President’s Newsletter — May 2018

This newsletter from Bob Jones University’s president Steve Pettit is intended to inform BJU’s alumni and friends of student and faculty achievements and campus programs and activities. Communication regarding this newsletter may be addressed to

Message from the President

One of my initial goals when I became BJU president was achieved this spring when the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army approved BJU student participation in Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) beginning with our fall 2018 semester.

BJU has seen a growing interest in ROTC. In the last five years, well over 200 prospective students and their parents have inquired about ROTC, and this academic year nearly 100 current students have talked with Air Force and Army recruiters on campus. With this interest, as soon as we received regional accreditation last year, we began aggressively pursuing ROTC approval.

BJU has entered two crosstown partnerships—the first with Air Force ROTC Detachment 770 hosted by Clemson University. BJU joins Southern Wesleyan University, Tri-County Technical College and Anderson University, becoming the fourth crosstown partner in Clemson’s program. The second agreement is with Furman University by which our students, along with students from North Greenville University, will participate in Furman’s U.S. Army Paladin Battalion.

These crosstown agreements provide our students a variety of options for military service, including military leadership as commissioned officers and active reserves, and our students will gain superb leadership experience that aligns with our emphasis on leadership development.

We are grateful to both Clemson University and Furman University for including BJU in their crosstown partnerships. I’m also thankful for the encouragement and assistance South Carolina Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, along with Congressmen Trey Gowdy and Jeff Duncan, provided during the process.

Students apply directly to the Air Force and Army for admission into ROTC programs. To assist students, we’ve set up an on-campus ROTC office where recruiters meet with students and assist them through the application process. We’ve also designated retired U.S. Navy Commander Al Carper—faculty member—as campus ROTC advisor.

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University Holds 91st Commencement

BJU President Steve Pettit and Chancellor Bob Jones III with honorary doctoral recipients, Senator Tim Scott and Jonathan Edwards, Greenville, SC, May 4, 2018. (Hal Cook)

Bob Jones University held its 91st Commencement May 4 with over 600 students receiving degrees. The University conferred 46 associate degrees, 474 bachelor’s degrees, 89 master’s degrees and three doctorates.

The University also conferred two honorary degrees, a Doctor of Divinity to Rev. Jonathan Edwards, long-time pastor and church planter in Utah, and a Doctor of Laws to South Carolina’s U.S. Senator Tim Scott.

A 1975 BJU graduate, Rev. Edwards has founded and pastored a number of Utah churches including West Valley Baptist Church in the West Valley area of Salt Lake City, Faith Baptist Church and Christian School in Salina, and Marysvale Baptist Church in Marysvale. He and his father were instrumental in the founding of Camp Utibaca in 1978 which serves 15 churches in Utah, Idaho and Colorado.

Edwards has served on the executive board of Northwest Baptist Missions since 2000, conducts a devotional radio program twice a day five days a week, and once a month mentors a group of young preachers in the Greater Salt Lake City area.

After graduating from Charleston Southern University in 1988, Senator Scott worked in insurance and real estate. In 1995 he was elected to the Charleston County Council, serving for 13 years, and in 2008 was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives. Two years later he won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. In 2012, then South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley appointed Scott to complete the term of retiring U.S. Senator Jim DeMint, making Scott the first southern African-American senator since the late 1800s. He won the election to retain his seat in 2014.

As a U.S. Senator, Scott is known for leadership in the areas of tax reform, education and job training. He serves on six Senate committees: Finance; Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs; Armed Services; Small Business and Entrepreneurship; and Special Committee on Aging.

Watch Senator Scott’s charge to BJU graduates below.

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Summer Teams Minister Globally

Lincoln Nebraska Team, (left to right) Kendra Schmidt, Ted Zhan, Andrew Peterson, Brooke Schmidt, Andrew Kester, Feb. 27, 2018.

The Center for Global Opportunities is launching a new student-led summer outreach called City Teams.

