FROM THE COLLEGES: Northeastern Baptist; Union; Cedarville; Davis College

Today's From the Colleges includes:

Northeastern Baptist College

Union University

Cedarville University

Davis College

Northeastern sees enrollment gain, adds business degree

BENNINGTON, Vt. -- Enrollment of full-time degree-seeking students at Northeastern Baptist College has tripled in its second year of operation.

Timothy Groos, head of NEBC's admissions department, recapped the college's enrollment during a March 9 trustee meeting at the Bennington, Vermont, campus.

NBEC has moved to 22 fulltime students this semester from the seven enrolled full time for the college's fall 2013 semester. Overall enrollment has ranged from 40-45 students. The college also is anticipating more than two dozen dually-enrolled high school students to enter its "early scholars" program in the fall.

On March 12, NEBC hosted Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, for chapel, along with his wife Dorothy, professor of theology in women's studies at the Fort Worth, Texas, campus.

During the trustee sessions, Brian Harmon, vice president/dean of academics, recapped the vote by Vermont's State Board of Education last September to approve NEBC's accreditation on the recommendation of the Vermont Higher Education Council and the Vermont Agency of Education. Harmon also reviewed steps NEBC now is taking toward regional accreditation.

The six-member trustee board approved a recommendation to add a bachelor of science degree in business with three concentrations -- entrepreneurial leadership, nonprofit business management and project management -- beginning in the fall of this year.

The business degree will join NEBC's current programs -- a bachelor of arts in biblical studies, bachelor of arts in music and bachelor of science in Christian counseling -- along with a diploma in Christian ministry. Within the bachelor of arts in biblical studies are five concentrations: church planting/entrepreneurial leadership, pastoral ministries, Christian education, creative writing and interdisciplinary studies. The bachelor of arts in music has three concentrations: voice, keyboarding and guitar.

Ed Wright, vice president/dean of students, reported that NEBC students are actively participating in school activities and in ministry and growing academically and spiritually. A student-led outreach -- "Resurrection Road" -- is slated for Saturday, March 28, involving distribution of food baskets and printed testimonies. The students also have follow-up plans for those who trust Jesus and/or want more information.

David King, vice president of administration, presented the annual report of the external auditor. The Lord has blessed the college's progress, King noted, while citing the need for continued growth in monthly giving as well as significant gifts, the beginnings of an endowment and long-term planned giving.

King reported on remodeling taking place across the campus this spring and coming summer, along with mission teams committed to help with the projects and the need for additional volunteer teams. The need for additional student housing also was noted.

James Mancuso, vice president of library services, presented plans for remodeling and expansion in preparation for the Hogue Library's growing holdings, including a new music collection he anticipates will arrive in August. The expansion also will include the Dr. J. Gordon Henry special collection room, named for the longtime educator, pastor and author now based in Lynchburg, Va.; a business collection room; a book sale room; and an office and study.

Five faculty additions were reported to trustees: Laurie Francis as accreditation specialist and associate professor of Christian education; Andy Lee, associate professor of Hebrew and Old Testament; Michael McDill, professor of church history; Stephen Winiarski, associate professor of Greek and New Testament; and Deb Woodcock as adjunct professor of business.

NEBC currently has six full-time and 15 adjunct professors, projecting a full-time faculty of nine and 17 adjuncts in the fall.

The board voted unanimously to add pastors Doug Echols and Stephen Rummage as trustees, beginning July 1, to expand to seven members, with one current member rotating off the board. Echols is senior pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Yorktown, Va.; Rummage is senior pastor of Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon, Fla.

Trustee Phil Waldrep, an evangelist based in Decatur, Ala., stated following the meeting, "As a trustee I get to see the growth -- the numerical growth of the school and the academic growth of the students -- happening on an ongoing basis. Best of all, I get to see the spiritual growth of the students and the impact they, along with the staff, are having throughout the area."

Waldrep said he believes "we will see the graduates of Northeastern Baptist College turn the spiritual tide throughout New England in the years to come."

Pattersons at NEBC

On Thursday, March 12, Paige and Dorothy Patterson spent the day with Northeastern Baptist's students, faculty and staff. Paige Patterson, preaching from Psalm 1 in chapel, encouraged the students not only to believe in the inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible, but to meditate on the Word of God day and night until it shapes their thinking and actions.

After chapel and lunch, the Pattersons participated in a question-and-answer period with the NEBC executive team, followed by a tour of the main campus and the library.

On Thursday evening, Patterson was a guest lecturer in NEBC President Mark Ballard's class studying the Apocalypse, in which students are utilizing Patterson's Revelation commentary from the New American Commentary series. Patterson presented an exposition of chapter 12 and then answered questions from the class.

"For the opportunity to speak at Northeastern Baptist College today, I am profoundly grateful to President Mark Ballard," Patterson said of the campus visit. "I have always delighted in those rare interventions of God that simply defy human explanation. NEBC is a sterling exhibit of such a moment.

"If I were a student desiring to expand my understanding of life, make a difference in the lives of others and have more fun and adventure than a trapeze experience in a circus, I would enroll in NEBC tomorrow," Patterson said in a news release from the college. "This is simply one of the most significant developments in America in this century. May God bless NEBC."

Northeastern Baptist College, on the Web at, operates in partnership with the Baptist Convention of New England and the Green Mountain Baptist Association in Vermont.

