Bluefield, VA – Bluefield University is preparing to celebrate its 100th year of service in Christian higher education during the 2021-2022 academic year. The university will host a year-long celebration beginning with the annual President’s Convocation on August 18, 2021, the first day of the fall semester.
The theme for the centennial year, Lighthouse on the Hill, was derived from the University’s most recent written history at its 85th anniversary, Lighthouse on the Hill: The Bluefield College Story, written by the late Faculty Emeritus Dr. David Armbrister. The title comes from the 1923 Baptist General Association of Virginia Report which proclaimed, “This college will be a powerful lighthouse for the youth to whom no college had come before.”
“Light is a common theme in our shared Christian faith and at Bluefield University,” said BU President Dr. David Olive. “It is predominant upon our seal where the words “Deus-Patria-Lux,” the Latin for “God-Country-Light” are inscribed. And in our archives exists a century of words, both written and spoken, calling generations of students to goodness, righteousness, and truth. As we enter our 100th year of Christ-centered education, the heartbeat of this institution remains the same today as it did the day the doors first opened.”
In 1919, the Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV) appointed a committee to study the need for a junior college in southwestern Virginia. The committee met in Bristol, Virginia in August of that year, at which time a large group of citizens from Bluefield and vicinity came before the committee and offered $75,000 and 65 acres of land if the Association would locate the proposed college in Bluefield. At the meeting of the BGAV in November of 1919, the committee recommended the Bluefield offer be accepted.
In July of 1920, Dr. R.A. Lansdell became the first president of Bluefield College. During his administration, he assembled the first faculty, erected the first buildings, and actively solicited funds for the college. In September of 1922, under Dr. Lansdell’s leadership, Bluefield College opened its doors to students seeking Christian higher education in southwestern Virginia.
Read the digital version of Lighthouse on the Hill: The Bluefield College Story here: bit.ly/lighthouseonthehill
A committee was appointed in 2020 to plan the centennial celebration. Members of the centennial committee include; Ms. Paula Beasley ’93, Mrs. Rebecca Easley Beckett, Mrs. Kathy Berry ’75, Mr. Joshua Cline ’09, Mrs. Jordan Dillon, Mrs. Rebecca Kasey ’17, Mr. Paul “Chip” Lambert ’09, Mrs. Ann Looney, Mr. J. Morgan Lloyd ’13, Mrs. Alisha Maloyd ’16, Dr. John-Scott Moir, Mrs. Leann Montgomery ’05, Dr. David Olive, Dr. Charles Priest, Mrs. Debbi Romano, Mrs. Karen Thurmer, and Mrs. Tonia Walker.
The academic year will consist of several centennial events. The university will host a birthday celebration on September 20, 2021 for the campus community. The celebration will continue in October as alumni, friends, and families return to campus for the annual Homecoming and Family Weekend, October 22-24, 2021.
The Homecoming weekend will kick off with the opening of the Lighthouse on the Hill Centennial Exhibit. The exhibit, to be located on the first floor of Cruise Hall, will feature archives and memorabilia from the beginnings of the institution to the present. Dorm rooms on the first floor will be themed to a variety of decades to showcase residence life through the years. The exhibit will be open to visitors through summer 2022.
Alumni who participated in music programs at Bluefield University will come together in February 2022 for a reunion and to unveil the centennial anthem, commissioned by Dr. John-Scott Moir, Bluefield University director of choirs and voice.
To show appreciation to the Bluefield community for the many years of support, Bluefield University will be hosting a Community Mud Pig Day on Saturday, April 30, 2022, featuring a water slide, games, and food. The Mud Pig Day custom began in the spring of 1979 when just before the start of finals BU students took a day off from classes, away from books, tests and studying to commemorate the end of another semester of achievement. BU students will celebrate Mud Pig Day on Friday, April 29, 2021.
The centennial celebration will conclude with several gala events for alumni and friends across the Commonwealth in May 2022.
“A celebration like this is a once-in-a-lifetime event,” said Joshua Cline, Vice President for Institutional Advancement. “We are excited to tell the story of not just where we have been but where we are going in the second century of service at Bluefield University.”