Baylor University Announces New Matching Program, Transformational Support for the Wesley House of Studies at Truett Seminary | Media and Public Relations

New matching program creates great support for research, giveaways

An additional $1 million scholarship from a Woodway couple supports program students

Media contact: Laurie Fogelman, Media and Public Relations at Baylor University, 254-709-5959
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WACO, Texas (November 18, 2021) – Baylor University today announced the first chair created by Baylor Illuminates Chairs Matching Program, which supports Give Light campaign goals to increase the positions of talented faculty members. An anonymous gift of $1.5 million established the first chair through the program, the William J. Abraham Endowed Chair, to support George W. Troitt Theological Seminary Wesley House of Studies. An additional $1 million gift to create a scholarship provided by Jeff (BBA ’86), Debbie (BS ’87) and Willy from Woodway to support program students.

The William J. Abraham Endowed chair is named in memory of the late William J. Abraham, D.Phil. , faculty member of the Truett School and founding director of the Wesley House of Studies. Dr. Abraham – a famous theologian, philosopher, author and minister – passed away on October 8, 2021.

Baylor University President Linda A. “It is humbling to see Baylor alumni and their parents and friends who, as a result of the Give the Light campaign, see the importance of giving to the university in a way that allows Baylor to recruit and retain top scholars to serve as faculty. Baylor Illuminates The Chair Matching Program was created to inspire more members of the Baylor family to come along with our efforts to grow and endow the Baylor faculty, and we are grateful for this first position at Troit, in honor of Dr.

Baylor Illuminates The chair matching software was created to build on the momentum you created Baylor Academic Challenge, now known as Foster Academic Challenge. Baylor Illuminates The Chair Matching Program will support the university’s efforts to generate high-impact research and scholarship, with a particular focus on key academic initiatives IlluminatesAnd University strategic plan. The program will provide matching support for the new faculty chairs awarded, with preference given to chairs that support the five Illuminates Initiatives: health; data science; Materials science; human prosperity, leadership and ethics; Baylor in Latin America.

New President, Scholarships Support Wesley House

The William J. Abraham Endowment Chair honors Baylor’s aspirations Illuminates Chair matching program through its support of human prosperity, leadership and ethics. The Abraham Chair was created after a weekend event hosted by Truett Seminary in early September to celebrate the founding of the 2020 Wesley House. During the gathering, the additional $1 million gift from Jeff, Debbie and Woolley was announced as well as the anonymous gift for creating the Abraham Chair. Their gift will create a Woolley Family Scholarship, awarded at the Troit School, to support religious school students enrolled in the Wesley House Studies Program.

“The establishment of the William J. Abraham Chair for Wesleyan Studies at the Troit School at Baylor not only honors the life and legacy of our recently deceased friend and colleague, but also establishes the Wesley House School of Studies as a viable and desirable place to “pursue ministerial training in the Wesleyan tradition,” said Dr. Trott, Dean Todd D. Steele, Ph.D., Charles J. and Eleanor McCleran Dean and William M. Henson Chair of the Bible.”In addition, the tremendous generosity shown by Woolies to provide scholarship support to students at Wesley House is greatly appreciated. I couldn’t be happier with these important developments. Both the chair awarded and this major scholarship will have an immediate and lasting impact on Troit’s work and career.”

With the Abraham Chair in place, Truett Seminary will be able to recruit and retain an outstanding faculty member to continue Dr. Abraham’s work in conducting research within the Wesleyan tradition and in expanding the Wesleyan network of the Baylor Truett School. An anonymous benefactor’s support through the Abraham House Wesley Chair of Studies will help prepare and equip Christ-centered, spirit-led students for service in Wesleyan congregations and institutions, furthering Dr. Abraham’s legacy, ministry, and vision for the program.

“When I was called to serve in the Irish Methodology, I was already a student and wanted to become a teacher,” Dr. Abraham said when he learned of the honor. “With the call to evangelize, I thought I would have to give up teaching. I did it in my mind and heart. Then God restored everything without nullifying the call to preach. So here I am now, I have the honor to confess the name of this chair beyond words. I feel deeply assured that I I got it right. I know the chair will preserve the deep connections between science and preaching that have given me endless joy. What a wonderful gift for the gospel and the future of methodology.”

The Wesley House Weekend at Truett Seminary was designed in partnership with Reverend Ryan Barnett and First Methodist Church of Waco, with Reverend Barnett serving as principal chaplain. The purpose of the event was to gain support from the Baylor and Methodist scholarship communities and to provide programmatic resources for the Wesley House of Studies.

“Our founding director, Billy Abraham, left his indelible mark on this project. His legacy will thrive at Trout School,” said Barnett, who also heads the team of advocates for the Wesley House of Studies at Trout. Now, Trott added Dr. Kevin Watson, who Regarded by many as a rising star in Methodist academia, as an associate research professor. Led by the Woolley family, members of First Methodist Waco made significant financial gifts toward the Wesley House of Studies. This level of generosity reflects our deep commitment to the City of Waco and Baylor University. Led by Presidents Linda Livingston and Dean Todd Steele We believe that Wesley House in Troit, incorporated at Baylor University, is well positioned to become one of the most important training centers for future Methodist ministers.”

Although the Abraham Chair will enhance the staff of Wesley House, the Wooley Family Endowed Scholarship will assist Wesley House students. Jeff and Debbie Woolley are longtime supporters of Baylor University and have previously supported areas such as the Department of Sports Endowed Fund to provide student athletes to the Baylor Missions Program and the Wooley Family Baylor Built Endowed Fund to support character formation initiatives within the Baylor Built Program at Baylor Athletics. Jeff is a senior partner at D-1 Sports Training, and after a career in elementary education, Debbie has dedicated her time to raising their two children, both Baylor graduates: Kaitlyn (BA ’14, MS ’15) and Drew (BBA ’18).

Baylor publicly launched the Give Light campaign on November 1, 2018. To date, the campaign has raised $1.06 billion. The campaign saw more than 77,600 alumni, parents and friends who presented the university’s priorities, as well as the creation of 614 scholarships. For more information or to support Give Light: The Campaign for Baylor, visit

About Baylor University

Baylor University is a private Christian university and nationally ranked research institution. The university provides a vibrant campus community of more than 20,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and faculty commitment to education and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of the pioneer Baptists, Baylor is the oldest continuously operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a wide range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic departments.

About the George W. Trott Theological Seminar at Baylor University

The George W. Troit School of Theological Seminary at Baylor University is an orthodox evangelical school in the historical Baptist tradition that equips so-called God to serve the gospel in and near Christ’s church by the power of the Holy Spirit. Accredited by the Association of Theological Schools, Truett Theological Seminary offers a theological education leading to Master of Theology, Master of Arts in Christian Ministry, Master of Theological Studies, Doctor of Ministry and Ph.D. in preaching. M.Div degrees may also be completed. and MACM and MTS at the institute’s Houston and San Antonio locations. In addition, Truett Seminary offers joint degrees: M.Div./MSW and MTS/MSW with Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, M.Div./MBA with Hankamer School of Business, M.Div./JD with Baylor Law School, M.Div./MM with School of Music and M.Div./MSEd. or M.Div./MA with the College of Education. visit To learn more.

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