FROM THE COLLEGES: TMC begins univ. status; Jacksonville adds ag; Boyce graduates 150; CBU claims Commissioner's Cup

Today's From the Colleges includes items from:

Truett-McConnell University

Jacksonville College

Boyce College

California Baptist University

Truett McConnell moves to university status

CLEVELAND, Ga. -- Truett-McConnell College officially became Truett McConnell University on commencement day, May 14.

TMU President Emir Caner, noting that Truett McConnell was chartered in 1946, said, "The hope and dream was to simply raise up a generation of ministers who will pastor churches and a generation of students who will love Christ. I'm pleased to say that 70 years later, that vision is still intact."

The name change, which coincides with TMU's 70th anniversary and its first master's degree graduate, was approved by trustees of the Georgia Baptist school last October.

Trustee chairman Phillip Jones said, "Like the children of Israel who set up memorial stones to remember God's mighty hand allowing them to cross the Jordan River on dry land, today we mark this day as the day we become a university. When future generations ask us about this day, we can say the Lord was mighty by allowing us to see more students saved, called, equipped and sent."

The 2016 graduating class was the first to receive their diplomas from Truett McConnell University, including the first master's graduate, Ben Garrison.

Scotty Wilbanks, a member of the Christian band Third Day and multiple Dove Award-winning record producer, delivered the commencement address to 134 graduates at the Cleveland, Ga., campus.

"This life is not about me or you," Wilbanks said. "It's about focusing on the journey."

Planning for growth

The university's strategic plan includes additional undergraduate programs as well as new graduate programs, adding to the current master of arts in theology. Graduate degree programs already approved by the faculty include master of science in biology, master in business administration, master of arts in counseling, master of arts in missions, and master of arts in education, all of which will entail approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Maël Disseau, associate professor of Christian studies, noted, "Since changing to a university status is the natural progression of a growing academic institution, this new phase in our history means that Truett McConnell is growing in size, talent, variety, and opportunities.

"All of these," Disseau said, "will help us to fulfill the Anabaptist vision set out by our president to train ministers regardless of their chosen vocation."

"While we continue to grow," Caner said, "the mission of Truett McConnell University will remain the same: to equip students to fulfill the Great Commission by fostering a Christian worldview through a biblically-centered education."

Jacksonville College expands course offerings

JACKSONVILLE, Texas (BP) -- Jacksonville College is expanding course offerings relevant to careers and the economy in East Texas.

The college will begin offering courses in agriculture along with new courses in criminal justice, biology, education and art during the 2016-2017 academic year.

Jacksonville College is owned and operated by the Baptist Missionary Association of Texas and has been affiliated with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention since 2004.

Agriculture is new to Jacksonville College. Those pursuing agriculture-related careers will be able to take Agronomy (crop science) and Marketing of Agricultural Products next fall, with Computers in Agriculture slated for the spring 2017 schedule.

Three new courses in criminal justice are Introduction to Criminal Justice, an evening class, and Court Systems & Practices to be offered in the fall, with Fundamentals of Criminal Law to be offered next spring.

Students pursuing LVN (licensed vocational nurse) certification will now be offered the online Introduction to Anatomy & Physiology, a one-semester overview of human anatomy that includes both lecture and lab.

For future teachers, Introduction to Teaching and Introduction to Special Populations will be on the fall schedule. Students in these classes will be required to obtain field observation hours in local schools in addition to their in-class instruction.

New course offerings in arts include Design I and Photography. Along with the study of terminology and concepts, students in Design I will produce paintings, drawings and other projects. Photography will introduce basics of photography such as camera operation and photo techniques. Both courses will be offered in the evenings in the fall.

Following Texas college standards, all courses will be fully transferable to other colleges. And, as colleges and universities in Texas are implementing a new student success course called Learning Frameworks, Jacksonville College is doing the same.

Further information is online at jacksonville-college.edu or by email to the academic dean's office at acadean@jacksonville-college.edu or phone, 903-589-7112.

150 Boyce degrees awarded

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- A record 150 students graduated from Boyce College, the undergraduate school of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in a May 13 commencement, surpassing the previous mark by more than 40 percent.

R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Seminary and Boyce College, told the graduates of the job description the apostle Paul set forth for Christians when he wrote, "Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good" in Romans 12.

"Your graduation from Boyce College is not a down payment in order that at some point in the future you might fulfill your function and calling in the church," Mohler said.

"[T]he church of the Lord Jesus Christ in this generation needs the graduating class of Boyce College of 2016 to show up ready for action now," he said. "Show [your faith] to the world in order that they will see Jesus and desire Him. ... In so doing ... you will bring honor upon this institution, who rightly honors you today, and you will show all Christians how to fulfill this job description given to us all."

Founded in 1974 as Boyce Bible School, named for the founder and first president of Southern Seminary, the school began offering bachelor's degrees as James P. Boyce College of the Bible in 1998 under Mohler's leadership. Later, its name was changed to Boyce College. Today, akin to the undergraduate programs at the SBC's six seminaries, students can receive a variety of bachelor's and associate degrees through formats like Boyce Online, seminary track and dual enrollment. Information about Boyce College is online at www.boycecollege.com.

CBU wins PacWest Commissioner's Cup 3rd straight year

RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- California Baptist University has won the PacWest Commissioner's Cup as the top athletic program in the conference for the third consecutive year and fourth time in five years.

CBU joined the PacWest in 2011 and is the first school to win four Commissioner's Cups in five years.

The Lancers clinched the Commissioner Cup when they won the PacWest baseball title on the last day of competition. In total, the Lancers have captured nine conference crowns this academic year: men's and women's basketball, women's golf, men's and women's swimming and diving, wrestling, baseball and men's and women's cross country.

Micah Parker, CBU director of athletics, noted, "Particularly, this group of senior athletes has been consistently outstanding in PacWest competition. The PacWest Conference continues to get better each year, so we've had to keep improving also. This accomplishment is a true blessing."

The PacWest Commissioner's Cup was established in 2007-08 to honor the athletic program with the best overall performance in that academic year among the conference's 14 schools. The competition is based on average finishes. Each school's conference finishes are totaled and then divided by the number of PacWest athletic programs it offers, giving an overall average for the school.

Compiled by Baptist Press senior editor with reporting by Jenny Gregory of Truett McConnell University; Annie Corser of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and David Heflin of Jacksonville College.
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