends and family members, provided the funds for the renovation and dedicated the room in honor of his late wife, Sue.
The Williams family has a strong history with the seminary. Howard’s father, J. Howard Williams, served as Southwestern’s fourth president for 5 years, from 1953 to 1958 before suffering a fatal heart attack.
“Many times, after a man retires or goes on to be with the Lord, the family does not stay interested in his former work, but that is emphatically not the case with the family of J. Howard Williams,” President Paige Patterson said.
“The Williams family has stayed very much connected to the work of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, first and foremost as our prayer partners. We appreciate them so much for faithfulness in that way, but they also have been wonderful contributors to the school.”
The room will serve the seminary as a place for hospitality, hosting banquets, receptions and lectures.
Ethelene Clarke Lobby
Rev. Lewis Clarke, a retired pastor, and his children dedicated the lobby on the first floor of the student center in honor of his wife, Ethelene Clarke, who passed away in April. Lewis Clarke passed away just before Thanksgiving, but his sons David and Dwight Clarke were present for the dedication.
Ethelene Clarke led an adventurous life, serving as a Southern Baptist missionary to Brazil and South Africa, being a licensed pilot, and working for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. More importantly, she was a committed follower of Christ, a faithful wife of 65 years, and a devoted mother.
First-floor renovations also feature an array of taxidermy animals from the Bolin Wildlife Exhibit collection. The family of the late W. Perry Bolin, founder of Bolin Oil Company, donated the collection to the seminary several years ago. Patterson said the collection helps set the atmosphere for a reading area in honor of David Livingstone, a 19th century Scottish missionary and explorer in Africa.
“We wanted to do a David Livingstone reading room where students could come and study with the prospect of missions ever before them,” Patterson said. Framed around the area are paintings about Livingstone as well as an original, handwritten letter by Livingstone.
“It’s a perpetual reminder of the missionary assignment of the church,” Patterson said.