News Articles


EDITOR’S NOTE: “From the Colleges” includes news releases of interest as written and edited from Southern Baptist-affiliated universities and colleges.

Today’s From the Colleges includes:
Campbellsville University
University of Mobile
Hardin-Simmons University
Oklahoma Baptist University
California Baptist University
North Greenville University
Houston Baptist University

Collegians use basketball
at detention center

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky.–At a recent basketball clinic at Campbellsville University, the campers paid their way not with money, but with good behavior.

A Christian coaching class hosted a one-day clinic for a group of 17 boys from the Lincoln Village boys’ detention center in Elizabethtown, Ky. The clinic featured instruction in basketball fundamentals, a tournament and a gospel presentation at lunch.

“I knew it would be good for people in our class to pull off something like this,” said Ted Taylor, professor of Christian studies. “I wanted our class to know how much it would take to pull off an event like this from getting the event and working out the details.”

Campbellsville adult student Mike Smith, 54, is in charge of recreation at Lincoln Village. A student in Taylor’s class, Smith decided to bring some of his boys to a Campbellsville basketball game in February. After Taylor learned of Smith’s position, the two came up with the idea of the clinic as a reward for the boys’ good behavior at the detention center.

Kristi Ensminger, a former player on the women’s basketball team at Campbellsville, is a graduate assistant for Taylor and led the clinic, along with Lady Tigers Courtney Danis and Whitney Ballinger, as well as former Tiger junior varsity player Logan Hazelwood.

The 17 boys were divided into four teams and rotated through skill stations in the morning before playing in a tournament later in the day. Ensminger led the group through defensive drills, while Danis taught jump shots and Ballinger taught rebounds and passing. Hazelwood worked on dribbling. The whole class pulled together to help teach team-building exercises.

“Our motto is encouraging teamwork and self respect,” Ensminger said. “I think it’s big for the guys to be able to see teams out here, and knowing that some of these guys in class here may have come from rough backgrounds, but now they’re a college athlete.”

The rough background was something at least one of Smith’s classmates could relate to. Campbellsville senior football player Jeffrey Demary, of Columbia, S.C., was in full coach mode with the boys. While he enjoyed the chance to coach and have fun with the boys, the opportunity to share and motivate them was the top priority for him.

“I can relate to some of these kids,” Demary said. “Growing up, I had been through some of the stuff they’ve been through…. The difference between me and them is, that some of the bad things that I did in my life, I didn’t get caught. By talking with them, it shows them where I am today and where they can be at.”

Hazelwood, a senior pastoral ministries major from Harrodsburg, Ky., gave the lunchtime message and presented the gospel to the boys.

“It’s cool to be able to see how the skills God gave me opens up so much to build relationships and advance the gospel,” Hazelwood said. “That’s what’s so cool about a day like this, is to be able to come in and hang out and show them it’s not just a pastor, preacher or Bible thumper. It’s just a normal guy who plays ball.”

In the weeks since the March event, Smith said the boys’ behavior continues to be on track.

“We made a difference in some of the boys just to get down here, and that was the significant part of it. Now we’re maintaining day-to-day,” Smith said.

He and Taylor both hope the event is something that can become a regular part of the Christian coaching class.

“It was great for us,” Smith said. “If the university is good with it, we’d come back.”

“It’s a win-win for us and them, and it fits within our mission of what we’re doing here at Campbellsville University,” Taylor said.
Chris Megginson is sports information director at Campbellsville University.
University of Mobile names baseball field after Jacobs
By Staff

MOBILE, Ala.–The University of Mobile has named its baseball field “Mike Jacobs Field” in honor of head baseball coach Mike Jacobs, who founded the school’s baseball program in 1990 and celebrated his 700th career win in March.

University of Mobile President Mark Foley congratulated Jacobs and his wife, Joy, “on a career at the University of Mobile which is unparalleled.”

Jacobs was surprised by the honor, which was unanimously approved by the university’s trustees in April.

“When I came here 22 years ago, I believed we were following God’s will to do what He wanted us to do,” Jacobs said. “It’s truly been ‘us’ — I could not have done this without my wife, without her strength and her support and what she’s done for my two sons and me.”

Jacobs said the university has allowed him the freedom to build the right kind of program.

“We’ve had great seasons, and some were not good seasons,” he said. “But our belief was always that we would do it the right way. I think that’s one of the things we bring to the table, is that we do things the right way. We try and recruit kids who are going to come in here and do what they need to do in the classroom and do what they need to do on the field.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to do what God has led us to do,” he added.

The newly named Mike Jacobs Field includes a field house, locker rooms, a player study area and stadium seating.

