Students return to campus for the 2019-2020 academic year
From staff reports
Students spill onto the sidewalks and laughter fills the air again as the new academic year begins at Asbury University.
The 2019-2020 academic year kicked off last week with a chapel service in Hughes Auditorium. Monday also marked a new beginning in the life of the university as Asbury’s 18th president, Dr. Kevin J. Brown, addressed the student body for the first time during the Academic Convocation.
The service began with a faculty processional in Hughes Auditorium. Asbury Student Congress leaders Maggie Richwine, Demarion Johnson and Hannah Becht served as heraldry bearers. Faculty dressed in academic regalia for the service, drawing from a time-honored tradition originating in medieval universities.
Dr. Brian Hull, associate professor of Youth Ministry, opened the convocation with a word of prayer. Academic Dean Timothy Campbell and Provost Timothy Wooster made remarks.
“The act of walking together and heading into worship serves to demonstrate that while important degrees have been conferred by us, we humbly submit and prayerfully offer up our achievements and talents as embodied souls to the Lord for His use and for His pleasure,” Campbell said. “Today in this pageantry of academic regalia, we gather together to formally begin and welcome in this 129th academic year.”
Several faculty members were honored during the service through the announcement of their promotion and tenure. Among those promoted were Professor Amy Bessin and Dr. Elizabeth Jones. Both Bessin and Jones were promoted from assistant to associate professor. Dr. Barry Blair, Dr. Paul Hamilton, Dr. Erin Penner, Dr. Josh Smith and Brown were all granted tenure.
Wooster also announced that Dr. David Riel was selected for this year’s Francis White Ewbank Award for Excellence in Teaching, the university’s highest academic honor.
Following the faculty honors, Brown addressed the student body for the first time as university president, giving the inaugural chapel message of the semester. He drew from John 10:10 in a message entitled, “The Good Life.”
“When we recognize that the good life is more than just a state of mind, how should we live our lives?” Brown asked, centering the message upon this important inquiry.
Brown explored three ways of looking at this question, touching on themes of morality and virtue. Students left chapel pondering the question he posed: what is the relationship between a virtuous life and the good life?
Brown weighed the many things that we have a tendency to chase in modern life, such as success, happiness and experiences with the fullness of what God is offering to us.
“Don’t confuse these secondary goods with our primary reason for existence: living into the fullness of who God created you and I to be,” Brown said. “(The full life is about our) relationship with God, relationship with others and service. One of the strongest marks of being an Asburian is that we serve. This is John 10:10, the abundant life. Jesus has come so that we may have life and have it to the full.”
Brown’s message also introduced the 2019-2020 chapel theme of “Encounter.” Throughout the upcoming academic year, students will hear messages on how they can seek to encounter the Lord in their daily lives.
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