Southwestern Seminary announces 2024 distinguished alumni honorees


Stanton “Stan” Norman, Jarrett Stephens, and Darin Wood have been selected as the 2024 recipients of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s distinguished alumni awards, President David S. Dockery announced today.

The honorees will receive their recognitions at the seminary’s Alumni and Friends Luncheon on June 12 during the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Indianapolis.

Stanton “Stan” Norman”
Norman, who has served as president of Williams Baptist University in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, since 2018, earned Master of Divinity (1990) and Doctor of Philosophy (1997) degrees from Southwestern. The Oklahoma native previously served as the provost and executive vice president at Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, Oklahoma, for a decade before he began serving at Williams. He also previously served as vice president for university advancement at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri.

David S. Dockery, president of Southwestern, said Norman “has served well as pastor, professor, author, scholar, and Christian higher education administrator.” Dockery noted Norman’s work “related to Baptist distinctives and the importance of Christ-centered education has been beneficial to many” and that the seminary is “quite grateful for his loyal dedication to Southwestern.”

In addition to his academic administrative leadership, Norman has taught in the classroom, having served as associate professor of theology and director of the Baptist Center for Theology and Ministry at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He also previously taught at Charleston Southern University in Charleston, South Carolina, and The Criswell College in Dallas.

A prolific author, Norman has been an author or editor of several books, including The Mission of Today’s Church, The Baptist Way, and Perspectives on Church Government.

Norman and his wife, Joy, have three grown sons.

Jarrett Stephens
A 2006 Master of Divinity graduate of Southwestern Seminary, Stephens has served as the senior pastor of Champion Forest Baptist Church in Houston since 2021. A Louisiana native, Stephens served at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, as the college and young singles pastor before assuming the role of teaching pastor. While at Prestonwood, Stephens oversaw the church’s internship program as well as the Prestonwood Network, which supports church planters who serve churches planted by the Plano-based church.

Calling him “a model pastor and an example for many across the SBC,” Dockery said that Stephens’s “deep and strategic investment in the next generation of ministers is commendable on multiple levels.” He added the seminary counts “it a privilege to call him a Southwesterner.”

In addition to his degree from Southwestern, Stephens holds a Bachelor of Arts in biblical studies and psychology from Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, and a Doctor of Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary.

Stephens is the author of two books, The Always God and The Mountains Are Calling, and is the host of the “Forward with Jarrett Stephens” podcast.

He and his wife, Debbie, are the parents of four daughters.

Darin Wood
Two-time Southwestern Seminary graduate Darin Wood has served as the pastor of First Baptist Church of Midland, Texas, since 2016. The Joshua, Texas, native earned a Master of Divinity (1993) and Ph.D. (2006) from Southwestern. Additionally, Wood holds a Bachelor of Arts from Dallas Baptist University in Dallas.

Dockery noted that Wood has “served the First Baptist Church of Midland with distinction.”

“For a number of years, he has been a source of great encouragement to students, faculty, and administrators at Southwestern Seminary,” Dockery said. “We are truly thankful for his generous support and his ongoing friendship to Southwestern.”

Before serving at the West Texas church, Wood was the pastor of Central Baptist Church in the East Texas town of Jacksonville. Additionally, he was the pastor of First Baptist Church of Frankston, a town located between Athens and Jacksonville, and Memorial Baptist Church in Corsicana, Texas. He previously served as the youth pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Shawnee, Oklahoma, and was the youth evangelism intern at the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

Wood and his wife, Julie, are the parents of their son, Joshua.

All three honorees serve the seminary as part of the newlyformed Southwestern Board of Reference.

More information about the SBC Alumni and Friends Luncheon, as well as ticket purchase options, can be found here.