The University of Lamar, the state’s oldest, was founded in 1876 by the late Lamar William Patterson.
He is the first African-American man to teach at the school, according to the Lamar History website.
In 2012, the school received an award from the National Council of Churches for its “dedication to evangelism.”
The school also is one of only three Southern Baptist institutions to receive an honor in the U.S. News & World Report’s 100 Most Admired Colleges in 2017.
But in May 2018, Lamar president, Joel C. Thomas, said the university’s mission had changed, as it was no longer “the Christian institution we had been in the past.”
He said the school’s goal has shifted to be “a place of Christian leadership, and a place of education that is grounded in the Bible.”
The university received the designation from the Southern Baptist Convention in 2017, but it also received a $250,000 donation from the Robertson Family Fund in 2019, which supports “all Southern Baptist missions and initiatives.”
Thomas said he believed the school would continue to be a Christian institution, but he said he would no longer seek a waiver from the UPC to continue teaching at the university.
In his statement announcing the change in leadership, Thomas said the Robertson family donated $2.8 million to the university, and Lamar has also received more than $1.5 million in funding from a philanthropic foundation, which he said does not disclose its donors.
In addition, the university has a long history of funding programs that promote diversity and inclusion in higher education, Thomas wrote.
“As the university prepares to celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2021, it is important for us to acknowledge our past accomplishments and make a commitment to continuing to strengthen our commitment to our Christian mission and values,” Thomas wrote in the statement.
The university is currently on probation.
A spokesman for Lamar said in a statement the university was “looking for a new leadership and is fully committed to being a Christian, inclusive and welcoming institution.”
“The University of Texas is committed to providing the best education for our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and visitors, and we have the highest standards of academic excellence in our academic program and community,” the statement read.
“The Robertson Family has given us a commitment of more than two billion dollars, and the university continues to support our students and staff with financial assistance.
The University does not comment on individual candidates for leadership.”
The Robertson family, which owns the Southern Baptists’ largest church, is the nation’s largest donor to Christian charities.
Its foundation gave Lamar $8.3 million in 2017 and $4.8 billion in the next five years.
The family is the subject of a lawsuit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2016, which accused the family of donating $4 million to Christian causes.
The group is seeking a federal investigation into the foundation and the foundation’s financial contributions to Lamar.
“We have a history of doing things in the name of the Lord, but I don’t think that’s what we’re doing anymore,” said Matthew Moore, a spokesman for the church.
“This is about our mission, and that’s where we’re going.
We’re a family that’s got deep values and we don’t believe that the university is the place for us anymore.”
A spokesman said the family has not donated to Lamar in a long time.
“I think it’s going to be interesting to see where it goes.
There’s a lot of other things that need to be investigated and that need investigation, so we’re waiting for the investigation to get done,” Moore said.
The Southern Poverty Center filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Robertson families son, Kenneth Robertson, who said he had not been paid since 2016, and his daughter, Rachel Robertson, the president of the university and the vice president of admissions.
In response to the lawsuit, the University of California-Berkeley, which is a member of the UCC, said it does not fund private foundations.
In a statement, the group said it believes that “the Robertson family is a deeply Christian family, and their contributions to the University’s mission are critical to the mission of our university.”
The group added that it does, however, work with other Christian institutions and universities to ensure that their mission is aligned with their values.
“They are not a ‘non-Christian,'” the statement reads.
“These families are Christian in every sense of the word.”
The statement continued, “They have a strong commitment to the teaching and service of the Gospel at all times.
They are also committed to teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ in their communities, and have long been involved in campus ministry.
In their own words, the Robertsons have been very clear about their desire to be ‘dedicated to evangelization and education in the region.’
We welcome the opportunity to work with them in this effort.”
The UCC’s statement was first reported