Teams of four or five students each will work two to three weeks with local ministries in Boston; Denver; Detroit; Lincoln, Nebraska; Salt Lake City; and New York City.

The students selected the cities based on where they are interested in serving following their graduation from BJU.

“Through the City Teams outreach, students will get connected to local ministries before they graduate, get mentoring from a pastor early on and grow in their thinking about the need for the Gospel around the U.S.,” said Kevin Oberlin, associate dean of the School of Religion.

Eight teams will minister internationally. Dan Olinger of the Bible faculty will lead two teams to Africa, a team to Ghana May 9–30 and a team to Tanzania May 31–June 24. The Ghana team will conduct Bible clubs for children and preach, teach and provide music for Faith Fundamental Baptist Church and West Africa Bible College. The Tanzania team will tutor 55 orphans, ages 7 to 19, during their summer school break.

Ed Rea of the music faculty will lead a team to Germany to work on construction and landscaping at Camp Impact and minister at local churches on weekends.

The Britain team, led by Fine Arts faculty member David Schwingle, is an academic team which will explore the history, culture and ministry opportunities of Great Britain while using the arts to help local churches.

Amy Hicks, Natural Science faculty, and Rob Loach, French faculty, will lead BJU’s first public health mission team to Ivory Coast where they will screen children for malnutrition, educate mothers about proper diets and counsel patients on lifestyle changes to control malaria, typhoid, diabetes and hypertension.

Marc Chetta, Natural Science faculty, and a team of 12 students will minister with a Medical Missions Outreach missionary in Changuinola, Panama, to offer free medical care, vision care and dental care to approximately 2,000 people.

For security, details of the China and Turkey teams cannot be published.

In addition, six students will complete church or camp ministry internships across the U.S., and six cross-cultural service majors will complete mission internships with established missionaries in the U.S., Mexico, South America, Europe and Asia.

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Associate Deans Named to BJU Seminary and School of Religion

Dr. Neal CushmanDr. Neal Cushman

Dr. Kevin OberlinDr. Kevin Oberlin

Immediately following Commencement, Dr. Neal Cushman and Dr. Kevin Oberlin became associate dean of BJU Seminary and School of Religion, respectively.

Joining BJU in fall 2014, Dr. Cushman has served on the Seminary faculty and as director of special projects for both the Seminary and SOR. For 22 years, he served in a number of positions at Northland International University, including directing curriculum, directing the adjunct faculty and teaching graduate courses in ministry philosophy and missions.

He has 13 years of pastoral experience in Nova Scotia and Michigan and 12 years of experience as youth camp director. He has authored a number of articles and conference papers.

Dr. Cushman earned a BA (1980) and MA (1982) in Bible at BJU and a PhD in 2012 from Baptist Bible Seminary, now Clarks Summit University.

Dr. Kevin Oberlin served as associate professor in the School of Religion and BJU Seminary and global connections coordinator for the Center for Global Opportunities. He served for a year as dean of faculty at South India Baptist Bible College and Seminary, and also as adjunct online professor for Maranatha Baptist University, professor for Asian Baptist Bible College and instructor at Bob Jones Memorial Bible College in the Philippines.

He has served as visiting professor at three additional colleges in India, as well as colleges in Canada, Africa and Mexico. As leader of BJU’s Southeast Asia Mission Team and Europe Musical Mission Team, he has preached extensively in Southeast Asia and across Europe.

Dr. Oberlin holds a BA and MA in Bible and a PhD in Theology from BJU and a Master of Theology in Leadership and Intercultural Studies from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois. He is a candidate for a Doctor of Intercultural Studies at Grace Theological Seminary, Winona Lake, Indiana.

Oberlin succeeds Dr. Royce Short as SOR associate dean. Dr. Short retired from BJU in May 2018.

Dr. Cushman succeeds Dr. Steve Hankins as associate dean of BJU Seminary. Dr. Hankins requested to transition to a role which will allow him to return more fully to the ministry of the Word. Following Commencement, he became distinguished professor of New Testament and expository preaching. He will contribute to thought-leadership through writing, teach at the graduate level and represent the Seminary externally by teaching in ministries established by BJU graduates.

