The community of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and The College at Southeastern remembers William Randall Lolley, the third president of SEBTS from 1974–88, who died on March 21 in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Succeeding Olin T. Binkley, Lolley was elected in May 1974 to serve as the president of SEBTS, having previously served as the pastor of First Baptist Church in Winston-Salem. Lolley was the first alumnus to serve as president of SEBTS, combining a deep commitment to the school with a passion to see the institution grow.
Lolley oversaw several academic advancements at SEBTS that continue to this day, including the development of the associate of divinity degree program, the establishment of the annual Adams and Page Lectures series and the accreditation of the institution by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
‘Quintessential Christian gentleman’
Remembering Lolley’s service, Danny Akin, president of SEBTS commented, “This morning I learned of the passing of Dr. Randall Lolley, a man who served SEBTS for 14 years and during some very turbulent times. I only met Randall Lolley once. I invited him back to the campus of SEBTS for a visit, and he graciously accepted my invitation. We walked the campus, and he shared memories of his time as a student and president. It was a fascinating conversation, and I learned much. Later my wife, Charlotte, and I joined Randall and his wife, Lou, for lunch in Raleigh. They were the quintessential Christian gentleman and lady. We had a delightful time with them both.
“I left lunch that day more grateful for the investment both made to SEBTS. My gratitude has continued to this day,” Akin noted. “We differed theologically on some very important issues, but we are united in our love for Christ and SEBTS.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — This story was originally published by the Biblical Recorder, news service of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.