Mississippi College

Leaders Honor Memory of Dr. Landrum Leavell

May 8, 2009

Mississippi College leaders noted the lifetime of achievements of the late MC trustee Dr. Landrum Leavell, the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary president for nearly three decades.

Leavell, who began his service on the MC Board of Trustees in 1957, died Sept. 26, 2008 after an extended illness in his hometown of Wichita Falls, Texas. He was 81. Dr. Leavell rejoined the MC board after his retirement in the mid-1990s.

"Dr. Leavell was a great supporter of Mississippi College," President Lee Royce said Friday at his Nelson Hall office. Former Board of Trustees Chairman Roy Ward of Jackson joined Royce to present Jo Ann Leavell with a plaque commending her late husband's service as a Baptist leader. The plaque contains a copy of a resolution adopted by the MC board to spotlight his success as a Baptist educator and point out a number of other milestones.

Landrum Leavell spent 27 years as a pastor of churches in Mississippi, including First Baptist Church in Gulfport, and in Texas. He and his wife, Jo Ann, also focused on assistance for seminary wives. He served as president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary from 1975 until Dec. 31, 1994 and for another year as interim president. He was the author or contributor to 14 books. He was president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas from 1971 to 1973.

As Royce and Ward welcomed her back, Jo Ann Leavell said her husband of 55 years would often "sing the praises" of Mississippi College. All four of their children are MC graduates, she noted.

One of them, Lisa Leavell, works as a secretary-receptionist in Dr. Royce's office in the administration building, and was on hand for the occasion.

Ward said it was "a great honor" to work with Dr. Landrum Leavell on the Board of Trustees that oversees Baptist-affiliated MC. The 183-year-old college in Clinton is the nation's second oldest Baptist university.

Jo Ann Leavell was also back on the Clinton campus for a series of MC spring graduation ceremonies. Commencement activities began Friday with the School of Nursing this afternoon at Provine Chapel followed by the Graduate School Friday evening. Undergraduates take their turn Saturday morning at the A.E. Wood Coliseum.

A native of Ripley, Tenn., Landrum Leavell was raised in Newnan, Ga. where his father was pastor at First Baptist Church. He was an alumnus of Mercer University in Georgia with a degree in English. He received a bachelor of divinity degree and doctorate in theology from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

Dr. Edward McMillan, a retired MC vice president for graduate studies and former history professor, described Leavell as an outstanding theological educator. "He was a very successful pastor. He was known all over the South as a very effective Baptist leader."

Photo: Former MC Board of Trustees Chair Roy Ward, Jo Ann Leavell and MC President Lee Royce

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