GEORGETOWN, KY — Dr. Greg C. Earwood, the first and only president in the history of Baptist Seminary of Kentucky, announced he will be retiring from the position this summer. Earwood, who has served in this role since 2001, reported that his decision was accelerated by health concerns, but that he is confident he is leaving the seminary at a high mark in its history with its recent attainment of Association of Theological Schools (ATS) accreditation and the announcement of major gifts and endowments. “Prior to retirement, I had envisioned the completion of three major goals for the seminary: 1) accreditation; 2) additional collaboration alongside churches, cooperative organizations and institutions, and the larger Christian family; and 3) a stable financial base,” Earwood said. “I am pleased that the Seminary has achieved these goals.”
Earwood will remain as a consultant until October to assist the Seminary Board of Trustees and interim leadership. “If there’s such a thing as a good time for a legacy president to hand off leadership, perhaps this is it,” Board Chair Larry Gray said. “The stage has been set for a great future.”
His retirement also coincides with the completion of the first phase of a major gift campaign, including the largest single pledge to BSK to date: $1 million from a single donor. Half of the amount has been designated as an estate gift, with the remaining $500,000 to be given over the next five years. This generous gift will establish an endowed Office of the President named in honor of Dr. Earwood and his wife, Nell.
“We give to honor the supreme effort Dr. Earwood has made to bring BSK through the difficult and formative years and the process of winning ATS accreditation,” the donor, who requested anonymity, wrote in a letter announcing the gift. “BSK stands today as a living monument to his faith, calling, dedication and incredible work ethic.”
In 1995, he joined with a group who began to plan for theological education in a moderate Baptist tradition in Kentucky, leading to the launch of BSK in 2001. Earwood guided the Seminary to locate initially at Calvary Baptist Church in Lexington, Ky. and then at Lexington Theological Seminary before transitioning to its current home on Georgetown College’s campus. Previously, he spent 29 years as a pastor in Indiana and Kentucky, including First Baptist Church in Murray, Ky., and Faith Baptist Church in Georgetown, Ky.
“In the beginning of BSK, there was Greg,” said Dr. Dalen Jackson, BSK’s academic dean. “He did it all. He recruited students and faculty and trustees, rounded up financial support, oversaw the academic program, developed partnerships, and worked tirelessly to turn the vision of a new seminary into a reality. In many ways Greg has been a pastor to the whole BSK community, while leading us to accomplish what many said couldn’t be done. The faculty is grateful for the leadership Greg has given BSK and the friendship and loyalty he has shown each of us through the years.”
The Seminary Board has accepted Dr. Earwood’s retirement date of July 31, 2016. The Trustees will determine the structure for the search committee for the new president at their June 20th board meeting. The search committee will represent an inclusive membership of faculty and staff, board, and friends of the seminary.
In a resolution presented to President Earwood at the celebration of the school’s accreditation, the seminary community declared that he “has led the seminary through much adversity to a place of vital contribution preparing women and men for life and ministry and into the promised land of accreditation with humility, loyalty, perseverance, wisdom, humor, and grace.”
On behalf of the Board, Dr. Everett McCorvey stated, “We look forward to carrying on the legacy started by Dr. Earwood and through our collaborations with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, the Kentucky Baptist Fellowship, the excellent relationship with Georgetown College, and the newly established relationship with Simmons College in Louisville. With the ongoing work of our talented faculty, staff and students, the future is bright for BSK and we have a lot to celebrate as we move forward.”
Baptist Seminary of Kentucky, located on the campus of Georgetown College in Georgetown, Kentucky, is a graduate-level, accredited seminary founded in 2002.