Morgan Patterson, Former Golden Gate Seminary Academic Dean, Dies

Dr. Morgan Patterson, retired Dean of Academic Affairs at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, died at his home of cancer at the age of 85 on November 19, 2010.

Patterson was Dean of Academic Affairs at Golden Gate Seminary in Mill Valley, California from 1976-1984. “Morgan Patterson was a scholar and Christian gentleman who devoted his life to Christian education,” said Seminary President Jeff Iorg. “We appreciate his profound contribution to Golden Gate Seminary.”

After leaving Golden Gate, he then served from 1984-991 as president of Georgetown College in Kentucky. During this period, Georgetown College had the highest enrollment in its 162-year history, doubled its endowment to $16 million, and undertook the renovation of five buildings.

Since his retirement from Georgetown College, Patterson served as visiting professor of church history at Midwestern Seminary, Louisiana College, Golden Gate Seminary and New Orleans Seminary. He has also taught at Oklahoma Baptist University.

In 1992, he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Stetson University, and in 1993 he was given the Distinguished Service Award for contributions to Baptist history by the Historical Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Patterson was listed in "Who's Who in America" and was a contributor to the Baptist World Alliance Centennial volume published in 2005 and "Pilgrim Pathways" published by Mercer University Press in 1999.

Earlier in his career, he was the director of graduate studies in the School of Theology and the David T. Porter Professor of Church History at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville. He served on the faculty there from 1959 to 1976, and was acting dean of the School of Theology in 1971.

In addition, he was the assistant professor of church history at New Orleans Seminary from 1956 to 1959. He has served as pastor of Stapleton Baptist Church in Stapleton, Ala., and Progress Baptist Church, in Progress, Miss. He has also served as an interim pastor of numerous churches in California, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi.

Patterson was born in New Orleans, La., where he received his master of divinity and doctor of theology degrees from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, in addition to another graduate degree, which he received from Stetson University, in Deland, Fla. Patterson has also completed two years of post-doctoral study at Oxford University. Additionally, he was a member of the Baptist History and Heritage Society, American Society of Church History, and the Conference on Faith and History.

A resident of Novato, California, Patterson was a member of Tiburon Baptist Church, in Tiburon, California. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Ernestine N Patterson of Longwood, FL, two sons, W. Morgan Patterson II and Jay N. Patterson, and four grandchildren, Nolan, Jessica, Grace and Abigail.

Representatives of schools where he served joined family and friends at a memorial service held on November 28, 2010 at Tiburon Baptist Church, 445 Greenwood Boulevard Road, Tiburon, CA.

Dr. Patterson taught over 6,000 students in the course of his career. There is a guest book on the website of Keaton's Mortuary, for those who wish to leave a message for the family.