Discover Southwestern

Who We Are

Our Story

One of the largest seminaries in the world, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary equips men and women with a strong theological foundation to fulfill God’s calling on their lives. Rooted in Scripture and branching out to fulfill the Great Commission, Southwestern’s motto is “Preach the Word, Reach the World.”

Southwestern Seminary has trained and commissioned more than 42,000 graduates to serve in local churches and mission fields around the world. In 1908, B.H. Carroll established the seminary on the campus of Baylor University, and Southwestern moved to its current location on Seminary Hill in Fort Worth in 1910. Paige Patterson was elected as the eighth president of the seminary in 2003.

The motto “Preach the Word, Reach the World” captures for a new generation of students the historic pledge of Southwestern Seminary to serve both Southern Baptist churches and a lost world by equipping ministers for their God-ordained task.


History & Heritage

  • 1908

    Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary founded on the campus of Baylor University in Waco, Texas. This was the fulfillment of a vision birthed in B.H. Carroll on a westbound train across the Texas Panhandle in 1905.

  • 1910

    Southwestern finds a permanent home in Fort Worth. Through the cooperation of Baptist pastors and community leaders, the city of Fort Worth offered $100,000 and tracts of land in a proposal to the seminary. The money was used to move the seminary to Fort Worth and build its first building, which was named Fort Worth Hall in honor of the city.

  • 1915

    Departments of Religious Education and Gospel Music established. Armed with a passion for the Gospel and Texas-sized determination, the fledgling Southwestern Seminary blazed a trail as it forged new ground in training men and women for music and educational ministry in the church. These two departments were the first of their kind ever established in a Southern Baptist seminary. Later in the seminary’s history, these departments became the School of Church & Family Ministries and the School of Church Music.

  • 1921

    First presentation of Handel’s Messiah. This annual tradition has continued for nearly 100 years and has become a highlight of the fall music concert schedule. The event is open to the public with free admission and has become a means of sharing the Gospel with the community.

  • 1943

    First issue of Southwestern News. Today, Southwestern’s flagship publication reaches more than 60,000 people around the world. Read the latest issues of this award-winning publication.

  • 1949

    B.H. Carroll Memorial Building opened. The iconic symbol of the campus for more than 50 years, the memorial building houses classrooms, administrative offices, preaching labs, and Truett Auditorium.

  • 1959

    Students begin preaching revivals across the nation. A small group of students set out in 1959 to reach pioneer areas of the country with the message of the Gospel, and this program continues today under the name Revive This Nation. Learn more about this revival program.

  • 1968

    Southwestern launches first Youth Ministry Lab. This annual conference draws more than 1,000 youth ministers and their student leaders and equips them with encouragement and ministry strategies to reach the next generation for Christ. Learn more about YML.

  • 1975

    Southwestern opens an extension center in Houston. Now known as the J. Dalton Havard School for Theological Studies, this campus in the heart of the nation’s fourth-largest city trains men and women for service in local churches and mission fields around the world.

  • 1979

    Recreation/Aerobics Center (RAC) opens. The RAC houses a gymnasium with an indoor track, four racquetball courts, snack area, locker rooms, a state of the art cardiovascular activity room, a strength training room, a classroom and a multipurpose aquatics facility. Adjacent to the center are lighted tennis courts, an outdoor track, a sand volleyball court and playing fields.  Learn more about the RAC.

  • 1980

    World Missions Center (WMC) opens. The World Missions Center coordinates student mission trips and supports students in their calling to reach the world with the Gospel. Learn more about the World Missions Center.

  • 1982

    Roberts Library & Tandy Museum open. One of the largest theological libraries in the world, the 100,000-square-foot A. Webb Roberts Library contains more than 600,000 volumes and seating for more than 600 students on the three floors with a number of semi-private study carrels. Learn more about Southwestern’s libraries. Open to the public, the Tandy Archaeological Museum produces regular exhibits, lectures and self-teaching displays, which highlight the various cultures that existed throughout the Near East in antiquity. Learn more about the Tandy Institute for Archaeology.

  • 2000

    Southwestern opens impressive conference center. The Riley Center offers 55,000 square feet of conference space and conference rooms featuring state-of-the-art media equipment. The center also includes 48 luxury guestrooms and 7 suites. Learn more about the Riley Center.

  • 2001

    Southwestern launches women’s ministry concentration and Islamic Studies program. Women’s ministry has been a focused area of study at Southwestern since its inception. Learn more about Women’s Programs. Southwestern’s Islamic Studies program prepare Christian missionaries for understanding and reaching people with an Islamic background with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Learn more about the Master of Arts in Islamic Studies.

  • 2005

    Southwestern establishes the Roy Fish School of Evangelism & Missions and the College at Southwestern. The School of Evangelism & Missions offers master’s and doctoral programs in church planting, missiology, Islamic studies and evangelism. The College at Southwestern offers bachelor’s degrees in biblical studies, music and humanities.

  • 2011

    The MacGorman Chapel and Center for the Performing Arts opens. With a 3,500-seat auditorium, this 96,000 square-foot center is ideal for conferences, concerts, recitals, and a host of other events that require ample seating, stage space and lighting. Read about the MacGorman Chapel.

  • 2012

    Beginning in July 2012, Southwestern hosted the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible exhibition. Southwestern Seminary owns more Dead Sea Scroll fragments than any institution outside of Jordan and Israel. The six-month exhibition in the MacGorman Performing Arts Center featured more than 20 scroll fragments, including Southwestern’s collection as well as scroll fragments and artifacts related to the discovery on loan from Israel, Jordan and private collections. Many of the fragments, including a large piece from the book of Genesis, had never been on public display before. The exhibition, which ended on Jan. 13, 2013, drew thousands of visitors to Fort Worth. Read more about the exhibition.



Welcome to Fort Worth, Texas

Fort Worth

Boasting a rich western heritage as well as a thriving climate of business and culture, Fort Worth stands as an ideal community in which to live. You’ll discover a multitude of ministry opportunities within local churches and parachurch organizations. Additionally, individuals and families have a host of exciting entertainment possibilities to choose from.

The main campus of Southwestern Seminary is located in Fort Worth, Texas, a city with extensive educational, cultural, and recreational facilities. Fort Worth is known as the city "where the West begins" and is famous for its friendly western hospitality. The Fort Worth-Dallas area, called "the Metroplex," comprises the sixth largest population center in the nation, with a combined total of approximately four million citizens. Together with Dallas and surrounding cities, Fort Worth is an integral part of a growing metropolitan and industrial complex.


Other Places

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Why Southwestern is the right place for you?

That's a great question. Here are some of the reasons why.

  1. You should come to Southwestern because you will grow in your faith as you train for the ministry in which God has called you to serve.
  2. You will be a member of a loving community of Christians who are fully committed to the inerrant Word of God as the foundation for life and ministry.
  3. You will grow in your knowledge of the Truth, your love of the church, and your passion for the lost.
  4. Your tuition will be less than almost any other seminary, so you can maximize your ministry and minimize your debt.
  5. Finally, Fort Worth is just a great place to live: The cost of living is low, there are hundreds of area churches for serving as you study, and there are countless opportunities for good, clean fun with family and friends.

Established 1908 Fort Worth, Texas

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