President’s Newsletter — November 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

This semester our Bible and seminary faculty are preaching a series of chapel messages on each statement in our BJU creed. Our objective is for every student to clearly understand the meaning and importance of each doctrine the creed mentions.

I believe in the inspiration of the Bible (both the Old and the New Testaments); the creation of man by the direct act of God; the incarnation and virgin birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ; His identification as the Son of God; His vicarious atonement for the sins of mankind by the shedding of His blood on the cross; the resurrection of His body from the tomb; His power to save men from sin; the new birth through the regeneration by the Holy Spirit; and the gift of eternal life by the grace of God. – BJU Creed

Our BJU creed is foundational to who we are and what we do. It confirms our identity as believers and delineates our core beliefs—the biblical doctrines essential to salvation.

Our founder, Dr. Bob Jones Sr., believed that if we have a sound creed that cannot be changed, BJU will stay true to the Christian faith and not doctrinally compromise or fall into error.

As a university community, we affirm the creed in each chapel service—four times a week.

We affirm the creed for the sake of permanence. We live in a day when everything is changing. Truth, however, is changeless. The truths in our creed are found in the Word of God and are permanent. They are essential to the faith and necessary for salvation. As a University, we will continue to be inflexible in our stand for these truths.

We affirm the creed for the sake of unity. The truths in the creed are truths that can unite. They are truths upon which all Bible-believing Christians can agree. Regardless of the multiple denominational backgrounds in our university community, these truths unite our faculty, staff, and students.

As president, I am committed to maintaining absolute fidelity to our creed.

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BJU Engineering Department Awarded Autonomous Vehicle Research Grant

Great Lakes Systems and Technology, LLC (GLS&T) has awarded BJU’s engineering department a $75,000 grant for autonomous vehicle research and development.

GLS&T is a government contractor working with TARDEC, the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center. Grant recipients will use TARDEC-developed software to run their autonomous vehicles.

GLS&T is the primary sponsor of the annual Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. BJU has participated in IGVC many times over the last 14 years. GLS&T asked BJU to apply for the grant based on our engineering department’s long-standing relationship with IGVC and BJU’s strong results in the competitions over the years.

Only four other universities were awarded autonomous vehicle research grants.

BJU will use the grant for equipment and supplies to upgrade the Bruin 2 vehicle sensors and systems, cover travel expenses for taking Bruin 2 to the IGVC competition in June and hire two computer science student employees as research assistants. Grant monies are also covering one-quarter of a science professor’s salary, allowing him to spend more time working with students on the vehicle project.

Bruin 2 vehicle research and development will function as the capstone project for senior engineering students taking Mechatronics this fall. The final check will take place in early December, which will be followed by a required on-campus demonstration of the vehicle as part of the official reporting for the grant. Stage 2 of the grant will be the vehicle demonstration at IGVC in June.

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BJU Launches Teachers for Tomorrow Program

To encourage high school students to consider teaching as a vocational ministry, BJU’s School of Education launched a pilot program this year called Teachers for Tomorrow in partnership with 20 Christian schools across the country. Currently 62 high school juniors and seniors are enrolled in the program.

Over the last several years, university teacher prep program enrollment has dropped approximately 35 percent nationwide. Teacher shortages in BJU’s home state of South Carolina have reached crisis levels. Teachers for Tomorrow can help address the educator shortage by encouraging Christian high school students to view teaching not just as a job but also as a way to impact multiple generations for Christ.

Teachers for Tomorrow is a two-semester elective with two components—an online curriculum through the School of Education and field experience in the student’s school. Students who complete the Teachers for Tomorrow program are eligible to receive college credit for BJU’s Introduction to Education course.

The online curriculum portion consists of weekly 30- to 40-minute presentations from Christian teachers on various topics after which students complete a quiz and an application activity.

The field experience includes 3–4 hours each week as a teacher’s aide in the student’s Christian school. Each partner school has one mentor teacher and a number of teachers with whom students can work as an aide. Students are able to try several different grade levels and subject areas as part of their field experience work.

