on Thursday, May 2, 2024

Notable student performance and faculty achievement were honored during the annual Celebration of Excellence service at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Leavell College on Tuesday, April 30.  

President Jamie Dew opened the last chapel of the spring semester by expressing his gratitude for another year of study, service and ministry preparation.  

“This is a very exciting and a very good day for us as a family just to sit together and acknowledge together what the Lord has done in our lives as a school and then especially what God has done in the lives of various individuals,” Dew said.  

“I don’t know about you, but I’m grateful to get to be a part of NOBTS and Leavell College. This is a joyful, life-giving place for all of us. We get to share life together, serve Christ together and today we get to acknowledge, that’s what this is about. This is a day to celebrate, this is a day to acknowledge all of those achievements of our people.”  

Various NOBTS and Leavell College faculty members were recognized and honored for their service and ministry throughout the year.  

Faculty contributions to the church and the academy were recognized with the Marvin Jones Awards for Excellence, named for longtime Louisiana minister of education, church planter, and NOBTS alumnus. 

Dr. Rex Butler, professor of church history and patristics, received the award for Outstanding Teacher in recognition for classroom performance. Butler is retiring at the end of the school year after 17 years of service with the seminary.  

Outstanding Faculty Churchman went to Dr. Mike Wetzel, associate professor of pastoral ministry. Wetzel has been serving as the interim pastor of St. Bernard Baptist Church in Chalmette, La., and was honored for his ministry to both the church and the seminary.  

Dr. Bill Warren, professor of New Testament and Greek, received the award for Outstanding Research Professor for his work leading the H. Milton Haggard Center for New Testament Textual Studies.  

Additionally, Dr. Ted Williams, assistant professor of expository preaching, received the Ola Farmer Lenaz Grant in support of his continued research for a project relating to the book of Isaiah. 

The following faculty publications during the academic year were recognized:   

  • Alan S. Brady, editor, “The Apocalypse of John Among Its Critics” 
  • Lloyd Harsch, “Local Focus, Global Impact: Biblical Principles for Effective Church Life” 
  • Jody Dean, “Managing the Ministry: A Practical Guide to Church Administration” 
  • Jody Dean, “Protect: A Youth Worker’s Guide to Navigating Risk” 

Awards were given to NOBTS and Leavell College students for their outstanding performance in the classroom, ministry service and character.  

Outstanding Student Award recipients in the degree programs were: 

  • Shawn Beard, Associate Program    
  • Rebekah Daigrepont, Baccalaureate Program
  • Liz Cuenin, Master of Arts in Christian Education
  • Nathan Evan Bell, Master of Divinity: Christian Education
  • Rebekah Presswood, Master of Music in Church Music
  • Harrison A. Kossover, Master of Divinity  

Receiving the Robert S. Magee Doctoral Scholar Award, given in recognition of academic excellence and scholarly potential, were Karen Colston and Edward T. Palmer. 

Other Outstanding Award Recipients included:  

  • Lalchhanhima Khiangte, Leavell College Best Senior Thesis  
  • Zachary Penwell, Breazeale-Guidry Award for Excellence in Biblical Studies 
  • Isaac Bowlin, Zondervan Hebrew Award  
  • James Hollan Spivey, Zondervan Greek Award   
  • Alison Christine Matthews, Disciple Leaders Network Award  
  • Reid Nelson Stevens, B&H Publishing Excellence in Christian Ministry Award 
  • Travis Cronan, C. C. Randall Award in Evangelism  
  • Kenneth Shane Booker, David and Sue Meacham Award for Outstanding Church Planting Student 
  • Jacob V. Hines, Excellence in Missional Living Award  
  • Elizabeth Siciliano, Karalyn Towater; James A. Headrick Award for Excellence in Christian Counseling 
  • Eric J. Champion, Daniel H. Holcomb Christian History Award 
  • Jacob V. Hines, Zondervan Theology Award 
  • Johnny A. Ruiz, Outstanding Student Award in Christian Thought  
  • Jakob Aubrey Harris, Broadman & Holman Seminarian Award
  • Valeria Rodriguez, Charles Ray Pigott Fellowship for Minority Students  

Several NOBTS and Leavell College staff members were also honored for notable work anniversaries.  

Staff members with service anniversaries of 10 years included Blanca Montero Phillips and Michael Wang.  

Staff member Brett Allen was recognized for 15 years of service, and staff members Tyrone Cole and Ky St. Amant were recognized for 20 years of service.