on Wednesday, April 15, 2020

When New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Leavell College leaders asked alumni and donors for help in creating summer scholarships, the initial response was overwhelming. The generous seminary donors gave more than $300,000 in the first week of the scholarship campaign.

To date, donors have given $311,357 toward “Bridge Campaign” for summer scholarships.

Normally, scholarships are only offered at NOBTS/Leavell College during the spring and fall semesters. Due to the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on students, NOBTS/Leavell College President Jamie Dew sought donor help so students could continue their ministry training. The funds generated would be used to provide summer tuition scholarships during this difficult time for students.

“Our donors stepped up in a major way over the past few weeks to provide a significant amount of financial aid for summer classes,” said Dew. “Because of their generosity, students who enroll in our Red Carpet Week workshops in May or our June and July summer classes and apply for financial aid will receive a 50 percent tuition scholarship for each course.”

Those who gave to the Bridge Scholarship Campaign include regular NOBTS donors, alumni, seminary administrators, and members of the seminary and Leavell College faculty. Dew added that many of those who gave are pastors and ministers serving the churches of Southern Baptist Convention.

“On behalf of NOBTS and Leavell College we would like to express our gratitude at what God has done, and thank the generous donors that have made the Bridge Campaign such a success,” said Mike Wetzel, vice president of institutional advancement at NOBTS. “We had a few donors step up to offer $150,000 towards a matching goal of $300,000. We surpassed that goal within the first week of giving.”

“I am humbled at how quick the response has been during this global pandemic,” he said. “The giving is a small testimony that we still know that God is in charge, and we want the students to continue their education.”

Wetzel said that the response from the campus family was especially touching. According to Wetzel, 25 administrators, professors and staff members contributed to the Bridge Campaign.

For the many students who have lost jobs due to COVID-19 or have seen their employment hours reduced, the aid could not have come at a better time. The scholarships will allow many students to continue their preparation for gospel ministry, even in a time of great uncertainty.

The stipulations for receiving the aid are simple. Students must enroll in at least one summer course and fill out an online form through the school’s financial aid office. Each student who does so will receive a scholarship worth 50 percent of his or her total summer tuition cost. Students will receive the scholarship for each course taken. Scholarships are available for all summer courses including those originally scheduled as online courses. The assistance will be awarded until the fund is exhausted.

NOBTS and Leavell College also have worked to assist students with emergency financial needs brought on by the COVID-19. To date, the school has awarded more $46,000 from an emergency aid fund to assist with basic needs such as food, housing and medical care.

Dew to teach two summer courses

In addition to the generous scholarships provided by donors, students will have another incentive to take a summer class: the chance to take a class taught by the president. On April 13, Jamie Dew announced to students that he would be teaching two courses this summer. Dew will teach “Introduction to Philosophy” for Leavell College in June and “Christian Apologetics” in the master’s program in July. Not originally scheduled to teach this summer, the president was able to add the classes last week due to COVID-19-related changes to his summer travel schedule.