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Thursday, February 9, 2012 - 4:48am

$2.5M Funds Mercer Baptist Center

Mercer University has received a $2.5 million grant from a private foundation to create a center for Baptist leadership.

The money is from the Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation. The Baugh Center will focus on research in Baptist history, theology, ethics and missiology. It will create a doctoral program in religion focused on Baptist studies.

The Baughs were longtime philanthropists supporting Baptist programs, including Baylor University in Texas. John Baugh founded the Houston-based Sysco Corp. in 1969, which sells and distributes food to restaurants, hotels and other customers.

President William D. Underwood announced Wednesday that Daniel Vestal, executive coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, will lead the new center at the Macon university.