News Articles

BP Ledger, Dec. 9 edition

EDITOR’S NOTE: BP Ledger carries items for reader information each week from various Southern Baptist-related entities, and news releases of interest from other sources. The items are published as received.

Today’s BP Ledger contains items from:
Union University
California Baptist University
Campbellsville University

Dockery to Union: Thank you & farewell

JACKSON, Tenn. (BP) — Almost 18 years to the day of his election as Union University’s 15th president, David S. Dockery bade farewell to the institution in an emotional address Dec. 5 to university trustees, administrators and community leaders.

Dockery was originally scheduled to give a final report to trustees during their Dec. 6 meeting. That meeting, however, was canceled due to inclement weather. So instead, Dockery used a reception held in his honor in the Carl Grant Events Center to recap his 18 years as Union president, thank those who have encouraged and supported him and announce his parting gifts to the university.

“We are so thankful, from the bottom of our hearts, that you have given us the privilege to be a part of this incredible institution for 18 years,” Dockery said. “We are overwhelmed when we stop and reflect upon what has happened during these years.”

In January, Dockery announced his intentions to step down from the presidency and assume the position of chancellor no later than July 2014. He said Thursday that he had decided the chancellor’s position would be only an honorary role.

Though he will still technically be the university president until June, Dockery said his final months in that position will most likely be spent preparing to transition to new opportunities. The search committee expects to name a new president early in 2014, and Dockery said he wants to give that person the freedom to begin crafting a new administration.

In the days ahead, he plans to provide ongoing consultation with a Christian publisher while participating more with the Manhattan Declaration project, a movement of Orthodox, Catholic and evangelical Christians for life, marriage and religious liberty. He will also continue his role as adviser and mentor for some young college and seminary presidents. In addition, Dockery expects to make another announcement in the near future about his upcoming plans.

Prior to Dockery’s final address at the reception, the university showed a video honoring him for his contributions to Union, with comments from such people as Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee; R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; Carl Zylstra, former president of Dordt College; Randy Davis, executive director of the Tennessee Baptist Convention; and several Union faculty, staff and alumni.

“There are some leaders who really have the ability to be good scholars,” Zylstra said in the video. “There are some leaders who have the ability to be great managers. There are some leaders who have the ability to show devout inspiration that’s contagious to the entire organization.

“To find all those qualities in one person, the way they are exhibited and embodied in David Dockery, is truly amazing,” Zylstra continued. “It’s been a blessing and an inspiration to dozens of colleges and universities across the United States and even around the world.”

Justin Barnard, associate professor of philosophy at Union, said in the video that Dockery would not want his legacy to be all about him, but about what God has done and will do at Union.

“He himself would want students and faculty and staff and administration and donors to be optimistic about the future,” Barnard said. “And the reason he would want them to be optimistic about the future is the great God that we serve.”

During his remarks, Dockery cited several accomplishments during his administration, including the establishment of Union’s mission statement, core values and confession of faith, development of the physical campus, enrollment increases, growth of faculty scholarship, national recognitions and many others.

He recalled the first interview he did after his election as Union’s president on Dec. 9, 1995, in which he was asked where he would like to see Union at the end of his presidential tenure.

“I would like to see a university with a great faculty committed to excellence in teaching, research, publication and service,” he answered. “I would like to see a staff that cares for and enables students. I would like to see a campus with quality facilities that are beautiful and aesthetically pleasing as well.

“I would like to see a university that serves as a resource to businesses, to the world of health care and education and to churches all across the United States. I hope that Union will be a shaper of Christian higher education throughout the nation.”

The answer contained several other objectives that Dockery said, “By God’s grace, we have come pretty close to seeing a lot of those things happen.”

He also credited his colleagues for being the major force behind those successes.

“What all of you have done has been commendable work in every facet of institutional life,” Dockery said. “Thank you for allowing Lanese and me to be cheerleaders and ambassadors for what has taken place here.”

Beyond this semester, the three tasks that remain for Dockery as Union’s president are to welcome the new president and help that person through the leadership transition, to preside over the May graduation ceremony and to return to campus in the summer of 2015 for the dedication of Union’s new library.

“The future of Union, from where I sit, looks very bright,” he said. “Union’s in as strong of a position as it has ever been in its history in every institutional category. It’s poised for a great future and positive impact on the church and society in the days ahead with the right leader.”

