Paul Gregoire, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary registrar for 29 years, passed away Tuesday after a brief battle with cancer.
“Paul Gregoire was a faithful servant who embodied what we are about at NOBTS, servants who seek to be faithful to His calling,” said Jamie Dew, president.
Dew shared the news with the seminary family at the start of the regularly-scheduled chapel service, minutes after receiving word of Gregoire’s passing.
“I praise God this morning for his faith. I praise God for the dying grace that I got to see with my own two eyes last night in his final hours,” Dew said.
Gregoire joined the staff in 1987 as a computer analyst as the seminary first ventured into the computer age. At that time, registration involved long lines of students snaking through the library with “four-part McBee slips” hand-signed by faculty members.
Registrar from 1993 until his retirement as registrar emeritus last year, Gregoire superintended 134 graduations and signed an estimated 16,000 diplomas.
“Dr. Gregoire believed deeply in the ministry of the seminary and gave his life’s service to make us more effective,” said Norris Grubbs, provost. “He served generations of students and faculty during his time as registrar.”
Grubbs said Gregoire taught throughout his tenure as an adjunct professor and particularly enjoyed teaching in the seminary’s prison extension center.
Gregoire earned the Associate of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry (’84), Master of Religious Education ('86), and the Doctor of Education ('92, changed to a Ph.D. in ’02) from NOBTS, all while pastoring St. Bernard Baptist Church in Chalmette, La. and raising two sons with his wife, Mae.
For some time, Gregoire held the distinction as the only Southern Baptist seminary registrar who served also as dean of admissions.
In a 2016 article in the school magazine Vision, Gregoire related that his job began the moment the ink dried on a student’s acceptance letter. His greatest joy, Gregoire said, was “seeing that student through from application to graduation.”
Many noted Gregoire’s willingness to help international students as they worked through the details of enrolling in seminary.
“Paul was definitely the best friend an international student could have,” said Jeff Griffin, dean of libraries. “These students often have no idea how to navigate various aspects of American life nor how to navigate higher education. Paul made everything possible and doable to ensure an international student’s success at NOBTS.”
In the Vision 2016 article, Gregoire pointed to the emotion of graduation day with 1500 people on their feet singing “To God Be the Glory” as a visual representation of his goal in life.
“Paul Gregoire was a highly detailed, meticulously organized registrar, but he also had a great heart, as is evidenced by his many years as a bi-vocational pastor,” said Robert Stewart, professor of philosophy and theology. “In addition, Paul's love for his family was obvious to all, and an inspiration to many. I'm grateful for the many years of friendship he and I shared. He will truly be missed.”
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