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FROM THE COLLEGES: Union Univ.; UMobile; Houston Baptist, Baptist College of Fla.; Okla. Baptist Univ.

Today’s From the Colleges includes:
Union University
University of Mobile
Houston Baptist University
Baptist College of Florida
Oklahoma Baptist University

Union opens new library, The Logos

JACKSON, Tenn. — Union University students, alumni, employees, trustees and friends gathered in front of The Logos to open the new library Nov. 6 on the Jackson, Tenn., campus.

“The building of this library, The Logos, has been made possible by the many people who have used their blessings from God to bless Union University,” said Bill Latimer of Union City, Tenn., who provided the lead gift of $10 million for the facility through the Bill and Carol Latimer Charitable Foundation. “We pray that God will bless not only these people, but all of those who attend Union University and all who will walk into this beautiful library.” More than 1,500 people donated to the project.

The name of the library, The Logos, comes from the Greek word for “word” and is used as a description of Jesus in John 1.

Union President Samuel W. “Dub” Oliver cited Winston Churchill, who once said, “We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.”

“It has been a tremendous blessing in my life to have a hand in shaping this building, The Logos, and now to see it shape us,” Oliver said at the dedication ceremony.

Oliver noted how the exterior brick pattern on The Logos is slightly different from other buildings on the campus’ Great Lawn in that every seventh row of brick is raised.

“In this one simple act, we are symbolizing a deep truth … that there is a pattern to God’s creation,” Oliver said. “Six days we are to work, and on the seventh day, we are to take Sabbath, to rest, to worship. Buildings, even in the pattern of the bricks, can shape us more into who God created us to be.”

The three-story 53,000-square-foot facility is a state-of-the-art academic resource center with expanded space for library holdings, study and meeting rooms, a coffee shop, administration offices and archives. The building was designed by TLM Associates, with H&M Construction as the lead contractor.

Union’s previous library, the Emma Waters Summar Library, opened in the Penick Academic Complex in 1975 when the Tennessee Baptist-affiliated university moved to its current location.

Though the library was renovated several times over the next 40 years, it stayed in the same location while the size of the university increased significantly, noted Anna Beth Morgan, Union’s library director.

In 2010, Union trustees agreed to study the feasibility of a new library and voted the following year to move forward with the project. Construction officially began July 1, 2014.

“Today we come together to celebrate all of these milestones,” Morgan said. “We meet together to dedicate this building to the glory of God. We pledge our commitment to educate young men and young women so that they may serve faithfully throughout all this world in the 21st century.”

Holly Johnson, president of Union’s Student Government Association, said the dedication was fruition of God’s work over the past several years. “I’m excited for future generations of students at Union University who will use this library to cultivate learning, research and community,” she said.

Lisa Rogers, chair of Union’s board of trustees, said the day marked the realization of many dreams and aspirations. “The vision of the type of community we desire is taking shape here,” Rogers said. “The Logos will help us achieve the mission of Union University as well as our vision for the future.”

Ala. convention honors UMobile’s Mark Foley

MOBILE, Ala. — University of Mobile President Mark Foley, who has announced his upcoming retirement, was honored at the Alabama Baptist State Convention annual meeting Nov. 17 in Daphne.

“Resolution No. 1 On Appreciation for Dr. Mark Foley” was approved by messengers who gave him a standing ovation.

The resolution cited highlights of Foley’s nearly 18 years of leadership at the Baptist-affiliated university in Mobile. Among the accomplishments noted were “his emphasis on the core values of faith, learning, conviction, integrity, stewardship and leadership” that extended to all operations of the university, from the classroom to the administrative offices.

The resolution stated: “With these core values in place, the University is committed to graduating confident Christian men and women who have mastered the body of knowledge required by the degree they hold, who know how to think, who know what they believe and why they believe it, who possess the courage to live and work according to those beliefs, who accept responsibility as caretakers of that with which God has entrusted them, and who possess the willingness and skill to use their influence in appropriate and effective ways to change the world around them.”

Foley announced in early October that he planned to retire in 2016, continuing as president until July 31 or until a presidential search committee succeeds in recommending his successor.

