Published on July 25, 2012 by Betsy Childs 

Samford University's board of trustees has approved the formation of an endowed chair in its Beeson Divinity School to honor long-time trustee and Baptist pastor Charles T. Carter.

"We are honoring Charles Carter because he is the most respected Alabama Baptist leader of our generation, a great preacher and pastor for many years and a faithful professor at Beeson Divinity School," said Dean Timothy George.

The purpose of the new chair is to ensure the faithful teaching of the rising generation of ministers. The chair will be filled after the funds to endow it have been raised.

Charles T. Carter is a native of Birmingham, Ala. When he was six years old, his 14-year-old neighbor took him to Calvary Baptist Church where he heard and believed the Gospel. Carter knew from an early age that he was called to preach and became the pastor of West End Baptist Church in Birmingham when he was only 16 years old. He graduated from Samford University in 1956.

Charles Carter was pastor of Whitesburg Baptist Church in Huntsville, Ala., from 1966-1972, and then served as pastor of Shades Mountain Baptist Church in Vestavia Hills, Ala., for 26 years, retiring in 1998. Church membership grew from 2,000 to almost 6,900 under his leadership. Since his retirement from Shades Mountain Baptist, he has served as an interim pastor in numerous churches in Alabama and Mississippi.

Dr. Carter has held several leadership roles in the Southern Baptist Convention. He served two terms as president of the Alabama Baptist State Convention (1988, 1989) and nine years on the International Mission Board of the SBC. He received an honorary doctorate from Samford in 1976. Carter has been a member of the Samford University board of trustees for 20 years, and in 1999 was named the James H. Chapman Fellow of Pastoral Ministry at Samford's Beeson Divinity School.

Carter was chair of the resolutions committee of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1995 when it adopted the Resolution on Racial Reconciliation, which apologized for the role that slavery played in the founding of the SBC and repudiated racism.

"Charles Carter's positive influence at Samford University through the Beeson Divinity School is seen across the world in the meaningful work of our graduates. We are grateful that he has invested so much of his life and ministry here," said Samford President Andrew Westmoreland. "It is entirely fitting that students for decades in the future will know his name as they see it associated with those who will hold this treasured position."

The Charles T. Carter Baptist Chair of Divinity will be a permanent commemoration of God's work through his faithful servant Charles Carter, George said. Reflecting on this legacy, Dean George remarked, "Dr. Carter honors us by allowing us to name the chair for him."

Beeson Divinity School

Betsy Childs is web and publications editor for Beeson Divinity School.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.