Browse Exhibits (3 total)

Documents from the First Decade of Southern Methodist University


Originally exhibited May 15–August 28, 2013
Entry Hall


To honor the centennial of Southern Methodist University, Bridwell Library presents from its archival holdings eighteen documents produced between 1911 and 1920 which offer insights into the development of the university and its School of Theology.

The training of ministers and other church leaders was an important part of SMU’s founding vision. In 1915–1916, the university’s opening year, thirteen students enrolled in the Bachelor of Divinity degree program, twelve students enrolled in the theology certificate program, forty-seven undergraduates took courses at the school of theology, and eighteen Dallas-area pastors took continuing education extension courses.

To learn more about the history of Perkins School of Theology, please consult these works:

Allen, Joseph L. Perkins School of Theology: A Centennial History. Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 2011.

Grimes, Lewis Howard, and Roger Loyd. A History of the Perkins School of Theology. Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1993.

Patterson, Stanley, and Ruth Patterson Maddox. Building SMU, 1915-1957: A Warm and Personal Look at the People Who Started Southern Methodist University. [Lewisville, Texas]: Odenwald Press, 1995.

Thomas, Mary Martha Hosford. Southern Methodist University: Founding and Early Years. Dallas: SMU Press, 1974.

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The First African American Graduates of Perkins School of Theology


Originally exhibited April 28–August 21, 2015
Entry Hall


On May 30, 1955 A. Cecil Williams, James V. Lyles, James A. Hawkins, John W. Elliott, and Negail R. Riley made history by becoming the first African Americans to graduate from Perkins School of Theology and Southern Methodist University. This sixtieth-anniversary exhibition highlights their accomplishments after seminary as distinguished church and community leaders.

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William B. Lawrence, Dean of Perkins School of Theology, 2002–2016


Originally exhibited April 12–May 15, 2016
Reception Hall


William B. Lawrence studied at Duke University (B.A., 1968), Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York (M.Div., 1971), and Drew University (Ph.D., 1984). In 1969 he joined the Wyoming Conference of the United Methodist Church (located in northeastern Pennsylvania and southern New York). There he served more than two decades as a pastor and district superintendent. From 1998 to 2001 he was senior minister of Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C. At the denominational level, Dr. Lawrence has served on the General Commission on Religion and Race (1992–1996) and on the Judicial Council of the United Methodist Church (2008–present; President 2012–present).

Before being appointed Dean and Professor of American Church History at Perkins School of Theology in 2002, Dr. Lawrence served at Duke University Divinity School (1993–1998), Wesley Theological Seminary (2000–2001), and Candler School of Theology at Emory University (2001–2002). Under Dean Lawrence’s fourteen years of leadership, Perkins School of Theology has constructed Prothro Hall and renovated Kirby and Selecman Halls, created several new programs, restructured the Graduate Program in Religious Studies, appointed new faculty members, and strengthened the administrative staff.

This display highlights William B. Lawrence’s leadership of Perkins School of Theology and his contributions to theological education and church life.

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