The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary announced today that, due to the continuing threat of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, all seminary-sponsored, on-campus events for the spring semester, including commencement exercises, have been cancelled.
“It is painful to take the unprecedented, but necessary, step of cancelling our spring commencement since never before in our 112-year history has Southwestern Seminary not held a scheduled graduation ceremony,” said President Adam W. Greenway. “I deeply regret this dramatic action, and I know it will be incredibly disappointing to our seminary and Scarborough College graduates, but I am prayerful they, as faithful Southwesterners, will understand that such a step was appropriate as the institution seeks to do what is in the best interests of our students and their families, the seminary community, and the greater Fort Worth area.”
The announcement follows the seminary’s March 12 coronavirus update, which entailed moving all on-campus courses to online delivery for the remainder of the spring semester, cancelling all remaining chapel services for the semester, and cancelling campus events through April 4. Today’s announcement extends those event cancellations through the remainder of the spring semester.
Spring 2020 graduates will receive their diplomas by mail after May 8 and will be invited to participate in the fall 2020 commencement ceremony in December.
In a video message to students, Greenway said these are “extraordinarily unprecedented times” and assured the Southwestern Seminary and Scarborough College community that their first priority is properly ministering to their families, then taking care of their churches and ministries, and, lastly, their studies.
“I want you to know that I believe very firmly that God is working already to make Southwestern Seminary a more caring place, to help provide comfort and options for students as they navigate a situation that is changing, literally, moment by moment,” Greenway said. “Our team is doing everything we can to provide as seamless of an experience for our students, because at Southwestern Seminary and Scarborough College, the students are the most important members of our community.”
“Know that Southwestern Seminary and Scarborough College is thankful for you being a part of our family here,” Greenway concluded. “And we are excited about how God is going to, even in the midst of this crisis, use it to help connect men and women, boys and girls, to the life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
The seminary also recently announced the launch of new, eight-week online course terms, beginning April 27, starting with nine courses in the first term, with more expected to be added throughout 2020. Although months in the making, Greenway said, “In God’s providence, we are now positioned to offer these new courses at a time when they will be especially meaningful to our students.”
Additionally, the seminary recently announced Virtual Preview sessions, an innovative way for prospective students to learn about academic programs and hear from Greenway and the seminary and Scarborough College faculty. The first session is scheduled for March 24, altogether 14 sessions are planned. The sessions are part of an initiative that will include a Virtual Preview Day, including a virtual tour of the Fort Worth campus. The date for the Virtual Preview Day will be announced later.