As he and First Lady Lanese Dockery complete their time at Union, Dockery presented four gifts to the university. In honor of the Union trustees, he and Lanese made a gift to the new library. Dockery announced that construction on the new facility, which has been delayed due to design issues, will begin in March, with an estimated completion date of June 2015.

In honor of the president’s cabinet, the Dockerys have funded a lecture series at Union, called the Christian Intellectual Tradition Lectures.

“This series will allow us to bring the very best Christian thinkers to this campus for years to come,” Dockery said.

To honor Melanie Rickman, who spent nine years as his executive secretary, Dockery established the Melanie Rickman Scholarship at Union for students from West Tennessee who feel called into global missions. Rickman’s brother, Benny Petty, is a 1973 Union grad and spent several years as a missionary in Hong Kong. Dockery said the fund would assist students like him who want to take the gospel to the nations.

To honor Cindy Meredith, who has been Dockery’s executive assistant for his entire tenure at Union (as well as four years previously during his vice presidency at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary), the Dockerys have established a fund that will provide financial aid to student workers in Union’s administrative offices, with those workers carrying the title of Meredith Fellows.

“Some have said that I’m codependent on Cindy, but that would give me far too much credit,” Dockery said. “Simply said, Cindy Meredith is incredible.”

Jessica Vinyard, a Union freshman from Galatia, Ill., who works in the president’s office, will be the first recipient of the Meredith Fellow Scholarship for the 2014-2015 academic year.

Dockery thanked several groups and individuals for the roles they played in his administration, which approximates the tenures of George Savage, Warren Jones and Robert Craig as the longest in Union’s history.

“To all of you who have given us this amazing opportunity, we are grateful beyond explanation,” he said. “The only words we can say are ‘Thanks be to God.'”


CBU president to begin NCAA II President’s Council role in January

INDIANAPOLIS (California Baptist University) -– When the 2014 NCAA Convention in San Diego ends in mid-January, the work for California Baptist University President Dr. Ronald L. Ellis will begin.

Ellis has been selected to serve a four-year term as a member of the NCAA Division II President’s Council. The term will conclude following the 2018 NCAA Convention.

The NCAA Division II President’s Council is comprised of 16 presidents or chancellors from active Division II members from around the association. Ellis is the first PacWest president selected to serve a term on the council since the conference reformed for the 2006-07 competition season.

“This is a prestigious honor with tremendous responsibility,” said Ellis, who is known for his passion for collegiate athletics and support of the student-athlete. “When California Baptist University as an institution made the decision to move to Division II, the members of the CBU family knew it would take the entire institution to make it a reality. We were diligent in our process and it showed as we smoothly transitioned to active status this year. At the NCAA Convention last January, CBU was called ‘a model program for other transitioning schools to follow.'”

That successful transition has led to his peers asking Ellis to take one of 16 key leadership roles in Division II.

“Now I have been asked to give back by serving on the President’s Council and to represent not just California Baptist University, but all of the student-athletes and institutions of the Pacific West Conference, as well as Division II,” he added. “I am excited about this opportunity and sincerely welcome the challenge.

The NCAA II President’s Council has a myriad of duties and responsibilities, including implementing policies adopted by the Association’s Executive Committee, establishing and directing the general policy for Division II, and developing a strategic plan for Division II.

Matters relative to legislation, finance and committee structure fall under the purview of the council as well.

“The PacWest is thrilled that Dr. Ellis has been selected to the NCAA Division II President’s Council,” said Bob Hogue, PacWest commissioner. “Because his institution is a new active member in the NCAA, he will bring a fresh perspective and a tremendous enthusiasm to the council.”

Ellis became the fifth president of California Baptist University on Nov. 1, 1994. Since then, CBU has experienced sweeping changes in almost every facet of university life from expanding academic programs to a successful athletics program that claimed 22 NAIA national championships in 12 years.

In 2012, California Baptist University captured the Commissioner’s Cup during its inaugural season in the PacWest.

In 2013, CBU attained active status and full membership at the NCAA Division II level and saw its men’s and women’s soccer teams as well as its men’s cross country squad earn berths in the NCAA II National Championships. The CBU women’s volleyball team also is line for a possible post-season bid.

Under Ellis’ guidance, enrollment has grown nearly nine-fold from 808 in the fall of 1994 to 7,144 in the fall of 2013. During that same period the university’s operating budget increased from $11.3 million to $189.5 million in fiscal year 2014.

