Carter serves Southeastern for 50 years
Lauren Crane, SEBTS
April 21, 2011

Carter serves Southeastern for 50 years

Carter serves Southeastern for 50 years
Lauren Crane, SEBTS
April 21, 2011


April 10, 1961, Evelyn

Carter began her employment at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary on a

“trial basis.” Half a century

later, her trial period is over, and she is still faithfully serving.


the spring of 1961, Southeastern’s first president, Sydnor L. Stealey

approached his friend Charles, Carter’s husband, to ask if his wife would be

willing to come and work as a faculty secretary at the young school. With only

six faculty members at the time and one student wife working for them, Stealey was

looking for someone who would be a more enduring fixture at the seminary to

serve the faculty. Neither he, nor Carter, had any idea how enduring her time

at Southeastern would be. On April 12,

2011, Southeastern seminary honored Carter for her year’s of

service during a chapel service in Binkley Chapel on the Wake Forest campus.


years ago, when Stealey approached Carter to ask her to consider becoming a

faculty secretary, “I told him I needed to think about it,” she said. “I

thought, ‘I’m not qualified to work for people with Ph.Ds.’ Dr. Stealey told me

you never know what you can do unless you try.” After continuing to discuss the

idea of working at Southeastern, Carter decided she would work for two to three

months on an experimental basis.


was willing to try, but I wanted to start on a trial basis to see if the people

I work for were happy with my work,” Carter said. “In two months I worked every

day, and every day I worked, I liked it more and more.”

SEBTS photo

Evelyn Carter


mid-summer of 1961, Carter was convinced she had found her calling in life — to

serve and support the work of the young Southeastern Baptist Theological

Seminary as a faculty secretary.


professors were very nice. I never thought professors and people with more

education than me could be so kind. They were like me. They were smarter than I

was, but they never let me think they were smarter than I was. I told Dr.

Stealey, ‘I think I have found my calling, and I am so happy. I’ll go full

time, and if anything comes up to make you think I’m not qualified … we’ll work

on it.’”


the next several years, Carter saw Stealey’s retirement and Olin Binkley’s

succession as the second president of Southeastern. Throughout the 11 years of

Binkley’s tenure as president, Carter worked faithfully alongside him and the

other faculty members. Although it was a period of much change and growth for

the seminary, Carter said she became increasingly close with the faculty and

grew to love her job more and more. Following Binkley’s retirement in 1974,

Carter remembers the beginning of William Randall Lolley’s 14-year presidential

term at Southeastern.


was the year more professors started coming in. All of them were kind, and

every one that came I loved them more. It was like a big, happy family,” Carter

said. The family atmosphere led Carter to freely open up with the professors

when she felt overwhelmed with work. “When I first started, I was young, and

very careful with them. During Dr. Binkley’s and Dr. Lolley’s administrations,

I got bolder. I had that privilege, and we got along great.”


Lewis Drummond, Paige Patterson and Daniel Akin took over the presidency of

Southeastern, Carter continued to work at the seminary in whatever office needed her.

Although she never worked in Stephens-Mackie Hall, throughout

her 50 years at Southeastern she has held offices in every

other building on campus. “Evelyn Carter has served with grace and distinction

for every president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary,” Akin,

president of Southeastern, said. Not only has she seen the presidents and the

campus itself change and grow, she has also witnessed the evolution of

technology used in the office.


I started, they didn’t know how to type. I started on a manual typewriter, then

an electrical typewriter, then a word processor, then computers, and I got lost

and have never caught up. I’ve survived through different times, different

periods and different experiences.”


the late 1980s, as Carter’s husband’s health was failing, she was given the

ability to take time off to care for her husband and household. “The year my

husband died, he had been sick and had to go to Duke for various things.


were in and out of the hospital for two years. I told Dr. Lolley, ‘I’m taking

off, but I’m using my vacation time.’” Lolley told Carter not to use vacation

time, but to care for her husband and let Southeastern care for her. One way

they did this, Carter said, was by having professors come to their home to help

pick butterbeans and plant corn in their garden — a task Carter was unable to

do alone.


years were the most special to me, and they are years I’ll never forget and

professors I’ll never forget,” Carter said. Although she considered retiring

shortly after her husband’s death in 1988, Carter said she realized serving

Southeastern professors was a blessing to her. “I didn’t want to be at home,

with nobody there but me. That wouldn’t be good for me. I wanted to be active.”


active lifestyle led her to take a trip to Israel in 1996,

something she and her husband had been planning to do together before his

death. “We were going to travel some, and in 1996 Southeastern gave me

financial help to go to Israel. That was the

highlight of my years. I never thought I’d be able to do that, and to go with

one of the professors I had worked with was wonderful.”


who does not have any definitive plans to retire from serving at Southeastern,

said she appreciates and is so grateful for every president of the school.


have served this great institution so well and allowed me the privilege of

reaching a goal of fifty years at a place I love dearly. I will cherish the

happy memories of every professor I have worked with during these years of

service in the seminary and college. Their friendship, kindness and love

will always have a special place in my heart.”


said he is thankful for her 50 years of service to the college and seminary.

“She has been a marvelous servant of King Jesus who brightens and encourages

everyone she meets. What an incredible blessing she has been and continues to

be. I love this sweet lady, my sister in the Lord.”


Lord Jesus Christ has blessed me in so many ways with his love, guidance, good

health and strength to fulfill my goal and work for fifty years at

Southeastern, a place that is dear to my heart,” Carter said. “To God be the

glory, great things he has done!”

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