Jacobs began his career at the University of Mobile after coaching baseball at UMS-Wright Preparatory School, where he spent two years as an assistant coach and the last four as the head coach. As a college player, Jacobs had an outstanding career at the University of South Alabama under Eddie Stankey. He was a four-year letterman at USA and was the Jaguars’ leading hitter in 1976.
Five HSU Students Walk the Stage this Spring, Classmates for Life

ABILENE, Texas–May 2011 graduates Amanda Robinson, Kimberly Garner, Sterling Riddle, Michael Nixon and Sara Darden, have attended school with each other for their entire lives.

All five of the Abilene graduating seniors have attended Allie Ward Elementary, Madison Middle School, have graduated from Cooper High School together and on May 10 they graduated from Hardin-Simmons.

“It’s a neat feeling,” says Amanda, “that we all began school together, and now we’re graduating college together. I don’t think that happens very often!” Even stranger than that, Amanda, Sterling, Michael, and Kimberly were all in the same kindergarten class at Allie Ward, where Sara also attended. Michael even recalls that is was Mrs. Hill’s kindergarten class.

All five have stayed in touch and are still friends. Amanda and Kimberly have been best friends for 20 years. Michael and Sterling have been best friends for 18 years and played soccer together at Cooper. Amanda and Sterling grew up next door to each other, and have known each other even before kindergarten. Says Amanda, “We went to pre-school together!”

Michael remembers, “Sara and I were babysat together when we were infants until we were in preschool. Our mothers have been great friends for a long time. Sterling’s family is my “second family,” we have even gone on two cruises together.”

Robinson is earning a degree in psychology and graduates magna cum laude from the HSU Cynthia Ann Parker College of Liberal Arts. Riddle graduates with a degree in criminal justice also from the college of liberal arts. Nixon graduates with a degree in finance from the HSU Kelley College of Business. Darden graduates summa cum laude from the Irvin School of Education with a degree as an interdisciplinary generalist. Garner will walk the stage to pick up a Bachelor of Behavioral Science in political science from the Cynthia Ann Parker College of Liberal Arts.

While at Hardin-Simmons, Kimberly and Sterling found themselves on similar paths, taking many classes together; and up until graduation, they are both officers in the Criminal Justice Association of HSU. “Although I don’t get to see Sterling, Michael, and Sara very often,” says Amanda, “when we cross paths on campus, we’re always friendly and glad to see each other.”

But it seems the friends for life will finally be taking different paths. Michael will be interning at Bank2 in Oklahoma City and will be attending the MBA program at UTA in the fall. After graduation Amanda will be attending graduate school at Texas State University in San Marcos. “At Texas State, I plan to get my master’s in professional counseling. I want to be a counselor and work with children and adolescents,” she says with a certain amount of determination. Sterling says, “After graduation I am going to be applying with the Abilene Police Department to be a police officer this summer and go to the academy later on in the year.”

The five recently received their school rings together at a ceremony in Logsdon Chapel, left to right are Amanda Robinson, Kimberly Garner, Sterling Riddle, Dr. Hall, Michael Nixon, and Sara Darden.
McCarthy Urges Okla. Baptist Univ. Students to ‘Go’

SHAWNEE, Okla. — While some Oklahoma Baptist University students have decided to participate in global missions endeavors this summer to spread the Gospel, others are still trying to make up their minds about whether or not to go. Still others have made the decision to stay home.

Dr. Teri McCarthy, chair of the English Language and Literature Department at LLC International University in Klaipeda, Lithuania, presented dramatic statistics of unreached people groups during an April 27 chapel service to plead for students to reconsider their decision to not go on a mission venture.

There are 1.2 billion people in the world who have never heard the name of Jesus, McCarthy shared at the chapel service dedicated to commissioning OBU students who will engage in missions or ministry during the summer.

“God has asked us to participate with Him in getting the Good News out,” McCarthy said.

She explained God is not searching for only the brightest and the best people to spread the Gospel, or the smartest and the most talented people, but He is also looking for imperfect and complicated people who are simply willing to serve Him.

“God does extraordinary things through ordinary people,” McCarthy said.

She shared about her own calling to the mission field. She said she was enjoying life and was busy making her own plans for a future in journalism when she felt convicted from God about traveling to China. She was resistant to the thought, but out of pure obedience she joined an organization that would be going to teach in Asia. She thought funding for the trip would keep her from going, but the training costs were miraculously paid for.

She prepared for the trip with trepidation and arrived in Beijing feeling fearful and worried.

“I did not have a passion burning,” McCarthy said. “I did not have a heartfelt desire. I was scared to death.”

However, she said the moment she stepped on Chinese soil, God took her fears away. She said she believes God turned her worry to love for the land and people, and she was forever changed.

She told OBU students about her challenging experiences teaching at a Chinese university. She shared how she dealt with a controlling and cruel dorm superintendent who supervised the area where she and other foreign teachers lived. Despite his cruelness, she and the other teachers knew it was their calling to love and serve him. She became close friends with him, and she was able to respond when he became very sick. She visited him at his house and talked with him about Jesus. Before he died, He assured her he had become a believer in Christ.

