Brite Divinity School & the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth Announce the Completion of The Right Reverend Sam B. Hulsey Chair in Episcopal Studies

February 17, 2015

Stevens (4) Brite Divinity School and the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth are pleased to announce the completion of a $2.5 million endowment of a faculty chair: The Right Reverend Sam B. Hulsey Chair in Episcopal Studies.

Bishop Hulsey is the retired bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northwest Texas. He and his wife, Isabelle, live in Fort Worth. The completion of the endowment of the Hulsey Chair was accomplished through gifts and pledges from 150 donors and finalized with a gift from Sylvia and Tim Stevens, members of St. Christopher Episcopal Church, Fort Worth, Texas.

The Organizing Committee includes the Reverend Fred Barber, Ms. Anne Bass, Mr. Robert Crates, Ms. Adele Hart, the late Reverend Bert Honea, Jr., the Reverend Chris Jambor, the Reverend David Madison, the Reverend William Nix, Ms. Pat Schutts, and Ms. Shannon Worrell.

The Right Reverend Sam B. Hulsey has a long and distinguished career in The Episcopal Church, which culminated in his tenure as bishop of the Diocese of Northwest Texas from 1980-1997. Prior to his election to the episcopacy, Bishop Hulsey headed parishes in Corsicana, Pampa and Midland, as well as in Nashville, Tennessee. A Fort Worth native, Bishop Hulsey graduated with a Master of Divinity degree from Virginia Theological Seminary (1958). During his episcopacy, Bishop Hulsey chaired the Planning Committee of the House of Bishops and served on the boards of trustees of the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest and the University of the South. He has been actively engaged in every community in which he has resided. Since his return to Fort Worth upon his retirement, Bishop Hulsey has held leadership positions in numerous civic organizations, including Tarrant County Historical Society, Alzheimer’s Association of North Texas, Meals-on-Wheels, Fort Worth Symphony, and Fort Worth Opera.

Brite is pleased to accept the many gifts that make it possible to honor such a fine leader in The Episcopal Church and in the Fort Worth community. Brite Divinity School, dedicated on February 9, 1915, currently teaches more than 200 students representing 27 denominations and is recognized as a premier ecumenical theological seminary. Brite offers courses that meet the requirements for ordination in the Baptist, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Episcopal, Presbyterian, and United Methodist traditions. In addition to Master’s level study, Brite is also considered a leading educational institution for Doctor of Ministry and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. Brite has a renowned faculty and is located on the Texas Christian University campus.

The Right Reverend Rayford B. High, Jr., bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, said, “Episcopalians all over this diocese – indeed, all over The Episcopal Church – rejoice at this news. The Episcopal Church always has supported theological education. The Right Reverend Sam B. Hulsey Chair in Episcopal Studies honors a great man who not only is a fine bishop but also a humble Christian grounded in the love of Jesus Christ. Bishop Sam is a good friend to me and so many in the Church who turn to him regularly for pastoral guidance and mentoring. His scholarly mind, his loving gentle spirit, and his pastoral gifts offer an example to us all. I am so grateful to Sylvia and Tim Stevens for their wonderful gift that completed the endowment. I thank all the many generous donors who have made this possible.”

In celebration of the completion of the Hulsey Chair, Dr. Tim Stevens states, “Sylvia and I are very pleased that we are financially able to complete the Endowment honoring Bishop Sam B. Hulsey at this time. We are thrilled to participate in the growth of the reconstituted Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth as we have become more closely connected with the National Episcopal Church, with the leadership of our Provisional Bishops Edwin F. “Ted” Gulick, Jr., C. Wallis Ohl, Jr., and Rayford B. High, Jr. We anticipate the even further strengthening of the relationship between our diocese and Brite Divinity School through the completion of the endowment of the Hulsey Chair.”

Dr. Stevens, a native of Houston, Texas, is a graduate of Rice University (BA 1958) and Washington University (St. Louis) School of Medicine (MD 1962) with post graduate training in Internal Medicine at Vanderbilt University Hospital and Cardiology at Baylor College of Medicine. He served in the US Army Medical Corps (1963-65) at Fort McClellan, Alabama. He held staff positions at Ben Taub Hospital, Houstom, the Nashville VA Hospital (Chief of Cardiology), was Director of Internal Medicine Education at Brackenridge Hospital, Austin (1975-1992), and several positions at Fort Worth’s John Peter Smith Hospital (1992-2000).

Sylvia was born in Kenedy, Texas, attended Lindenwood College, St. Charles, Missouri, and was a Magna cum Laude graduate of the University of Texas, Austin (BA 1959). She taught in the public schools in University City, Missouri, and Nashville, Tennessee. In Austin she was on the staff at Laguna Gloria Art Museum, served as Curator of Museum Education (1978 – 1992), and filled several roles in art education in Fort Worth, (1992-1999), including faculty in adult education at TCU, teaching Art Appreciation.

Sylvia and Tim have two sons, Matt, a civil engineer in Dallas and Hal, an addiction treatment nurse in Austin. Both sons are married. They have 5 grandchildren. Since 1999, Tim and Sylvia have been active members at St. Christopher Episcopal Church, Fort Worth.

Stevens (9)In addition to completing the endowment for the Hulsey Chair, strengthening our Episcopal Diocese, and giving a boost to the beginning of Brite’s Centennial Capital Campaign, the Stevens were moved to make their contribution in memory of Tim’s beloved maternal grandfather Harry George “Papa” Watson (1883-1959). Harry was a lifelong Episcopalian, who was born and raised in Clarksville, Texas and surrounding Red River County. Harry’s grandfather, Matthew Watson, was one of the founders of Nashville’s Christ Church Cathedral. As a young man, Harry was a Worship Leader at Clarksville’s Christ Church. He later moved to Alpine, Texas where he was the owner of the Watson – Anderson Grocery Company and a strong supporter of St. James Episcopal Church. Papa Watson was a kind, funny, loving, supportive Christian gentleman who was adored by all of his family.

Tim and Sylvia feel certain that Harry Watson was an acquaintance of Lucas C. Brite (1860 – 1941) a neighboring Marfa, Texas rancher for whom Brite Divinity School was named.

The first faculty member to hold the Chair is Dr. Ed Waggoner. Dr. Waggoner received his Ph.D. from Yale University. He also holds a Master of Arts in Religion from Yale Divinity School and a B.A. from Willamette University. Dr. Waggoner comes to Brite as a highly regarded teacher and a gifted systematic and constructive theologian.

Brite Divinity School celebrates a commitment to excellence in theological education in an ecumenical learning community with profound thanks to Tim and Sylvia Stevens and all who gave to Brite for the establishment of The Right Reverend Sam B. Hulsey Chair in Episcopal Studies.