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2018 Vintage Dedicated to Rod McCarty

The 2018 yearbook staff dedicated the 2018 Vintage to Rod McCarty, BJU’s stage manager for 31 years. The staff recognizes McCarty for his faithful ministry to the faculty, staff and students. His dedicated work ethic and passion for disciple-making have fueled the mission of BJU and furthered the cause of Christ.

Originally from southern Georgia, McCarty came to BJU in 1982. During his student years, he served on the stage crew under the leadership of Mel Stratton and, after Stratton’s death, assumed the role of stage manager.

In that role, McCarty oversees the staging of Stratton Hall, War Memorial Chapel, Founder’s Memorial Amphitorium, Rodeheaver Auditorium and other venues for BJU events. He also leads the construction of stage sets and props, directs scene changes in Rodeheaver Auditorium productions, and has been involved with the execution of hundreds of University events.

Rod consistently endeavors to minister to students on a personal level and intentionally disciples the students who work on stage crew, modeling the traits he would like them to develop.

Dr. Gary Weier, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, describes Rod as “dedicated, passionate and godly.” He is dedicated in that “he is extremely faithful, reliable and focused on what he is called to do.” He is passionate in the way he fulfills his responsibilities. He never takes half measures, and his example motivates his crew to give their best effort. He is godly in his personal walk with God and in his interactions with students and staff.

McCarty earned a BA (1986) and an MA (1988) in Bible from BJU. He and his wife, Shelley, are active members of Morningside Baptist Church in Greenville, where he has served as a Sunday school teacher and chairman of the deacon board.

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BJU Announces Online RN to BSN Program

Nursing and pre-med students at BJU work with local hospitals as part of their educational experience, GHS, Greenville, SC, January 25, 2018. (Hal Cook)

In Aug. 2018, BJU will launch an online RN to BSN degree completion program, enabling registered nurses to complete a Bachelor of Science degree in as little as 16 months. Additional courses will roll out over the following months.

With six start dates per calendar year, the program offers RNs much flexibility for beginning the program. There is no resident component, and BJU will work with nurses to complete clinical requirements in their current location whenever possible.

“The students who enroll in this program already know how to be nurses,” says Kathryn Wampole, RN to BSN program coordinator. “But more and more hospital systems are looking for nurses with at least a bachelor’s degree to meet the growing needs of leadership and the demands of intercollaborative practice. Nurses with associate degrees are looking for degree completion programs so that they can keep their jobs or advance professionally.”

Degree candidates will take some BJU Core courses along with nursing courses covering topics such as professional role transition, research and statistics, Christian nursing, health assessment, community health, and leadership—all with a biblical worldview.

“We see this RN to BSN degree completion as serving constituents who desire to take their nursing knowledge to the next level, while strengthening their biblical worldview to serve patients within this complex medical environment,” says Kelly Crum, chair of BJU’s Division of Nursing.

For more information on the RN to BSN program, visit or call (864) 370-1800, ext. 8313. Registrations are still open for the August class.

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Science Ambassador to Represent BJU

Dr. George Matzko assists a student in Analytical Chemistry, BJU, Greenville, SC, April 11, 2017. (Hal Cook)

Dr. George Matzko, member of the BJU science faculty for 39 years, will represent the University’s science and engineering programs around the country starting this fall.

Dr. Matzko and his wife, Darlene, will travel in the western U.S. in fall 2018 and in the Midwest and East in spring 2019. They will conduct Bible/science seminars and Sunday services and speak in Christian schools and homeschool groups.

Dr. Matzko’s primary goals include:

  • Assisting pastors by speaking on Bible/science topics, answering scientific questions and refuting evolutionary positions, and
  • Challenging Christian students through the use of lectures and demonstrations in the classroom and chapel, stressing the importance of a high quality science education in the context of a biblical, young-earth-creation worldview.

