2015 News and Events

Dr. James Lyles and Rev. Ted Dotts Named 2015 Distinguished Alumni

 

January 13, 2015

DALLAS – The Rev. Dr. James V. Lyles and the Rev. Ted Dotts have been named 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients by the Alumni/ae Council of Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University. This annual award recognizes Perkins graduates who have demonstrated effectiveness and integrity in service to the church, continuing support and involvement in the goals of Perkins School of Theology and SMU, distinguished service in the wider community, and exemplary character.

The Distinguished Alumni Awards will be presented on Monday, February 2, 2015, during a banquet at 6:00 p.m. as part of Perkins School of Theology’s Ministers Week.

 Rev. Dr. James V. Lyles, 2015 Distinguished Alumnus Award Alumni Award Recipient, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University SMU
Rev. Dr. James V. Lyles 

The Reverend Doctor James Vernon Lyles earned the Master of Theology degree from Perkins School of Theology in 1955. With four fellow students – John Wesley Elliott, Arthur Hawkins, Negail Rudolph Riley, and Cecil Williams – Lyles helped Perkins School of Theology lead the way in the desegregation of the University as the five became the first African Americans to be admitted as degree candidates and to graduate from SMU.

“Dr. Lyles has been a true leader in ministry,” said Perkins School of Theology Dean William B. Lawrence. “He has ministered in almost every kind of setting to which Methodist preachers can be appointed,” Dean Lawrence added. Noting the breadth of Lyles’ ministry, he listed the following: pastoring churches in Arkansas, Tennessee, Illinois, Wisconsin, and California; serving as a denominational and annual conference staff executive with programmatic responsibilities in mission, evangelism, and church renewal; serving as a military chaplain with the U.S. Air Force; serving in campus ministries and teaching at the college level.

Dr. Lyles recently published a memoir, “Hard Trials, Great Tribulations: A Black Preacher’s Pilgrimage from Poverty and Segregation to the 21st Century” (XLibris, 2014). Besides his degree from Perkins, he earned a B.A. from Philander Smith College, where he graduated at the head of his class with distinction, and a Doctor of Ministry degree from McCormick Theological Seminary.

Rev. Ted Dotts, 2015 Distinguished Alumnus Award Alumni Award Recipient, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University SMU   
 Rev. Ted Dotts

The Reverend Ted J. Dotts, Jr. earned the Master of Theology degree from Perkins School of Theology in 1964, and was elected Perkins student body president during his senior year. He taught for 28 years in the United Methodist Regional Course of Study School at Perkins, and was named a Bridwell Scholar in 2010. Over the course of more than four decades, he has served in positions as varied as church pastor and district superintendent, medical ethicist and hospital administrator, and an elected delegate to four consecutive UMC General Conferences. He presented lectures in medical ethics at the School of Medicine and the School of Law, Texas Tech University, and was named senior vice president of Ethics and Faith for Covenant Health System. He served on the Boards of Trustees for numerous institutions, including McMurry College (now McMurry University), Abilene; Southwestern University, Georgetown; and the Lubbock Methodist Hospital System Board. Rev. Dotts hosted “Faith Matters,” a weekly program on the Lubbock public radio affiliate, and served in retirement as chaplain for the Carillon Senior Life Care Community, where he has lived for the past seven years.

“Throughout his life and ministry, Ted Dotts has chosen always to serve, but never to be served,” said Rev. Bobby J. McMillan, a colleague and friend of Rev. Dotts since they entered Perkins together as first-year students in 1961. “He epitomizes servanthood wherever he encounters any human need or suffering.”

Lubbock District Superintendent Richard W. Edwards (M.Th.’78), who served as a Perkins Intern under Rev. Dotts’ supervision in 1976-77, praised Rev. Dotts’ selection as Distinguished Alumnus Award recipient. “He represents everything which Perkins stands for,” said Rev. Edwards, “and over his more than 40 years of ministry [he has] demonstrated what ministry is really all about.”

Tickets for the Distinguished Alumnus Awards Banquet are available for $49 each by registering at http://www.smu.edu/Perkins/PublicPrograms/MinWeek/February-2015/PricingandReg. The banquet will be held on the campus of Perkins School of Theology, Monday, February 2, 2015, at 6:00 p.m., in the Great Hall of Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Hall, 5901 Bishop Boulevard, Dallas.

For more information about reservations for the banquet or about Perkins School of Theology Ministers Week, contact Pam Goolsby, associate director of Continuing Education, 214.768.2251, pgoolsby@smu.edu. For more information about Perkins School of Theology Distinguished Alumni/ae Awards or this year’s recipients, contact the Office of Public Affairs, 214-768-1393, tmclemore@smu.edu

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Perkins School of Theology, founded in 1911, is one of five official University-related schools of theology of The United Methodist Church. Degree programs include the Master of Divinity, Master of Sacred Music, Master of Theological Studies, Master of Arts in Ministry, and Doctor of Ministry, as well as the Ph.D., in cooperation with The Graduate Program in Religious Studies at SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.