New construction, renovation of existing facilities, and acquisition of property have dramatically transformed CBU’s beautiful Southern California campus. The university also has developed into a significant member of the community and region, and in 2005 the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce named CBU Business of the Year.

And for the eighth straight year, U.S. News & World Report named CBU one of America’s Best Colleges for 2014.

Under the leadership of Ellis, California Baptist has developed into a premier comprehensive Christian university, comprising 10 colleges and professional schools offering 154 undergraduate majors and concentrations as well as 39 master’s degree programs.

In 2011 CBU received its first ever 10-year accreditation affirmation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, while in 2012 California Baptist University’s bachelor degree programs in civil engineering (BSCE), electrical and computer engineering (BSECE) and mechanical engineering (BSME) were accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.

Ellis received his bachelor’s degree from Houston Baptist University in 1977 and a master’s degree in educational administration from Baylor University in 1981. In 1987, he completed a Ph.D. in higher education administration from Texas A&M University.

Ellis and his wife, Jane Dowden Ellis, are active members of the Magnolia Avenue Baptist Church in Riverside, Calif., where he has served as chair of the board of trustees. The couple have two grown sons and six grandchildren.


Campbellsville working with schools with robotics classes
By Austin Yates, student newswriter

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. (Campbellsville University) — When one thinks of Campbellsville University, “Robotics” isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Thanks to a recent partnership with Green County Area Technology Center, Campbellsville and Taylor County schools and Team Taylor County, a science fiction fantasy is becoming a reality for local high school students.

Campbellsville University’s Technology Training Center II on Nancy Cox Drive in Campbellsville is housing a new Robotics course taught through the Green County Area Technology Center (formally known as the “Vocational School”). The class is being taught to high school students from Taylor County and Campbellsville High Schools. David Rauch of the Green County ATC will teach the class.

“I’m really surprised,” Ron McMahan, executive director for Team Taylor County, said. The program doesn’t just have students who are going straight into the workforce, but it is for students who are heading to college after graduation.

“Whether they are going to college or not, we are getting students ready for the workforce. The students in this program are top notch at what they do,” McMahan said.

Students are also showing enthusiasm for the class as well. “Thanks to the currently enrolled students’ enthusiasm, we now have eight-10 more students on a waiting list for the class. We’re starting small but were hoping that the program will develop in the years to come.”

Rauch said, “What kids are learning here is going to help them wherever they go after graduation.”

“Computer engineering is what I want to do,” Eric Lamer, a junior at Campbellsville High School, said. “Knowing the robotics helps with things like programing and coding. This class has helped better me with what I want to do with my life.”

“I’ve enjoyed it,” Austin Colvin, a sophomore from Taylor County High School, said. “It’s been difficult, but it’s been fun.” Colvin has discovered, through the course, his skills in mechanics. “I’m more of mechanical type person…I’m wanting to be a disc rotor technician.”

In previous years, vocational students would have to commute to the GCATC via bus during afternoon classes. “Students don’t want to travel to Greensburg in a bus,” John Chowning, vice president for church and external relations and executive assistant to the president, said.

“The local industry and schools want more students to be able to take certain training programs through Green County Area Technology Center,” he said. “There’s no money for such new centers by the state so were partnering to use the space in the Technology Center.”

McMahan said the commute and high school class scheduling conflicts for students was the primary reason for a satellite location in Campbellsville.

One of the benefits of the class and other ones taught by GCATC is how it affects the local economy. “Area industries need more career ready workers trained in these programs. This creates a need for a facility in Campbellsville,” Chowning said.

Michael Rodenberg, president of Murakami Manufacturing USA, said, “We need people in the area who know how to operate these kinds of machines. For these students, we want them to get excited about robotics because of its use in manufacturing and engineering.”

After his visit to the Area Technology Center, Rodenberg and Murakami USA donated $90,000 in obsolete material to the program.

“After visiting the group and seeing what they could do, I could see how our parts we had could be used on their machines,” he said.

Rodenberg said when their company understands the real needs, it allows them to contribute in a more practical way, such as donating equipment and components and their time to teach and inspire.

“We look forward to partnering with the school systems of Green County, Taylor County, Campbellsville and Campbellsville University is encouraging our students to develop their talents as well as working together to create opportunities in the future for local advanced and degreed technical education,” he said.

The classes (much like the robots) are being built from the ground up and hope to get bigger and more expansive as time goes on.

“This will attract high school students and adults to the campus. Some other longer term partnerships could result from this as well,” Chowning said.

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