“Our commitment at BJU to a literal six-day creation carries an essential message that it’s not science vs. Scripture,” says Matzko. “It is science in Scripture that glorifies our Lord Jesus Christ and honors Him as the Creator.”

Churches and schools that would welcome Dr. Matzko’s ministry may contact him at

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President Steve Pettit’s speaking schedule

June 1–2, Fri.–Sat.
Midwest Singles’ Retreat
Colonial Hills Baptist Church
Indianapolis, Ind.

June 5–17, Tues.–Sun.
Family Camp & Evangelistic Services
Grace Baptist Ministries

June 25–30, Mon.–Sat.
The WILDS of New England
Deering, N.H.

July 23–28, Mon.–Sat.
Camp Chetek
Chetek, Wis.

July 30–Aug. 4, Mon.–Sat.
Brevard, N.C.

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Dr. Sam Horn’s speaking schedule

May 23–24, Wed.–Thurs.
Baccalaureate and Graduation
Westwood Christian School
Miami, Fla.

May 26, Saturday
Dublin Christian Academy
Dublin, N.H.

May 27, Sunday
A.M. and P.M. services
Mountain View Bible Church
Dublin, N.H.

June 17, Sunday
A.M. service
Berean Baptist Church
Lilburn, Ga.

June 17, Sunday
P.M. service
Westside Baptist Church
Martinez, Ga.

June 18–29
Brevard, N.C.

June 24, Sunday
A.M. service
Iglesia Bautista Tabernaculo
Greenville, S.C.

July 1, Sunday
A.M. service
Merrimack Valley Baptist Church
Merrimack, N.H.

July 1, Sunday
P.M. service
Trinity Baptist Church
Concord, N.H.

July 2–13
The WILDS of New England
Deering, N.H.

July 8, Sunday
A.M. service
Farmington Avenue Baptist Church
Hartford, Conn.

July 8, Sunday
P.M. service
Emmanuel Baptist Church
Newington, Conn.

July 16–27
Brevard, N.C.

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BJU Journalism Students Place in National Film Competition

Three Bob Jones University journalism and mass communication students placed third in the Intercollegiate National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) 24 Hour Christian Vision (CV) News Challenge held at the 2018 NRB International Christian Media Convention in Nashville, Tennessee.

NRB presents awards to undergraduate or graduate student iNRB members for outstanding examples of radio, TV and film productions. The annual convention allows students to network with professionals in their fields and participate in workshops related to Christian media.

This year’s participants created a two to four minute news segment within a 24-hour time frame featuring a story taking place at the convention. The BJU team covered the story of school safety, and for their work received a $250 prize.

Allyse YorgeyAllyse Yorgey

Brooke SmithBrooke Smith

Charles BilliuCharles Billiu

BJU’s team consisted of senior Allyse Yorgey of Salisbury, Maryland; senior Brooke Smith of Anderson, South Carolina; and junior Charles Billiu of South Bend, Indiana.

BJU competed against teams from numerous other colleges and universities including the University of Northwestern St. Paul, Louisiana College, Hannibal- LaGrange University, Southwestern Assemblies of God University, Colorado Christian University and North Greenville University.

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BJU Offering Over 50 Summer Camps

Shakespeare Camp, July 20, 2017 (BJU Marketing/Derek Eckenroth)

BJU is accepting applications for over 50 summer EDUcamps, both academic and athletic, which will be held on the BJU campus during June and July.

In addition to camps in theatre, music, media, science, criminal justice, culinary arts and leadership, new camps are available this year in crossmedia storytelling, astronomy, entrepreneurship, health sciences, bug biodiversity, nursing and an education camp called iTeach.

BJU is also offering new sports camps in golf as well as camps in soccer, basketball, volleyball, cross country running, shooting sports and sports management.

All EDUcamps are directed by BJU faculty, staff and students and are offered for a variety of ages and skill levels with options for both day and overnight campers.

Visit for a complete list of camps, dates, cost and options available this summer at BJU.

