Marking the July 2019 retirement of the Rev. Dr. Lee Barker as president of the school, the Meadville Lombard Board of Trustees announced that it has raised $1.9 million to endow the Lee Barker Professor of Leadership Studies. Under the extraordinary leadership of the Rev. Dr. Laurel Hallman, gifts to the professorship were solicited to enable Meadville Lombard to enhance its commitment to educate innovative, collaborative and bold religious leaders.
The lead gift to the professorship, $1 million, was received from long-time supporters Darwin and Myra Smith of Dallas, TX and Sherrills Ford, NC. In addition to this extremely generous commitment, the Smiths also matched donations to the professorship for a specified period of time during the fundraising appeal, resulting in additional contributions of approximately $200,000. Darwin and Myra have been supporters of the school since 2004, when they first visited the school for a faculty presentation.
Meadville Lombard is deeply grateful to the Smiths for their generosity and to every supporter who contributed to the Lee Barker Professor of Leadership Studies endowment fund. Each contribution will enable the school to increase its capacity to shape the future of religious and spiritual life in UU faith communities and beyond.