The college shares a former Ramada Inn and Conference Center with an elementary and secondary Christian school. NEBC uses the third and fourth floors of the building while Grace Christian School is housed on the first two floors. The college's Hogue Library is in a separate building, and a former motel has been purchased and is serving as student housing.

Keith Absher, Union business school dean, dies

JACKSON, Tenn. -- Keith Absher, dean of Union University's McAfee School of Business Administration and professor of marketing, died early March 24 in his home at age 63.

"The entire Union University community grieves the loss of Dr. Keith Absher, dean of the McAfee School of Business Administration," Union President Samuel W. "Dub" Oliver said. "Keith and his wife Beverly have been vital leaders in the life of Union University for more than a decade. Keith was a capable administrator, a faithful churchman, a generous giver, a devoted husband and a loving father and grandfather. His absence will be keenly felt on the Union campus, and we offer our deepest sympathy and ongoing prayers to his family, friends and colleagues.

Beverly Absher is Union's associate vice president for auxiliary operations, chair of the department of continuing studies and professor of educational leadership. They have two grown children and seven grandchildren. They are members of Englewood Baptist Church in Jackson.

Hunter Martin, an accounting major from Greenfield, Tenn., said Absher always greeted students by name when passing him in the halls.

"He made every effort to build relationships with us and keep himself open to our concerns," Martin said. "I'll never forget the warm hospitality he and Mrs. Beverly showed each year by inviting the entire business school for a cookout and hayride at their farm. His role as a Christian business leader is one I plan to model in my future career."

Absher, originally from Florence, Ala., came to Union as dean in 2004 after serving in the University of North Alabama's management and marketing department for many years. He taught previously at Athens State University and the University of Arkansas.

Absher earned his bachelor of arts and master of business administration degrees from Jacksonville State University, another master's degree from the University of Alabama in Huntsville and his doctorate from the University of Arkansas.

He played an instrumental role in the McAfee School of Business Administration earning accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business in 2013. The AACSB designation is what Absher described as "the gold standard" of business school accreditation, placing the McAfee School in the top 5 percent of business schools in the world.

Absher also served as Union's faculty athletics representative, a role mandated by the NCAA, the past six years.

"Keith was a godly, family man who was very invested in the lives of our coaches and student-athletes," said Tommy Sadler, Union's director of athletics. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Beverly and their family."

Cedarville solar panels save dollars, enhance instruction

CEDARVILLE, Ohio -- When Cedarville University began developing its solar array field -- the largest connected to any university in Ohio -- the primary purpose two years ago was to create new streams of energy on campus. But for Cedarville's engineering students, the benefits since the installation have become more than just financial.

Tom Thompson, professor of mechanical engineering, started using the solar fields last year to help teach his Topics in Mechanical Engineering class analyze practical applications for solar energy. He also used the field to prompt discussions about the growth and feasibility of using solar energy in the future.

Thompson intends to use the array again, this time as a kinematics project to have students study the arrays in order to develop and design reflectors to improve their efficiency. Because the solar panels are stationary, the reflectors would allow more clean energy to be produced.

"I believe there is a lot of untapped potential with our solar panels," Thompson said. "We haven't done much work with them yet, but we'd love to see them used more by our engineering students."

Robert Chasnov, dean of Cedarville's school of engineering and computer science, believes students will benefit from using the solar panels in upcoming senior design projects. "It will be great to see students design a solar-powered fan for our engineering projects lab," Chasnov said.

Apart from these benefits, what was first thought to be a budget-neutral proposition has generated a slight budget gain, with the 2.7 million kilowatt hours of clean energy produced in 2014 reducing the university's energy consumption by 10 percent. Chasnov also noted that the array provides enough energy during the summer months to power the entire campus.

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited Baptist institution founded in 1887, now with an enrollment of 3,620 undergraduate, graduate and online students in more than 100 areas of study. The university has a partnership with the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio.

Davis College wins basketball championship

JOHNSON CITY, N.Y. -- The Davis College Falcons men's basketball team won their third national title at the 11th Annual Bible College National Invitational Tournament, hosted by Dayspring Bible College in Lake Zurich, Ill.

Team member Mark Riches (from Melbourne, Australia) was named tournament MVP as he averaged 18.6 points per game, including 22 points in the finals during the late-February competition.

Team captain Ralphael Christian (Lynchburg, Va.) was named 1st Team All-American, averaging 15.3 points per game and connecting on 8 of 13 three pointers in the tournament. Team captain and starting point guard Joe Daniels (Connersville, Ind.) was named to the Academic All-American team. Quincy Poitier Jr. (Nassau, Bahamas) won the annual slam dunk competition with a two-handed windmill dunk in the competition's final round.

In the championship game, the #1 seed Davis defeated Trinity College of Florida 99-82. The team also holds the national NIT championship titles for 2011 and 2013.

Davis men's basketball coach and athletic director Dan Rathmell said, "Winning this championship just further shows where we're coming as a college -- we're progressing, we're growing. We're striving for excellence in really every area."

Davis College also participates in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) Division II and finished 9th in the overall standings among 46 colleges nationwide.

Davis College, a nondenominational college with roots in the Baptist tradition, adheres to a doctrinal statement with a core belief in biblical inerrancy. The college has a cooperative relationship with the Baptist Convention of New York. The college emerged in 1900 from a series of Bible classes conducted in Johnson City, N.Y., on the Susquehannah River by a young evangelist, John A. Davis, who attended the Chicago Bible Institute (now Moody Bible Institute) where he served D.L. Moody's table.

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