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East Texas Baptist University and B. H. Carroll Theological Seminary Merge Following SACSCOC Approval

June 20, 2024

East Texas Baptist University and B. H. Carroll Theological Seminary are pleased to announce their official merger, following approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The SACSCOC Board of Trustees approved ETBU’s Substantive Merger/Level Change prospectus, endorsing the integration of B. H. Carroll Theological Seminary into ETBU. With this approval, ETBU expands its status as a Level VI institution of higher learning with no further reporting required.

Dr. J. Blair Blackburn, President of ETBU, commented, “I applaud the work of ETBU and B. H. Carroll Theological Seminary faculty and staff, who collaborated over the past two years to create this opportunity for the merger and ETBU’s doctoral level status change. We are moving forward in the process of merging operations of Carroll Seminary into the University. We are grateful to the East Texas Baptist University Board of Trustees and B. H. Carroll Theological Seminary President Gene Wilkes and the Carroll Board of Governors for their leadership and support to advocate and affirm the vision and processes for the consolidation of Carroll Seminary as a part of ETBU.” 

This strategic merger expands the academic and support resources available to students of both institutions. B. H. Carroll Theological Seminary students will now have access to enhanced financial aid options, additional scholarship opportunities, and comprehensive student services provided by ETBU. The merger also positions ETBU as a doctoral degree-granting institution, furthering its commitment to academic excellence and advanced theological education.

“ETBU welcomes B. H. Carroll Theological Seminary students, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees, and donors into the ETBU Family,” Blackburn said. “With God’s vision and plans revealed to us, the merger consolidation strengthens Carroll Seminary’s Kingdom impact in educating and training theological and ministry leaders for generations to come.”

Both B. H. Carroll and East Texas Baptist University believe that being good stewards of what the Lord has built. The merger positions B. H. Carroll for its next generation of growth and service. B. H. Carroll’s merger into ETBU will allow the seminary to have a larger role in the life of Texas Baptists, Southern Baptists, and like-minded evangelical denominations while preserving a close relationship with supportive churches. It will also grow ETBU, a legacy institution of Baptists in Texas, adding master’s and doctoral degree programs accredited by the Association of Theological Schools.

Dr. Gene Wilkes, President of B. H. Carroll Theological Seminary, added, “Joining ETBU represents a significant opportunity for our seminary and our students. The combined resources and shared mission will undoubtedly enhance the theological training and ministry preparation we provide. We are grateful to the SACSCOC Board for their approval and confidence in this merger.”

Throughout the 2024-2025 academic year, ETBU and B. H. Carroll will work together to merge the seminary into ETBU. In the summer of 2025, B. H. Carroll Theological Seminary will retain its identity and stand as one of the eight academic schools/divisions of East Texas Baptist University, where all graduate theological education programs will be offered.

“Of the major milestones in the history of ETBU, this significant advance places the University on a trajectory toward an advance in capacity for not only theological education but many other fields as a Level VI institution,” Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Thomas Sanders said.