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Hilson receives Mitchell Award

Hilson receives Mitchell Award

    04.11.19 | Success Stories: Religion Alumni Awards and recognitions by Ed Welch

    Rev. Mike Hilson received the Virgil A. Mitchell Award for Excellence in Pastoral Ministry April 10 at Southern Wesleyan University. Pictured from left are Dr. Mike Tapper, chair of SWU’s Division of Religion; Rev. Mark Wilson, assistant professor for discipleship, multiplication and renewal; Rev. Ken Dill, associate vice president for spiritual life and university chaplain; Tina and Mike Hilson; and Dr. Mitchell’s daughters, Marilyn Hollingsworth and Martha Funnell.

    Southern Wesleyan University honored Rev. Mike Hilson April 10 for his leadership at a growing Maryland congregation.

    Southern Wesleyan University presented Hilson, lead pastor of New Life Church in La Plata, Md., with the Virgil A. Mitchell Award for Excellence in Pastoral Ministry at the Central campus.

    Hilson grew up in North Carolina and attended Southern Wesleyan, graduating in 1990. Under his leadership, The New Life Network has grown to about 5,000 attendees.

    According to Dr. Mike Tapper, chair of Southern Wesleyan’s Division of Religion, Hilson and his wife, Tina, are “keenly invested” in what's going in the division. Recent Southern Wesleyan graduate Patrick Hampton is serving as a resident at New Life.

    Hilson also serves on the SWU Board of Trustees.

    Dr. Virgil Mitchell and his wife Mary established the Virgil A. Mitchell Award for Excellence in Pastoral Ministry. It was established to encourage excellence in ministry, to enhance the importance of pastoral ministry, to express gratitude for Mitchell’s own ministerial education received at SWU, and to exalt Jesus Christ. The award is presented annually by the Division of Religion and the Southern Area of The Wesleyan Church.

    Southern Wesleyan University is a Christ-centered, student-focused, faith-filled community that offers inventive learning experiences. The university endeavors to prepare its students to be dedicated scholars and servant-leaders who impact the world for Christ. At the same time, it’s Southern Wesleyan’s desire to practice contagious generosity within the surrounding community. For details about degree programs, go online to

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