McCarthy said, in that minute, she was glad she had gotten on the plane to China. She realized God led her to forsake her plans and desires and follow His will for the sole purpose of sharing the Gospel.
“We might think we have ambitions,” McCarthy said. “We might think we have worthwhile plans. But, in the meantime, there are 1.2 billion people that need to hear that Jesus loves them.”

OBU students selected cards indicating their fellow classmates’ summer missions projects, committing to pray for them.
She urged the OBU students who have already committed to traveling on mission trips during the upcoming summer to unconditionally love those who they serve. She also pleaded with those who have decided to not go, to prayerfully reconsider their summer plans.

McCarthy quoted Matthew 28:19, which reads, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

“We are in a sea of lost souls in this world, and we are to be rescuing the perishing; we are to be caring for the dying,” she said.
Rwandan Ambassador speaks at Calif. Baptist Univ.

RIVERSIDE, Calif.– (April 13, 2011) – James Kimonyo, Ambassador of Rwanda, concluded a two-day visit to California Baptist University with an April 11 symposium on the Rwandan Genocide.

During the symposium, Kimonyo discussed the 1994 genocide in which 1 million people were murdered. He described the colonization of Rwanda by Europeans, including issuance of ethnic ID cards, and the institutionalization of racism that led to the atrocity. The ambassador also praised the current government of President Paul Kagame for removing forms of discrimination and promoting unity among the Rwandan people.

Kimono’s two-day itinerary included a dinner with CBU students from Rwanda as well as meetings with Dr. Ronald L. Ellis, CBU president, and other university officials. Discussions centered on ways to enhance and expand the relationship between the university and the East African nation.

Since October 2007 the university has worked with the Rwandan government, arranging for top students to study engineering and science-related fields at CBU. The first 12 Rwandan students arrived for baccalaureate study at CBU in fall 2008, followed by 20 students one year later and 16 students in 2010. Another seven are expected to enroll at CBU next fall.

Several teams of students, staff and faculty from CBU have traveled to Rwanda over the past few years to participate in International Service Projects, conducting ethnographic surveys and working in health clinics. Additionally, CBU has sent a number of faculty members to the National University of Rwanda to teach on site, and began offering a Master of Arts in English with TESOL emphasis online in 2009. These students are scheduled to continue their online studies before completing coursework in the fall 2011 semester at CBU.
“Knowledge is power” discussed at North Greenville University
By James Chip Moore
Staff Writer, The Skyliner

NORTH GREENVILLE, S.C. — “Scientia potentia est” is a Latin maxim meaning “knowledge is power.” In an oppressed society, many freedoms can be taken away. One thing that can never be taken away once obtained is knowledge.

Knowledge is the only thing that stands between many attempting to have the best for themselves and becoming successful. During North Greenville University’s “Knowledge Is Power” event, several natives of Asia noted how important education is within their culture. An overall theme for the families is that it is not an option to pass on an education.

Shurijat Gopal, NGU mass communication instructor, said, “I am thankful that I was born in India, an intellectual country. The average family is middle class with a standard of three or four children. The belief is with no money, no wealth, you must educate with the most qualification. They believe a child would be able to go out and make a good living.”

Reginald Ecarma, mass communication professor, said, “We left [the Philippines] because of oppression. We thought that America was the land of the free and the home of the brave. When we got here, we found out that it’s true. Don’t ever take for granted the opportunity of liberty.”

For immigrants, it is a blessing to become citizens of America, though many are proud of where they come from. For hardworking individuals, America is ripe with advantages.

Suyash Raiborde, a junior in interdisciplinary studies, said, “I remember when I first got here, my parents sat me down and said, ‘Remember where we came from and where we have been blessed now.'”

For most, education is held in high regard because of the advantages it gives toward success. The cultures don’t accept missing out on an education. America caters to high salary jobs that come with education as much as it caters to employment that fulfills someone’s calling in life.

For Jason Han, a junior in Christian studies, growing up in American culture presented him with conflict. While getting an education, Han began to struggle with the conflict of going against his parents’ wishes and pursuing his calling to preach the Gospel of the Lord. Han said, “Now I’m met with the obstacle of where to preach. Do I preach in a Korean church where I’m not fluent in the language or traditional churches that aren’t accustomed to foreign preachers?”

Regardless of the obstacles they face, most are thankful for the opportunities God has given them through life in America.

The turnout for the event was better than expected. More tables and chairs had to be brought out to accommodate the participants. Professors and volunteers prepared food and drink for everyone in attendance. Fried noodles, vegetable rice, spring rolls, fruit, pandan rolls, fortune cookies, rice candies, fruit juice, sparkling water and green tea were among the refreshments prepared.

