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EDUCATION BRIEFS: Bush to speak at Univ. of Mobile; 2 schools changing names …

MOBILE, Ala. (BP)–Former President George W. Bush will be the keynote speaker at the sixth annual University of Mobile Leadership Banquet Oct. 7.

“We build leaders at UMobile, and we are honored that President Bush has chosen to share his insights and experiences as an international leader at an event which raises scholarship funds to prepare those leaders,” Mark Foley, the school’s president, said.

“The University of Mobile Leadership Banquet brings together men and women who represent the best of our community, our nation and our world, who gather to support a university where the future is being shaped today.”

More than 1,500 students are enrolled at the University of Mobile, which is affiliated with the Alabama Baptist State Convention.

Since leaving office, Bush has focused on launching his presidential center at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, which will house his library as well as the George W. Bush Institute. The institute was established last fall to address public policy challenges in such areas as education, global health and economics.

To purchase tickets to the banquet or to discuss sponsorship opportunities, call the University of Mobile’s development office at 251-442-2237 or write to [email protected].

HANNIBAL-LAGRANGE SEEKS UNIV. STATUS — Hannibal-LaGrange College (HLG) will be known as the University of Hannibal if messengers to the Missouri Baptist Convention annual meeting this fall approve the measure.

In their May 8 meeting, in executive session, 14 attending trustees out of the college’s 29-member board voted 12-2 to change the name of the school to the “University of Hannibal.” One of the trustees that did not vote for the name change preferred Hannibal-LaGrange University and one preferred Hannibal Baptist University.

Low attendance by trustees was attributed to the Mother’s Day holiday.

The MBC executive board approved the recommendation unanimously July 13 at the request of HLG President Woody Burt, the HLG board of trustees and its chairman, Terry Buster, pastor of First Baptist Church in Palmyra.

According to a report distributed by HLG, the college informally considered a name change for several years. Trustees began studying the question behind closed doors in executive session last November and received updates from administrators and an ad hoc committee appointed by the college president — that included six trustees, all present for the vote — before making their decision in May.

Burt cited the increased prestige associated with the name “university” as opposed to “college” and said the term better describes HLG’s current academic status.

The name change would require changing the school’s charter — a touchy subject among Missouri Baptists in light of court battles in recent years against five breakaway convention entities. David Tolliver, the convention’s executive director, said that regardless of how the convention votes, HLG is going about the process the in the correct manner.

“I’ve been very pleased to watch the way they have followed the process,” Tolliver said. “They are an example to other [convention entities]. They have followed the process to a T that five others didn’t. They started with their own board, went to the inter-agency committee, to the executive board and then on to the convention.”

If the convention approves the change to University of Hannibal, it would take place legally immediately after the vote, although for practical purposes HLG officials said they would begin the switch Jan. 1, 2011.

SHORTER NOW A UNIVERSITY — Shorter College, a 137-year-old institution affiliated with the Georgia Baptist Convention, has changed its name to Shorter University.

Harold E. Newman, the school’s president, said the June 1 change requires little internal structuring since the college already has been following a university-style structure.

“For much of the past decade, we have operated under a university model in that we have had separate schools headed by deans and have offered graduate programs,” Newman said. “This change in designation solidifies that reputation.”

The status change will enable Shorter to better respond to market forces within the state of Georgia and within the higher education community at large, Newman said.

“Becoming Shorter University positions us for future growth. It does not, however, change the nature of Shorter. We remain committed to providing a high quality educational experience in a Christian environment that features personal interactions with faculty, a strong focus on students and excellence in all areas.”

Shorter also described the name change as part of Shorter’s journey “to renew and strengthen our commitment to Christian higher education and to the Georgia Baptist Convention.”
Based on reports by Kathy Dean of the University of Mobile, Brian Koonce of Missouri Baptists’ Pathway newsjournal and Joe Westbury of Georgia Baptists’ Christian Index newsjournal.

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