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FROM THE COLLEGES: NGU begins celebration of 125-year milestone; Netland named Union Univ. provost

N. Greenville begins celebration of 125-year milestone

TIGERVILLE, S.C. (BP) — North Greenville University began its 125th-year celebration of its founding in 1892 with a Founders Day chapel featuring 1977 NGU alumnus John Brady, a vice president with the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board.

The Sept. 20 celebration began with faculty, dressed in academic regalia, processing to their seats in Turner Chapel; music by the university’s concert band and concert choir; an opening prayer by Baptist Collegiate Ministry member Brett Plyer; and NGU President Gene Fant Jr. reading Philippians 4:4-7.

“This is the day that we celebrate the vision that happened here in the ‘Dark Corner’ of South Carolina,” Fant said of the isolated yet historic region in extreme northeast Greenville County. The vision for a college, he said, “not only transformed our region but has reached into the uttermost parts of the earth.”

In introducing Brady, Fant said NGU wants today’s students to know “that you are coming along in the footprints of many, many, many people who have contributed to Kingdom work, who have contributed to the educational world, who have contributed to the business world, who have contributed to fine arts, and who have contributed in all areas of human endeavor.”

Brady came to North Greenville as a student when it was a two-year college, continued his education at Furman University and went on to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas.

Brady said he celebrates “how God has blessed me and blessed many others through this institution.”

Everyone is born with advantages and disadvantages, said Brady, who grew up for the most part in Guiana, South America, where his parents were missionaries. He said a disadvantage he experienced in childhood was a dysgraphia condition that affected his writing abilities. An advantage was having a father who, knowing his condition, still pushed him to attend college.

Brady reminisced of professors who made a lasting impact on his life and defined the person he is today, including Shirley Hickson, Wade Hale and S.C. Brissie.

“That [influence] began a fascination for me and, as it has turned out to be, an intimate part of my life career of working in mission work around the world and leading others to present the Gospel in ways that penetrate the heart to change lives,” Brady said.

After a closing prayer by Kady Floyd, Student Government Association president, the Founders Day chapel ended with the singing of NGU’s alma mater.

The university will commemorate its 125-year milestone April 2-13, 2018, with special events leading up to the inauguration of Fant as NGU’s eighth president on Friday, April 13.

Alumni and friends can share their NGU memories at www.ngu.edu/125.


Netland succeeds Mitchell as Union Univ. provost

JACKSON, Tenn. (BP) — John Netland, dean of Union University’s college of arts and sciences, has been named the university’s provost.

Netland, who will assume the position Oct. 16, succeeds C. Ben Mitchell, who became Union’s provost in 2014 and stepped aside earlier this year to return to the classroom as the Graves Professor of Moral Philosophy.

Netland joined Union’s faculty in 2008 as chairman of the English department and became the arts and sciences dean in 2013.

“John Netland embodies our core values and Christ-centered mission at Union,” Union President Samuel W. “Dub” Oliver said. “Along with his intellectual gifts as a scholar and teacher, he leads with humility, passion and integrity in ways that will deepen and advance our vision for academic excellence under the lordship of Jesus Christ.”

Netland said it is “a great honor to be asked to serve in this role at a university I have come to love dearly. At a time when higher education faces many challenges, I am convinced that Union University’s academically rigorous and spiritually formative Christian education is needed more than ever.

“I am grateful to serve a university that offers a bold and distinctive educational vision that sees our intellectual pursuits in service to the two greatest commandments: to love God and to love our neighbor,” Netland continued. “I’m eager to work with our extraordinary faculty, staff and student body to help us do this work with faithfulness, creativity and excellence.”

Prior to his tenure at Union, Netland taught at Calvin College for 19 years. He holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Los Angeles; a master’s degree in English from California State Polytechnic University; and an undergraduate degree from Biola University.

He and his wife Tina, who serves as Union’s administrative assistant to the vice president for student life, have two grown children.