Dr. W. Morgan Patterson, second from right, is honored during Campbellsville University’s Centennial Campaign Celebration Dinner. Patterson is pictured with, from left, Dr. Jay Conner, chair of CU’s Board of Trustees, Dr. Michael V. Carter, president, and Dr. Frank Cheatham, vice president for academic affairs. (Campbellsville University photo by Joan C. McKinney)
Former Georgetown College President Serves as Scholar in Residence at CU
By Rachel Crenshaw, student news writer
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. — Dr. W. Morgan Patterson, noted theologian, Baptist historian and 22nd president of Georgetown College, has been serving at Campbellsville University as a Scholar in Residence for several years. He believes it is very important to engage in ministry; therefore, he said he will continue to serve as long as his health permits and he is capable of working and ministering.
“I can see God working at CU,” Patterson said, “as it is attracting a growing number of students. I also believe the School of Theology has a very important emphasis on the campus.”
Patterson taught “Church History” and “The Baptist Heritage” classes this semester and will return in January to teach once more.
Patterson first came in contact with CU through a mutual friend, Marc Whitt, former vice president for communications at CU. Whitt had been employed at Georgetown College while Patterson was president, and it was their association that eventually led Patterson to CU.
Patterson said he accepted the invitation from the theology department to come to CU to teach because he felt it was a very kind offer and because he had acquired a mutual love for Kentucky after living there for 25 years. He said he gained many friends within the vicinity of Kentucky and enjoyed the fellowship.
Patterson said there were quite a few contrasts between Campbellsville and his home in California. He said he enjoys a small town, particularly the reduced amount of traffic. In addition, he has the opportunity to visit Louisville, Ky., where he had lived for 17 years.
Patterson was born in New Orleans, La., where he received his master of divinity and doctor of theology degrees from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, in addition to his graduate degree, which he received from Stetson University, in Deland, Fla. Patterson has also completed two years of post-doctoral study at Oxford University.
He was president at Georgetown College from 1984 to 1991. During this period, Georgetown College had the highest enrollment in its 162-year history, doubled its endowment to $16 million, and undertook the renovation of five buildings.
Prior to going to Georgetown College, Patterson served as dean of academic affairs at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Mill Valley, Calif., from 1976 to 1984.
He was also the former director of graduate studies in the School of Theology and the David T. Porter Professor of Church History at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville. He served on the faculty there from 1959 to 1976, and was acting dean of the School of Theology in 1971.
In addition he was the assistant professor of church history at New Orleans Seminary from 1956 to 1959. He has served as pastor of Stapleton Baptist Church in Stapleton, Ala., and Progress Baptist Church, in Progress, Miss. He has also served as an interim pastor of numerous churches in California, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi.
Since his retirement from Georgetown College, Patterson has served as visiting professor of church history at Midwestern Seminary, Louisiana College, Golden Gate Seminary and New Orleans Seminary. He has also taught at Oklahoma Baptist University.
In 1992, he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Stetson University, and in 1993 he was given the Distinguished Service Award for contributions to Baptist history by the Historical Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Patterson is listed in “Who’s Who in America” and is a contributor to the Baptist World Alliance Centennial volume published in 2005 and a contributor to “Pilgrim Pathways” published by Mercer University Press in 1999.
In addition, he is a member of the Baptist History and Heritage Society, American Society of Church History and the Conference on Faith and History.
Patterson and his wife, Ernestine, reside in Campbellsville while he teaches at CU. Their two grown sons remain in California, the Pattersons’ place of permanent residency.
Campbellsville University is a private, comprehensive institution located in South Central Kentucky. Founded in 1906, Campbellsville University is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention and has an enrollment of 2,601 students who represent 93 Kentucky counties, 27 states and 31 foreign nations. Listed in U.S. News & World Report’s 2009 “America’s Best Colleges,” CU is ranked 22nd in “Best Baccalaureate Colleges” in the South for the second consecutive year. CU has been ranked 16 consecutive years with U.S. News & World Report. The university has also been named to America’s Best Christian Colleges®. Campbellsville University is located 82 miles southwest of Lexington, Ky., and 80 miles southeast of Louisville, Ky. Dr. Michael V. Carter is in his tenth year as president.