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FROM THE COLLEGES: Bill Ellis to retire at Howard Payne; Boyce’s 170 graduates largest in college’s history

In today’s From the Colleges:
Howard Payne University
Boyce College

Bill Ellis to retire as Howard Payne president

BROWNWOOD, Texas (BP) — Bill Ellis has announced his retirement as president of Howard Payne University, effective May 31, at which time he will become HPU’s chancellor, according to a May 10 news release.

“I am honored to have served as president of this treasured institution,” said Ellis, who has led HPU since 2009. “I look forward to seeing what great things God has in store for HPU in the years ahead.”

Ellis has served as the 19th president in the 129-year history of the Baptist-affiliated university in Brownwood, Texas.

HPU trustees have named Paul W. Armes as interim president. Armes is a former president of Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, Texas.

The HPU news release stated that during Ellis’ years as president, HPU welcomed its largest new-student class in more than three decades, made a variety of facility upgrades including an extensive renovation of the Mabee University Center, and expanded operations to create an extension center in New Braunfels.

Ellis was the 2014-2015 president of the American Southwest Conference executive committee, an NCAA Division III conference with 13 colleges and universities in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi.

“Dr. Bill Ellis is a distinguished proponent of Christian higher education and has a great love for Howard Payne University,” said Ray Still, HPU trustee chairman, voicing gratitude for Ellis’ “continued involvement as chancellor.”

Primary duties for Ellis as chancellor will be to work with major donors and to develop HPU’s extension centers in New Braunfels and El Paso.

“The work our university is doing at all three locations is vital,” Ellis said. “I am excited to be able to focus all of my attention on growing the financial resources to support these efforts.”

Prior to his role as HPU president, Ellis had served as provost and chief academic officer at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene since 2001. His 40 years in higher education also include administrative and/or faculty positions at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Ark.; Mississippi College in Clinton; Louisiana College in Pineville; and Clarke College in Newton, Miss.

Ellis holds a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado at Boulder, a master’s degree from Texas Tech University and an undergraduate degree from Hardin-Simmons University. He and his wife Diana have two adult children.


Boyce’s 170 graduates largest in school’s history

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) — The good life is the faithful life, R. Albert Mohler Jr. told graduates at the May 11 commencement of Boyce College, the undergraduate school of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The 170-person graduating class is the largest in the school’s history.

Whereas graduating college students listen to inspiring messages each May about being successful and doing something significant, Mohler suggested the Christian Gospel — and by extension a student’s education at Boyce — inspires a more mundane kind of achievement: faithfulness.

“Everything, graduates, that you have experienced at Boyce College — every assignment, every class, and every term — has been invested in helping you to hear the words of Jesus and do them,” Mohler said.

Preaching from the parable of the two houses in Matthew 7:24-29, one on rock and the other on sand, Mohler said the passage is about a life of faithfulness or a life of ruin.

“Conventional wisdom says, ‘Trust yourself, build your life, go do something significant, make a big obituary,'” Mohler said. “But Christ said, ‘It all comes down to whether or not you hear these words of Mine and obey them.'”

The investment in the lives of college students — from parents to professors — is made so they would hear and obey the words of Jesus, and through their ministries help others to follow Him, Mohler said. As students go into their ministries, they must understand that their lives can be a strong attraction to Christianity for the outside world.

“Some of you will teach and preach the Word faithfully,” Mohler said. “Some of you will be going to teach in schools — public and private, Christian and secular. We pray that wherever you go and to whomever you teach, Christ will be made known through you as you teach with excellence. There will be some going into business, and the Bible makes clear that … God’s glory is also [revealed] in applying energy and expertise to the doing of things that need to be done for the building up of a community. May you do so to God’s glory.”

There are only two outcomes in life, according to Jesus’ parable, Mohler said. The house that stands is a life marked by obedience and faithfulness and is a powerful testimony to what it means to stand for the truth of the Gospel, whereas the house that falls brings shame and reproach to the church.

“We hope and pray that every moment you’ve spent at Boyce College is a lesson that has assisted you to build your house upon the rock,” Mohler said.

Matthew J. Hall, dean of Boyce College, urged the graduates to resolve not to do anything that might compromise the Gospel, harm the church and jeopardize their ministries. Christians live in a world infatuated with falsehood, dishonor, vulgarity, ugliness and wickedness, Hall said. The temptation to compromise personal holiness will be strong, especially in an American church that has been weakened and plagued in its public witness. Such a bleak spiritual landscape requires a realistic perspective, Hall said.

“Some of you will not make it,” he said. “There will come a point — whether months or years from now — where you will see a trail of broken promises, broken hearts and broken homes. And to be even more pointed: There are some who began with you in this journey at orientation and are not seated with you at graduation because of the reality and the trauma of a world inflicted by sin. Like an infestation, the world, the flesh and the devil conspire against you to overtake you.

“So I want to give you a word of warning, but also exhortation: By the time the infestation shows up, it’s already too late. A good defense is not enough; you need an offense.”

The counsel of God in Scripture emphasizes that believers who want to fight sin and win must fuel the flames of their love for God, Hall said.

“Don’t be fooled, class of 2018: Holiness and purity will always be scoffed at,” he said. “It will never be cool, it will never be politically expedient. It will always be costly. But resolve now to pursue purity in your speech, in your thoughts, and in your conduct.”

During commencement, Mohler presented the inaugural Charles W. Draper Faculty Award to David Bosch, associate professor of business administration. The award is named in Draper’s honor, who died in June 2017 after nearly 20 years as a professor at Boyce College. Draper was a founding professor of Boyce College when the school relaunched as the fully accredited James P. Boyce College of the Bible in 1998, replacing the non-degree-granting Boyce Bible School. Draper served as associate professor of biblical studies before becoming chair of the department of biblical studies in 2013.

Draper’s wife Retta was present for the award presentation, along with his brother, Jimmy Draper, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention and former president of LifeWay Christian Resources.

Mohler said Charles Draper was “known for his faithfulness and tenacity in the classroom” along with his deep love for the Scriptures and his students.

Bosch, a Boyce professor since 2015, has extensive professional and academic experience in business administration, having previously worked for Fortune 500 companies in the areas of corporate finance, treasury, strategic planning and supply chain management and teaching in the business school at Asbury University from 2011-2015.