Baptist and Reflector
NASHVILLE — The International Association of Baptist Colleges and Universities honored Nashville attorney Jim Guenther during its annual meeting in June at William Carey University in Hattiesburg, Miss., with its highest honor — the Charles D. Johnson Distinguished Educator Award.
The award recognizes significant contributions to Christian higher education and the IABCU and its member institutions, said Pat Taylor, retired president of Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Mo., and a member of the board of directors of IABCU.
Taylor also is a former administrator at Belmont University in Nashville and a longtime friend of Guenther. He presented the award on behalf of the association.
“For more than 50 years Jim Guenther has practiced law and has shared his legal expertise with Baptist institutions. Most of our Baptist universities have benefited from Jim’s advice and are better universities today because of their relationship with the Guenther law firm,” Taylor said.
“The Southern Baptist Convention has greatly benefited from Guenther’s legal advice,” he added.
Taylor noted that he met Guenther 44 years ago when both were members of Belmont Heights Baptist Church in Nashville and taught a Sunday School class together. “We have been friends since. Jim Guenther is truly a Christian gentleman and is a worthy and outstanding recipient of the Charles D. Johnson Award,” Taylor said.
Guenther began working with Baptist colleges and universities in 1966 when he became general counsel for the Education Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention and the Association of Southern Baptist Colleges and Schools and served in that role until the Education Commission was dissolved in 1996 during a restructuring of the Southern Baptist Convention.
His firm remained as legal counsel for IABCU when it was formed in 1998, replacing the former ASBCS.
Union University president Samuel W. “Dub” Oliver said of Guenther: “He has been a wise counselor to me as a college president. From the smallest detail of the choice of words in our Bylaws to the broadest challenges facing us, his calm and faithful work has assisted Union University. And, he advocates for Baptist colleges and universities everywhere he goes.” B&R