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Jun102016

Nazarene Theological Seminary President, Dr. A. Gordon Wetmore, Passes Away

President Carla Sunberg, together with the NTS community, are deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Dr. Arnold Gordon Wetmore on the morning of June 9th, 2016. NTS would like to extend its deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.

“Dr. Wetmore will be dearly missed. His influence reached far and wide in many capacities. As pastor during my teenage years he carved an indelible impression on me, presenting an outstanding model of pastoral care and the holy life. I am humbled to follow in his footsteps at NTS where daily his imprint is seen and felt on the institution. His legacy will live on through his family and those whom he helped to shape and form in the image of God. “

Dr. Carla Sunberg, President

“The life and ministry of Dr. Gordon Wetmore was profoundly interwoven with the life of Nazarene Theological Seminary as a student, as Heinmiller Lecturer on the Devotional Life, as Pastor of Kansas City First Church when it met in the Seminary chapel, and as seventh President.  Dr. Wetmore was the president who took the risk of offering me a position on the faculty of NTS.  He was both pastoral in his care for everyone he met and visionary in preparing the seminary for the 21st century.  He made me a better person and I will always be grateful for the model of leadership I experienced from him.”

Dr. Roger Hahn, Dean of Faculty

Dr. Wetmore was born on June 24, 1931 in New Brunswick, Canada. He received his undergraduate education at Eastern Nazarene College (ENC) in Massachusetts and earned the B.D. from Nazarene Theological Seminary (NTS) in 1959. He also earned a doctor of ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary and completed further graduate study in a number of universities and divinity schools and received the honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from ENC.  

Dr. Wetmore served as pastor in the following churches: Church of the Nazarene, Monroe, WI; Wollaston Church of the Nazarene, Quincy, MA; First Church of the Nazarene, Columbus, OH and First Church of the Nazarene, Kansas City, MO. He also served as Dean of Students at his alma mater, ENC. In 1983, Dr. Wetmore was elected president of the Northwest Nazarene College (NNC) and served there until 1992, when he was elected as the seventh president of the Nazarene Theological Seminary (NTS).  He served on the General Board of the Church of the Nazarene from 1970-1983 and was president of that board from 1979-1983. He also held many other board and council positions. Dr. Wetmore retired in 2000 and lived with his beloved wife, A.J., in Olathe, Kansas.

In the face of rising tuition costs, Dr. Wetmore saw a great need to assist students to be able to afford to begin or to continue attending NTS. One of the focuses of his NTS presidency was the establishment of several fully funded scholarship funds (“Scholarships of Distinction”). He encouraged many to begin scholarships, and in 1994, he began a scholarship fund in his and A.J.’s name.  He faithfully gave as often and as long as he could, as he believed deeply in graduate theological education.  Because of his foundational work in this area, today NTS offers over one hundred fully endowed scholarship funds to assist students with educational costs.

After retiring from NTS in 2000, Dr. Wetmore continued to serve NTS for several years as he mentored the then new NTS president, Dr. Ron Benefiel, and as he continued to raise funds for NTS.

In the last few years, Dr. Wetmore was very proud that one of his grandsons, A. Gordon Wetmore, III, planned to attend, and is now a current NTS student.

We would love to honor Dr. Wetmore’s legacy by adding to his scholarship so that more funds will be available to assist students with their tuition. 

Donations may be made to Dr. Gordon and A.J. Wetmore’s scholarship by going online at nts.edu.  Click on “donate now” to give with a credit or debit card.  Checks may be made out to Nazarene Theological Seminary and sent to 1700 E. Meyer Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64131.  Earmark the check “Wetmore.”

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