“This is the land of opportunities. If you set your mind with prayer, you can achieve anything,” Raiborde said in closing.
HBU Claims Great West Title
BY Jeremy Hoeck

VERMILLION, S.D.–Turns out, the ‘good little team’ had what it takes to win a Division I softball league title.

Chief among the requirements was resiliency.

Houston Baptist, a relative newcomer to the D-I ranks, capped off a wild day with a 7-6 victory over defending champion North Dakota in the second title game at the Great West Conference Softball Championships, which concluded Monday in Vermillion.

The Huskies battled through an emotional afternoon that featured a 6-3 loss in 10 innings in the first championship game, and in the second contest, narrowly held on to what was once a three-run lead with two outs left.

All in all, it was an emotional roller coaster for a school that has only been playing D-I softball since 2008.

“It wasn’t easy at all,” Houston Baptist coach Mary-Ellen Hall said. “And my goodness, that was their (UND) third game of the day; I have no idea how they did it.

“Thank the Lord above we only played seven innings,” she added. “That’s a tough team to play.”

North Dakota needed to beat Utah Valley in an elimination game Monday morning — which the Sioux won 3-2 — to even have a chance to face Houston Baptist. In all, UND played 24 innings of softball, but it wasn’t quite enough against the top-seeded Huskies.

Hall said that earlier this season when her team played Louisiana-Lafayette and University of Houston, both nationally-ranked at the time and both headed for the NCAA regionals, the Huskies heard people saying they’re a “good, fundamental little team.”

And so, the innocent compliment became a rallying cry for the rest of the season.

Fittingly for HBU (36-23), it recorded the most wins in a season since 48 achieved in 2007, which coincided with their final year at the NAIA level. The five seniors on this year’s team were originally recruited for that level, but figured prominently in Monday’s championship.

Leading the charge for the group of seniors was Jammie Weidert, who was named Most Outstanding Pitcher after going 2-1 with a 1.90 ERA in the tournament.

“It was such an emotional day. I haven’t even cried in like an hour,” Weidert said, smiling amidst all the post-game hugs and photos. “We were really down and now we’re really high. We told ourselves that they weren’t going to beat us twice.”

After suffering a deflating loss in the first championship game, keyed by a 3-run home run by North Dakota in the top of the 10th inning, the Huskies found a way to respond.

“You just hope your girls have it in them to come back from a loss like that,” said Hall, whose team did not take infield between games. “We just told them, ‘Hey, we still believe in you and your talents. We’ve got one game left.’

“And they took a big gulp, put on their big girl pants and got it done.”

The Huskies got a solo homer from Kaitlin Southerland in the second inning and a two-run double from Kate Maddock in the third to take a 3-0 lead.

Again, North Dakota clawed back, scoring twice in the bottom of the third. And when HBU pulled in front 5-2, the Sioux answered with an RBI double and an RBI single — both with two outs — in the fifth.

Even down 7-4 in the bottom of the seventh inning, North Dakota made things more interesting with a two-run homer by Kenna Olsen. But a pop out and a strikeout ended the rally.

“That’s been our M.O. all year,” UND coach Sami Strinz said. “We fight and fight and fight, and never give up. Our girls fought all the way, but we just ran out of time and ran out of energy.”

In the first title game, both teams had plenty of chances to score in a nail-biter that took three hours.

The Sioux got a two-out 3-run homer from Olsen in the top of the 10th inning.

Down 2-0 after the first inning, North Dakota got on the scoreboard in the third thanks to a 3-run homer from Brittany Baker.

“It was totally a roller coaster,” Strinz said. “I could look over and see people starting to pack things up, but we made them wait. We knew all along that we’d have to battle like this.”

From there, it was a game of missed chances for both sides. HBU left nine runners on base, including two on with one out in the bottom of the ninth.

Yet, the Huskies found a way to get the job done even when things looked bleak — HBU stranded 10 runners on base in the second game.

The same could be said of the school’s transition to Division I.

Before winning 38 games this season, the Huskies went 28-13, 18-23-1 and 16-30 in the first three years outside of the NAIA ranks.

Through it all were the five seniors, who Weidert said “learned a ton.”

“This is so surreal what we’ve gone through,” she said. “Each year has gotten harder with our schedule and who we play, but we’ve stuck together. We believed in ourselves all season.”

With Houston Baptist having to travel the furthest of any school in the four-team tournament field, it benefited from having the largest contingent of fans.

Many parents, friends and other supporters made the 17-hour, 1,000-mile drive to Vermillion to cheer on their orange-clad Huskies.

“We heard that the only person here from Utah was the bus driver, so that just showed us how much it meant that we had all these people cheering us on,” Weidert said. “If we wouldn’t have had that, we would’ve caved.”

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