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Exercise Science Students Participate in Academic Bowl

Leanne Gibbs, Benjamin Sarracino and Rachel Sutton participated in the Southeast regional chapter of the American College of Sport Medicine’s (SEACSM) Academic Bowl under the sponsorship of faculty members Stephen Chen and Vickie Britton.

The Exercise Science program recently sent its first team to the Southeast regional chapter of the American College of Sport Medicine’s (SEACSM) Academic Bowl. The competition, held in Chattanooga, Tennessee, is a highlight of the SEACSM’s annual research conference. SEACSM is one of the 12 regional chapters of the American College of Sports Medicine. The chapter’s goal is to disseminate scientific information, provide stimulation, support and a forum for clinical and scientific research and foster professional peer interaction and professional development.

BJU seniors Leanne Gibbs (Oliver Springs, Tennessee), Benjamin Sarracino (New Laguna, New Mexico) and Rachel Sutton (Bluffton, South Carolina) participated in the contest under the sponsorship of faculty members Stephen Chen and Vickie Britton. They finished 12th out of 33, ahead of teams from the University of South Carolina, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech.

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The Collegian Staff Wins Press Awards

At its Collegiate Annual News Contest at Winthrop University April 20, the South Carolina Press Association (SCPA) recognized several staff members of BJU’s student newspaper, The Collegian, with awards.

“This year’s staff worked hard to inform the university family about events both on and off campus,” said Betty Solomon, faculty advisor for The Collegian. “It’s rewarding when they are also recognized by those who judge the quality of collegiate journalism across the state.”

In addition, The Collegian Staff won second place in the General Excellence category and Ian Dyke, a junior Education major, received the $3,000 Mundy Scholarship for his work as editor.

The SCPA Collegiate News Contest recognizes the best in South Carolina collegiate journalism. Collegiate staff members compete against other colleges and universities in 21 categories, including writing, design, photography and illustration.

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BJU Launching New and Updated Music Programs

Violin lesson available at BJA, Greenville, SC, April 18, 2018. (Hal Cook)

BJU’s Division of Music will launch four new degrees beginning this fall including a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science in Music, Bachelor of Science in Music and Church Ministries, Bachelor of Music Education and a Bachelor of Music in Composition.

Existing programs in performance are also being updated to include additional credits in applied music study, new experiential learning internships in the community, and a seminar focused on developing entrepreneurial skills and mindset for the 21st-century musician.

Dr. Michael Moore who will become Chair of the Division of Music this summer anticipates the new Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees will be attractive to students who show strong potential in music but are also interested in business, communications, arts administration, health sciences or ministry careers.

“The new music degree programs feature our strong BJU Core and a flexible music curriculum that together reflect the demands of the current workforce, economy and ministry models,” Moore said. “Students and employers both recognize that the creativity and soft skills associated with music study bring unique value to an employee’s effectiveness in any field. These programs are a great platform for the student interested in music along with other disciplines.”

“The new Bachelor of Science degree in Music and Church Ministries is a great fit for students wanting to develop and implement a solid foundation of essential musicianship skills in a variety of ministry-related contexts,” said Dr. Fred Coleman, head of BJU’s Department of Church Music. The flexible program allows students to integrate their music training with Bible, pastoral ministry, worship, women’s ministries, youth ministry, Christian counseling or cross-cultural studies.

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Graphic Design Students Win AAF Awards

The American Advertising Federation (AAF) Greenville recently presented awards to 13 BJU graphic design students.

The American Advertising Awards Competition is a three-tiered national competition conducted annually by AAF and is the largest and most representative competition for both professional and student creative excellence in the advertising industry.

The BJU students receiving AAF awards include:

“It is exciting and rewarding to see our current students and graduates recognized for their excellence in design and advertising,” says Jay Bopp, associate professor and chair of BJU’s Division of Art and Design. “We count it a privilege to work with such talented and dedicated students, and their success in school and beyond provide confirmation that we’re on the right track.”

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