NOBTS celebrates outstanding students, faculty and staff at annual awards chapel service

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New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary held its annual “Celebration of Excellence” chapel service May 6 to honor top students and faculty and to recognize milestone anniversaries for staff members.

“It’s important to do things as unto the Lord, with excellence,” NOBTS Provost Steve Lemke said to start the award ceremony. “Certainly, this is the challenge we all have as Christians. It’s a challenge that we have as faculty and staff of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. It’s something you have as students.”

Student awards
Each year, faculty members identify outstanding students from various academic programs at New Orleans Seminary. Outstanding students in specific degree programs for 2014 are as follows:
• Associate Program — Wendell Rhodus
• Baccalaureate Program — Kyle Rhodes
• Master of Divinity — Sean Walker
• Master of Divinity in Christian Thought — Zachary Milstead
• Master of Divinity in Christian Education — Suzanne Burnett
• Master of Arts in Christian Education — Frank Mons Sr.

Other outstanding student award recipients included:
• Baptist Association of Christian Educations Award in Christian Education — Nicholas Pacurari
• Zondervan Hebrew Award — Cory Barnes
• Zondervan Greek Award — Katherine Unsworth
• Jack and Juanita Cunningham Scholarship — Megan Burnett
• C.C. Randall Award in Evangelism — Wesley Remkus
• James A. Headrick Award for Excellence in Christian Counseling — Katherine Arnold and Michelle Muncy
• Zondervan Theology Award — Andrew Hollingsworth
• Daniel H. Holcomb Christian History Award — Joshua Freeman
• Missional Living Award — Joshua Peeler
• Broadman & Holman Seminarian Award — Joshua Lee Jordan
• LifeWay Pastoral Leadership Award — Russ Randall
• Robert S. Magee Doctoral Fellowship — Shin Deok Ra and David Bond

Staff and faculty honors
New Orleans Seminary has two staff members celebrating 25 years at the school this year: Alton “Bizzy” Bene, who works in facilities, and Janet Benjamin, who works in the President’s Home. Rhonda Smith — a fixture in the Registrar’s Office, a former assistant director of the NOBTS preschool, and a chief organizer of the main campus’s Surplus With A Purpose (SWAP) shop — is celebrating 20 years. Julie Barentine from the operations department, Tyrone Cole with facilities and the library’s Ky St. Amant all have been at NOBTS 10 years.

NOBTS Provost Steve Lemke named this year’s recipients of the Marvin Jones Awards for Excellence.

Three faculty awards — outstanding classroom teacher, outstanding faculty churchman and outstanding research professor — pay tribute to Jones, a graduate of NOBTS when it was at the Uptown New Orleans campus. Jones went on to pastor churches in Louisiana and Arkansas and to be a church planter in Oregon. Jones was passionate about the church, studying the Bible and teaching and preaching the Bible. The three awards named after him honor those passions.

Dr. Angie Bauman, assistant professor of Christian education at the seminary’s North Georgia location, was named the outstanding classroom teacher for 2014. Bauman earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Georgia Southwestern College and taught high school math before beginning seminary studies. She earned both a master of divinity and doctor of philosophy from NOBTS.

“She loves teaching. She has taught overseas recently in Cameroon, Africa, in Romania and in Belgium,” Lemke said. “In Georgia, in addition to teaching at the extension center, she teaches through the Barnabas prison ministry to women inmates at one of the prisons in Georgia.”

Lemke described the Outstanding Faculty Churchman award as going to a faculty member who gets into the church and also brings the church into the classroom. This year’s recipient is Dr. Jake Roudkovski, associate professor of evangelism at NOBTS and director of the school’s supervised ministry program. He’s also very active in church ministry in Louisiana.

“For the last few years, he’s been pastor at Bogue Falaya Baptist Church, and that church has grown from about 70 in attendance to 200 in attendance during the time he’s been there,” Lemke said.

The third Marvin Jones Award, recognizing the outstanding research professor for 2014, went to Dr. Dan Warner, associate professor of Old Testament and archaeology. Like Bauman, Warner is an extension center-based faculty member. Warner teaches at the seminary’s Orlando, Fla., center.

“Not only that, [Warner is] one of our ministry-based faculty members,” Lemke said. “I don’t believe a ministry-based faculty member has ever been elected for this award before.”

Warner is a graduate of Spurgeon Baptist Bible College and Grace Theological Seminary, and he earned a Ph.D. degree from Trinity College University in Bristol, England.

“He, of course, is a specialist in archaeology,” Lemke said. “He is the director of our center for archaeological research and has been very integrally involved in our Tel Gezer dig in Israel, which has really made national and world headlines in the world of archaeology.”

Warner also heads up the Virtual Bible Project, which presents computer-generated tours of biblical scenes like the Temple Mount.

The final award given was the Ola Farmer Lenaz Grant, which provides funds to a faculty member for a particular research project. Dr. Bill Warren, professor of New Testament and Greek, was the 2014 recipient of the grant.

“When we think of Dr. Warren, we think of an outstanding New Testament professor, the director for the Haggard Center for New Testament Textual Studies, and of course, he has done great research and scholarly contributions in that area,” Lemke said. “But he has a few other hats, like pastor and former missionary.”

Lemke said the Ola Farmer Lenaz Grant will help translate the master of theological studies degree in the Spanish language and also aid in other projects with Eastern and Western Cuba Baptists.

To conclude the celebration service, Lemke recognized two faculty members who have published books during the past calendar year. Page Brooks, assistant professor of theology, recently coedited Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: Homosexuality, Chaplaincy and the Modern Military. Dr. Bob Stewart, professor of philosophy and theology, also recently edited The Message of Jesus: John Dominic Crossan and Ben Witherington III in Dialogue.