David Dockery elected 10th president of Southwestern Seminary

Christian higher education leader David S. Dockery was elected 10th president, and Southern Baptist leader O.S. Hawkins was elected to the new role of chancellor, during the spring meeting of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary board of trustees on April 19.

The unanimous elections of Dockery and Hawkins to their new roles come nearly seven months after their elections as interim president and senior advisor and ambassador-at-large, respectively, following the resignation of Adam W. Greenway.

“Our seminary’s at a critical juncture in its 115-year history, and in God’s providence, He has already provided the man to lead our seminary during this time,” chairman Danny Roberts told trustees. Roberts said trustees did not need to “look further for our next president” based on Dockery’s “impressive performance as interim [president] providing stability and healing, his long track record of outstanding Christian leadership in higher education, with the current needs of the institution.”

Dockery said he was “deeply humbled and genuinely grateful for the privilege and responsibility to serve” as Southwestern’s 10th president. “I am truly thankful for the overwhelming support from the board of trustees as well as for the faithful encouragement and prayerful support from the faculty, staff, colleagues, and students. What an honor it will be to continue to serve side by side with O.S. Hawkins, a dear friend and person that I greatly admire and from whom I have learned much in recent months.”

Roberts expressed gratitude for Hawkins’ willingness to accept the new role of chancellor, in which he “will continue to offer his experience as statesman and influence in this seminary and in this community. There are really few leaders in Southern Baptist Convention life who have the impeccable leadership credentials Dr. Hawkins has, with the sterling track record of 25 years as president of GuideStone Financial Resources, among other places of service.”

Hawkins, who retired in March 2022 as the president and CEO of GuideStone, is a two-time alumnus of Southwestern Seminary, holding Master of Divinity and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. Immediately prior to assuming the presidency at GuideStone, Hawkins was the senior pastor of the historic First Baptist Church of Dallas from 1993-1997. Hawkins also served as the pastor of First Baptist Church of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (1978-1993), First Baptist Church of Ada, Okla. (1974-1978), and First Baptist Church of Hobart, Okla. (1972-1974). He has authored more than 40 books.

Dockery, who earned a Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Seminary in 1981, joined the seminary faculty in 2019 when he was named distinguished professor of theology and theologian-in-residence for the B.H. Carroll Center for Baptist Heritage and Mission. He also served as special consultant to the president. Later, he was named editor of the Southwestern Journal of Theology, the seminary’s historic academic journal. From December 2020 to February 2022, he also served as interim provost at Southwestern. Additionally, he serves as the inaugural director of the Dockery Center for Global Evangelical Theology, which was named in his honor by the board of trustees at their spring 2022 meeting.

After a lengthy career in Christian higher educational leadership at Trinity International University, Union University and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in 2019 Dockery was invited to assist with the founding of the International Alliance for Christian Education. He has also served as president of the Evangelical Theological Society and board chair of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, Christian College Consortium, and Consortium for Global Education.

Dockery is a sought-after speaker and lecturer and former consulting editor for Christianity Today, and has authored, edited or contributed to nearly 100 books, including “Renewing Minds: Serving Church and Society Through Christian Higher Education,” “Southern Baptist Consensus and Renewal,” and “Theologians of the Baptist Tradition.” As an author, he is best known for his works in the areas of Baptist studies, biblical interpretation and Christian higher education. He served as the New Testament editor for the 40-volume New American Commentary Series, as general editor of the 15-volume Reclaiming the Christian Intellectual Tradition Series, and is co-editor of the multi-volume Theology for the People of God series. He is general editor of the forthcoming New English Translation Study Bible.

A native of Tuscaloosa, Ala., Dockery was named a distinguished alumnus by Southwestern Seminary in 2002.