Hendrix College and SMU’s Perkins School of Theology provide streamlined path to seminary study

This article originally appeared in print, and online at http://docs.arumc.org/aum_pdf/AUM_20180406.pdf

CONWAY—Students at United Methodist-affiliated Hendrix College will have an opportunity for early admission to Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology, thanks to a new agreement between the two institutions.

Hendrix President William M. Tsutsui and Dr. Craig Hill, Dean of Perkins School of Theology, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at a March 1 ceremony on the Hendrix campus. The agreement honors the institutions’ heritage in The United Methodist Church and their shared commitment to training students for ministry.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for Hendrix students pursuing ministry in The United Methodist Church,” said Tsutsui. “Together, Hendrix and SMU’s Perkins School of Theology have inspired generations of United Methodist clergy in Arkansas and across the country. This agreement celebrates that history, as well as our continued commitment to educating future generations of United Methodist Church leaders.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Hendrix students with a cumulative 3.0 GPA who submit the requisite application materials to Perkins by Oct. 15 will receive an early admissions decision for the following fall semester. Hendrix will communicate with Perkins regarding undergraduate students who are promising candidates for ministry, assist students in the application process, and coordinate annual visits by prospective students to the SMU campus. The arrangement does not guarantee admission to all candidates who meet the basic requirements, and it does not prevent students who do not meet those requirements from applying to SMU.

“I am particularly excited about the new forms of connection and collaboration this agreement encourages,” Hill said. “Our two schools can enrich each other in countless ways—from faculty engagement between both institutions to on-site learning opportunities for students. We are eager to be close partners with Hendrix College and so to realize our combined potential.”

Tsutisui has connections to both institutions, serving as president of Hendrix and formerly a dean at SMU. “Given the longstanding ties between Hendrix and Perkins and the bonds we share through the United Methodist Church and our geographic proximity, it’s somewhat surprising that this relationship was not formalized much, much sooner than it has been,” he said. He urged Hendrix students to take advantage of the MOU.

The agreement is “truly something that opens doors and creates new possibilities for this campus, and most importantly for those who have that calling to ministry,” he said.

Hendrix Chaplain JJ Whitney opened the ceremony with a prayer that gave thanks “for places likes Hendrix and Perkins, who both desire to shape young adults who’ll be leaders for the church and in the world."

The Rev. David Fleming, pastor of Grand Avenue United Methodist Church in Hot Springs, a member of the Hendrix Board of Trustees and a Perkins graduate, also participated in the ceremony.

“I am proud of our shared endeavor and pray blessings upon the faculty, students and the staff that will benefit from the Memorandum of Understanding,” Fleming said. While the future is “sometimes filled with obstacles,” he added, “it now is also bright with hope because we are better together.”

Perkins School of Theology, founded in 1911, is one of five official University-related schools of theology of The United Methodist Church.

Hendrix College, a private liberal arts college in Conway, has been affiliated with The United Methodist Church since 1884.