President David Olive welcomed students to the traditional commencement event. He acknowledged the significance of celebrating the start of the new academic year inside BC’s newly renovated Harman Chapel, celebrating its 50th anniversary.
Dr. Olive also recognized special guests in attendance, including professor emeriti Dr. Wayne Massey and Dr. David Armbrister, along with members of the BC Board of Trustees, Dr. David Bailey, Becky Beckett, Charlotte Sacre, and Craig Stout. In addition, the president shared with students the core values essential to Bluefield College, including its commitment to Christ-centered learning, academic excellence, the liberal arts, integrity, respect, and service to God and the community.
“We’re so glad you’ve chosen Bluefield College for your higher education journey,” said Dr. Olive. “We hope that the Bluefield College mission is what drew you here. It is our desire that your hearts and minds be transformed in a way that motivates you to transform the world.”
Other BC leaders offered similar greetings, including Dr. Bailey, chair of the BC Board, Student Government Association president Gordon Dunford, and faculty president Dr. Tracey Stout.
“Join us as we pursue knowledge in the subjects we love,” said Dr. Stout to students. “Rise to this time. You have four years here. Use them well, and make the most of this time.”
In his keynote address, Dr. Flowers, who joined the college this fall as VP for academics and athletics, urged BC students to use their opportunities at Bluefield College to “be transformed” so that they might “transform the world.” Using scripture from the book of Romans, he noted that the writer Paul tells us that consecration, a dedication to a sacred or divine purpose, comes before transformation.
“We are called to consecrate ourselves to God by presenting the totality of our lives for the Lord’s good purposes,” said Dr. Flowers, who holds 37 years of experience in Christian higher education, including most recently as provost and senior vice president at Montreat College in North Carolina. “However, because we are living rather than dead sacrifices, we have a tendency to crawl off the altar. That is why this deliberate decision of consecration is made repeatedly as an act of worship.”
From consecration, Dr. Flowers said, comes transformation. In Romans, Paul, he said, calls us to “be transformed by the renewing of our mind,” which means “to exhibit an outward expression that reflects what is deep within. The key to the process is our minds. It is our thought life that controls our attitudes, feelings, and actions. The Holy Spirit wants to reshape our thinking.”
From transformation, Dr. Flowers concluded, comes servant leadership and the application of the Christian faith. To get there, he added, we must have God’s help.
“We need new hearts and new minds,” said Dr. Flowers, “but you can’t do it on your own. You need Christ, who died for your sins. And you need the Holy Spirit to lead you into Christ-exalting truth and to work in you truth-embracing humility. Give yourself to this. Immerse yourself in the written Word of God; saturate your mind with it. And pray that the Spirit of Christ would make you so new that the spillover would be good, pleasing, and perfect – the very will of God.
As part of the President’s Convocation, BC’s select student voice ensemble, Variations, provided special music for the program. Dr. Ben Thorburn, assistant professor of music, led the congregation in the singing of a hymn, and Dr. Abigail Heiniger, assistant professor of English, provided a scripture reading. The program also included the introduction of new faculty and staff, including Drew Bailey, head coach for cross country; Dr. Stephen Bird, professor of communication; Nikki Byrd, online admissions counselor; Elizabeth Decker, traditional admissions counselor; Jason Everson, assistant coach for football; Dr. Marshall Flowers, vice president for academic affairs and athletics; Buddy Gallemore, head coach for men’s and women’s volleyball; Dr. Abigail Heiniger, assistant professor of English; John Leftwich, campus security officer; Eric Lester, support and systems analyst for information technology; Eric Mason, administrative assistant for academics; Sherelle Morgan, director of online admissions; Shelley Newton, head coach for softball; Deanna Odom, division manager for athletics; Rachel Price, administrative assistant for the School of Nursing; Meg Quinn, director of the New Opportunity School for Women; Bob Redd, sports information director; Brianna Stephens, online admissions counselor; and Amy Walker, traditional admissions counselor.
BLUEFIELD COLLEGE PRESIDENT DR. DAVID OLIVE FORMALLY WELCOMES STUDENTS TO THE 2015-2016 ACADEMIC YEAR.
DR. MARSHALL FLOWERS PROVIDES THE KEYNOTE ADDRESS FOR BLUEFIELD COLLEGE’S PRESIDENT’S CONVOCATION, A TRADITIONAL COMMENCEMENT EVENT FOR THE NEW ACADEMIC YEAR.