LOUISVILLE, Ky. – June 24, 2009 – Union University presented R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., with its M.E. Dodd Denominational Service Award during a June 23 dessert reception at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting.
The Dodd Award is the highest denominational service award Union gives. It is named for the man who was a Union alumnus, served as president of the SBC and who was the father of today’s Cooperative Program, the method by which Southern Baptists pool their resources to fund their mission efforts.
The award is given annually to a leader within the SBC who displays excellence and leadership in Southern Baptist life, as well as friendship and commitment to Union University. Past recipients include Jimmy Draper (2004), Adrian Rogers (2005), Morris Chapman (2006), Frank Page (2007) and Thom Rainer (2008).
In presenting the award to Mohler, Union University President David S. Dockery noted that he and Mohler have been friends for almost 25 years.
“We give this award tonight not because he is a wonderful friend, even though that is the case,” Dockery said. “We give this award to him tonight because he is a leader among leaders in the world of theological education, and because he is a leader in the broader evangelical world. He is a leader in articulating the Christian faith in our culture and for our churches.”
Mohler became the ninth president of SBTS in 1993 and has succeeded in reclaiming the vision of the seminary’s founders -- a vision that had been lost for many years -- Dockery said, quoting from Gregory Wills’ newly released book “Southern Baptist Theological Seminary: 1859-2009.”
Dockery also said that Mohler has distinguished himself as a friend to Union University in many ways. Mohler’s daughter Katie is a junior at Union, and Mohler led SBTS to give a six-figure gift to Union to replace holdings of the Ryan Center for Biblical Studies lost in the Feb. 5, 2008, tornado that decimated Union’s campus.
“For that generous gift we will always, always be grateful,” Dockery said.
Mohler said he was honored to receive the award, because it carries the name of both Dodd and Union University.
“Over the last decade, Union University is now branded as the leader in Christian higher education,” Mohler said. “It is without a doubt committed to the Christian world view, to the faith once for all delivered to the saints and to the highest standard of Christian scholarship.”
Even with Dodd’s significant contributions to the SBC, Mohler said that Dockery’s name would surpass Dodd’s name in Southern Baptist history.
“When I think of Dr. David Dockery, I think of joy and friendship and indebtedness, and this award puts me in his debt once again,” Mohler said. “I’m thankful that Southern Seminary and Union University are in close partnership.” About 300 people attended the 14th annual reception held during the SBC meeting.