Baptist History & Heritage Society to present W.O. Carver Distinguished Service Award to Stookey

PLAINVIEW – Dr. Stephen M. Stookey, Dean of Wayland Baptist University’s School of Christian Studies, is the 2023 recipient of the W.O. Carver Distinguished Service Award, which pays tribute to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the cause of Baptist history.

The award is presented by the Baptist History & Heritage Society and will be awarded May 18 during the society’s annual awards dinner in San Antonio.

According to the society’s Website, the Carver Award is presented to an individual who has “exhibited rare and unusual dedication to the cause of Baptist history through writing, teaching, denominational service, archival and library development, historical center and society work on national and state levels, communicating Baptist heritage, and interpreting the history of Baptists.”

“I am deeply honored to receive the W.O. Carver Distinguished Service Award,” Stookey said. “I am humbled to be included among the distinguished scholars and denominational leaders previously honored with the Carver Award.”

The educator and historian described receiving the award as “the highlight of my career.”

“Receiving this recognition is due to those who have poured into my life as a Baptist academician and minister, the institutions that have allowed me opportunity to serve, colleagues and students who have journeyed with me over the past 30-plus years, and the support of my family.”

In addition to serving as the Dean of the School of Christian Studies since 2018, Stookey is the Lester W. James, Sr., Professor in Religion: Church History and Theology. He came to Wayland in 2016 as a professor of religion and has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in classroom and online settings.

Stookey has been involved with the Baptist History & Heritage Society as a member or officer since the early 1990s. He currently serves as treasurer and has served two stints as a member of the board of directors. He has been a conference speaker and a contributor to the society’s academic journal, Baptist History & Heritage. In 2017, he received the society’s Carolyn Blevins Meritorious Service Award. He has also served as president and vice president, as well as 12 years as secretary, of the Fellowship of Baptist Historians, an adjunct organization that partners with the Baptist History & Heritage Society.

Stookey is receiving the Carver Award for his career achievements in academia and scholarly contributions to the study of Baptist history, including a combined 30-plus years at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, B.H. Carroll Theological Institute, Dallas Baptist University and now Wayland Baptist University. In addition to being recognized for his contributions to the society, he is being honored for his work with Baptist organizations such as Texas Baptists, T.B. Maston Foundation, Texas Baptist Historical Museum, and specifically his work during the past quarter century with the Baptist World Alliance.

After completing an undergraduate degree at Baylor University, Stookey earned a Master of Divinity degree and his doctorate in Church History from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. His professional career includes teaching at Southwestern Seminary from 1995 to 2004 and at Dallas Baptist University from 2006 to 2014. He was a visiting professor at The Evangelical College of Theology in Sierra Leone in 2014 and did two stints as a resident fellow at the B.H. Carroll Theological Institute from 2004 to 2006 and again in 2015.

The Baptist History and Heritage Society is a non-profit, professional organization with members worldwide. The society bridges the worlds of the academy and the congregation as it communicates the story of Baptists through print and digital media, conferences, and seminars.

Stookey is not the first recipient of the Carver Award with ties to Wayland. Dr. H. Leon McBeth, a renowned 20th century Baptist historian and Wayland alum, is among the list of previous recipients.