HBU taps Craig Evans as Christian origins professor

HOUSTON — Houston Baptist University has announced that New Testament scholar and apologist Craig A. Evans will join the faculty as dean of the School of Christian Thought and will be the John Bisagno Distinguished Professor of Christian Origins, beginning Jan. 1.

HBU President Robert B. Sloan Jr. said Evans will provide “outstanding leadership as the new dean of our School of Christian Thought. His own record of scholarship will serve as an example to us all, and his faithfulness will be an inspiration as well. We look forward to seeing enrollments grow in both undergraduate and graduate programs as Dr. Evans’s leadership brings increased visibility to the school.”

Evans is one of the foremost scholars in the study of the historical Jesus, especially on His death and resurrection. He has authored or coauthored more than 70 books and 500 journal articles and reviews; served as consultant for The Bible miniseries produced by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey; and lectured at such universities as Cambridge and Oxford in the U.K.; Princeton and Yale in the U.S; and Hebrew University and Ben Gurion University in Israel.

Evans holds doctoral degrees from Claremont Graduate University and the University of Budapest.

“For most of my academic life,” Sloan said, “I have read, admired and benefited from the scholarship of Craig Evans. In recent years he has become a dear friend, and now it is a great pleasure to bring Professor Evans and his wife Ginny to Houston and to have him as a colleague at HBU. I envision the many ways our university will utilize Dr. Evans’ remarkable scholarship, years of study, archaeological excavation in Israel and vast international contacts to extend his reach, mentorship and biblical fidelity to students across the nation and beyond.”

BCF missions conference features IMB couple

GRACEVILLE, Fla. — “It Takes a Family” was the Baptist College of Florida’s missions conference theme, Oct. 12-14 at the Graceville campus, with a focus on missionary care before, during and after serving on the mission field.

Speakers for the conference were missionaries Mark and Linda Whitworth. Mark is the International Mission Board’s member care team leader while Linda serves as IMB’s director of stateside assignment training.

Together, they brought insight and real-time experiences in the area of mental health, adjustment and transitions on the mission field and returning to the States.

On Monday night, the Whitworths spoke about the effects of missions on mental health in a session sponsored by the college’s chapter of the American Association of Christian Counselors. “Events like this one support the program goals by highlighting the place where our Christian worldview and ministry goals intersect with the promotion of psychological health,” BCF professor of psychology Kristy Ford said.

More than 25 mission representatives were on campus to provide information about potential opportunities within their organizations, ranging from IMB and the North American Mission Board to Mission Aviation Fellowship and Wycliffe Bible Translators. A Tuesday evening roundtable gave students and attendees an opportunity to ask questions of the missions representatives.

Tompkins receives OBU’s J.M. Carroll Award

OKLAHOMA CITY — Mike Tompkins, director of missions for the Comanche-Cotton Baptist Association in Lawton, Okla., received Oklahoma Baptist University’s J.M. Carroll Award during the annual meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma Nov. 10 in Oklahoma City.

OBU presents the award in honor of J.M. Carroll, the first president of the university, to recognize outstanding denominational service in the state.

OBU President David W. Whitlock described Tompkins as “a longtime pastor, director of missions and champion for the cause of Christ in the state of Oklahoma. It is an honor to recognize this strong leader with a servant’s heart.”

Tompkins began his fulltime service to the Lord in student ministry in churches in Florida, Georgia and Mississippi before arriving in Oklahoma in 1974 to serve on staff at Harmony Community Church in Guthrie. Subsequently called to the pastorate, he led four Oklahoma churches, in El Reno, Leedey, Oklahoma City and Fletcher. In 1996, he became director of missions for the Comanche-Cotton Baptist Association. He also has served on OBU’s board of trustees.

Tompkins has led the Comanche-Cotton Baptist Association in starting 21 new churches since 1997; helped launch a ministry through the association that collects food for lower-ranked military families at Ft. Sill; served on the State Children’s Camp Committee at Falls Creek since 1996; and served as an interim pastor in numerous churches.

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