BLUEFIELD COLLEGE PRESIDENT DR. DAVID OLIVE WELCOMES STUDENTS TO THE SCHOOL’S 95TH ACADEMIC YEAR DURING THE TRADITIONAL PRESIDENT’S CONVOCATION.
DR. CHRIS LAWSON, EXECUTIVE PASTOR OF REYNOLDA CHURCH IN WINSTON-SALEM, NORTH CAROLINA, PROVIDES THE KEYNOTE ADDRESS FOR BLUEFIELD COLLEGE’S PRESIDENT’S CONVOCATION.
President David Olive welcomed students to the traditional commencement event. He spoke about the school’s founding, reading from its published history and sharing its vision, mission and core values. He also acknowledged new students.
“Welcome, class of 2020,” said Dr. Olive. “We are glad that you are here as we embark on this new academic year. We look forward to getting to know you better, and we’re glad you have chosen Bluefield College to prepare you for a life of vocation and service.”
Other BC leaders offered similar greetings, including Student Government Association president Rebekah Ivester, trustee Rebecca Easley Beckett, and faculty president Rebecca McCoy-Reese, who challenged students to be “open” to the possibilities at Bluefield College.
“Open your eyes to the beauty around you,” said Reese, referencing the majestic mountains and scenic landscapes surrounding BC. “Open your mind to God’s truth and knowledge. And open your heart to new relationships and to new opportunities to love, serve and give.”
In his keynote address, Dr. Lawson, who also serves as secretary of the BC Board of Trustees, spoke about the privilege to attend Bluefield College and the honor to speak for President’s Convocation.
“I’m never more proud than when I have the opportunity to tell people I am an alumnus of Bluefield College,” Dr. Lawson told the students. “This is where I discovered my own vocation and calling and grew closer to God. You’ve made a great decision to attend Bluefield.”
Dr. Lawson also spoke about promises, particularly God’s promise to us. He mentioned childhood memories of broken promises with his brother, even confessions of promises made as a parent in an effort to instruct his children. He also shared some of his own promises made, yet not kept, throughout life — promises to be a better student, a better friend, a better father and husband, and a better Christian.
“These promises are built on fear with some kind of belief that God will reward us,” said Dr. Lawson. “We spend our lives trying to do enough to make ourselves acceptable in the eyes of friends, family, even God.”
But, that’s not necessary, Dr. Lawson told the students. God, he said, knows we can never do enough. So instead of requiring we make unrealistic commitments to Him, he makes the unconditional, indispensable commitment to us.
“Jesus paid the price for our sins,” said Dr. Lawson. “He paid the price so you wouldn’t have to. He paid the price so you can have life and have it abundantly. Of all the things you learn at Bluefield College, the one thing I hope you learn the most is to make Jesus the center of your life.”
The President’s Convocation also included special music by Dr. John Moir, assistant professor of music; a congregational hymn and the singing of the alma mater, led by Dr. Charles Priest, associate professor of music; scripture reading by Dr. Henry Clary, campus pastor; and other contributions from professor of education Dr. Thomas Brewster, traditional admissions counselor Abbey Le Roy, and alumnus Alandra Blume.
New faculty and staff were also introduced, including David Banks, assistant football coach; Dr. Paul Bennett, assistant professor of economics; Dr. Thomas Brewster, professor of education; Valerie Burrell, online admissions counselor; Matthew Carragher, assistant men’s soccer coach; Chris Catron, director of development; Dr. Henry Clary, campus pastor; Lelia Fry, director of first-year experience; Keith Gruber, assistant football coach; David Hite, assistant professor of business administration; Alex Holliday, online admissions counselor; Vann Hunt, assistant football coach; Abbey Le Roy, traditional admissions counselor; John Lilly, assistant football coach; Burma McChesney, Fine Arts Community School coordinator; Michael McGill, associate professor of communication; Dr. John Moir, assistant professor of music; Ryan Moody, assistant baseball coach; Ashley Moreno, assistant women’s soccer coach; Scott Polhamus, traditional admissions counselor; Caleb Robbins, administrative assistant; Gary Ruth, campus safety officer; Madeline Surles, technical director for theatre; Mike Tufaro, assistant football coach; and Hannah Whited, director of registration services.