Southwestern Seminary recognized three ministry partners as recipients of the L.R. Scarborough and B.H. Carroll awards at a special luncheon, March 8. Each couple was recognized for their legacy of faith and for graciously giving of their time, gifts and talents.

Receiving the L.R. Scarborough award, the Honorable Paul Pressler III and Nancy Pressler are longtime friends and supporters of Southwestern Seminary. Their connection with Southwestern President Paige Patterson and First Lady Dorothy Patterson spans decades, as Judge Pressler was one of the key figures in the Southern Baptist Convention Conservative Resurgence. The movement, of which Pressler was an architect along with Paige Patterson, was integral to the convention’s return to a high view of Scripture. 

Judge Pressler served as a member of the Texas legislature for 12 years before becoming a judge on the 133rd district court in 1970. He served as Justice for the 14th Court of Appeals until his retirement in 1993.

Together, Paul and Nancy have taught and discipled many of their church’s young people, including the youth, college students and young adults. They also taught Sunday School for several decades, led home Bible studies, and Paul has served as a deacon since they were married in 1959.

Since 1995, the Presslers have faithfully partnered with Southwestern Seminary and have sacrificially supported the institution and its students in numerous ways, including student scholarships, Southwestern’s Havard campus in Houston, Women’s Auxiliary and Dressed for Service in Houston, and Southwestern’s extension campus in Bonn, Germany.

Upon receiving the L.R. Scarborough award, Judge Pressler expressed his gratitude for the seminary and the work of Paige and Dorothy Patterson. He said, “I am honored, I am blessed, I am grateful for the faculty, and I am grateful for the leadership of Southwestern Seminary.”

Curtis and Oneta Tally received the B.H. Carroll award. They are long-time residents of Justin, Texas, and active members of First Baptist Church in Justin. Because of their church’s 30-mile proximity to Southwestern Seminary, the influence of Southwestern has been present in their church for many years. In addition to the professors and students who have served as interim pastor for their church, they have had students and alumni serve in various positions including senior pastor and worship director.

As they became more acquainted with the quality work and ministry of Southwestern’s students, they developed a particular appreciation for the School of Church Music. Recognizing the unique opportunity Southwestern offers students to be equipped for music ministry, the Tallys began supporting Southwestern in 1975 and have established the E.C. and Faye Tally Endowed Scholarship and the Oneta and Curtis Tally Steinway Piano Maintenance Endowment Fund to offset maintenance costs for Southwestern’s Steinway pianos.

“Oneta and I are very honored to receive the B.H. Carroll award,” Curtis told luncheon attendees. “It is our prayer that Southwestern Seminary would continue to educate and train workers for the harvest long after these Steinway pianos have worn out.”

Elizabeth Griffin of Germantown, Tenn., also received the B.H. Carroll award. She and her late husband, Neil, were long-time supporters of Southwestern Seminary and the Southern Baptist Convention, regularly attending convention meetings and even assisting key leaders with hospitality and travel needs.

Following Neil’s death in 2007, First Lady of Southwestern Dorothy Patterson asked Elizabeth to contribute to the monthly Widows’ Might prayer ministry newsletter. Recognizing the importance of prayer, she was eager to join these prayer efforts and even founded a Memphis chapter, which now has more than 50 participants.

Her sacrificial support of Southwestern is reflected in many areas: Women’s Auxiliary, Dressed for Service and student scholarships. She was one of the patrons who contributed to the installation of the Adrian Rogers Preaching Library, and she has encouraged many young, aspiring ministers to attend Southwestern. Moreover, Elizabeth, along with Mr. Roy Baxley (2013’s B.H. Carroll Award recipient), provided the original vision for the forthcoming Baptist Heritage Center opening in 2018.

“I am extremely humbled to be recognized with this award and I pray that Southwestern will continue to stay firm and true to the Word of God,” Griffin says.