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U.S. News & World Report Ranks BJU

In its 2019 Best Colleges Rankings, U.S. News & World Report recognized Bob Jones University as one of the Best Regional Universities and as the fourth Best Value Regional University in the South.

“I’m pleased U.S. News & World Report recognized Bob Jones University once again as one of the top regional universities in the South—and as the fourth in our region for offering best value,” said BJU President Steve Pettit. “We have significant momentum in our rankings, rising this year from 61st to 34th in top regional universities and from seventh to fourth in best value regional university.”

Among the Best Regional Universities in the South rankings, six private Christian colleges in South Carolina were ranked including BJU, Columbia International University, Anderson University, North Greenville University, Charleston Southern University and Southern Wesleyan University.

Five South Carolina universities were ranked in the top 20 Best Value Regional Universities in the South including Coastal Carolina University (2), BJU (4), Converse College (9), The Citadel (11) and Columbia College (18).

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President Pettit Appoints Two New Executives

President Steve Pettit has appointed Alan Benson, formerly of Streamwood, Illinois, vice president for student development and discipleship.

Benson will oversee key functions that impact the overall BJU student experience such as student discipleship, student leadership, student activities and organizations, residence hall life, student conduct, and student care, including counseling and physical health.

“I intend this to be a transformative position,” said Pettit. “We will retain our biblical positions, commitment to conservative lifestyle, emphasis on character development, and the nurturing of a spiritually edifying campus atmosphere. The vice president will work to carry out my vision for students. This involves transforming the student experience at BJU.”

Benson comes to the University with 25 years of pastoral experience in Florida, North Carolina, and Illinois, the most recent at Bethel Baptist Church in Schaumburg, Illinois.

“Alan will be a strong addition to our executive team here at BJU,” said Pettit. “He has earned a reputation for transformative leadership. He has a strong understanding of biblical discipleship and a recognized passion for college students. I believe he will significantly enhance the experience of our students during their years at BJU.”

Benson earned a BA in Bible at Bob Jones University in 1992, a Master of Divinity from Louisiana Baptist Theological Seminary in 2011 and is a Doctor of Ministry candidate at BJU Seminary.

President Pettit also recently announced the appointment of Steve Dickinson as chief financial officer. Dickinson will succeed Ken Still who will retire after a transition period.

Dickinson, who most recently served as chief financial officer for BJU Education Group, is assuming the primary day-to-day responsibility for system oversight and monitoring of all financial and risk management operations of Bob Jones University and will oversee BJU’s Financial Services, Human Resources, Facilities Management and IT operations.

Dickinson earned a BS in accounting from BJU in 1988. He spent two years with an accounting firm before joining the InterContinental Hotels Group where he spent 16 years, the last three of which as vice president of global financial reporting.

For five years, he worked in England as he moved the Hotels Group’s Financial Reporting Group from Atlanta, Georgia, to Burton-upon-Trent. His international experience also includes two years in China helping to develop the market for BJU Press in China and Southeast Asia.

“Steve’s invaluable experience managing the finances for the BJU Education Group will ensure a seamless transition into this new role,” said BJU President Steve Pettit. “He understands BJU’s unique culture and will provide continuity as we look to the future.”

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BJU Places First in Programming Contest

The BJU intercollegiate computer programming teams placed 1st, 5th and 15th in the annual programming contest at the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges (CCSC) Southeastern Region conference Nov. 3, at Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia.

BJU fielded three teams in the 21-team competition. Students had three hours to solve the contest problem set consisting of nine problems. Nathan Collins and Sam Henry (BJU Team A) solved all nine problems and finished first. The team of Zac Hayes, Ryan Longacre, and Jeremiah England (BJU Team B) finished fifth, solving five problems.

The conference provides an affordable regional forum for the exchange of ideas and information concerning computing and computing curricula.

“The computer science department at BJU prepares students to be competitive and excel in their fields. The set of problems this year was challenging and our teams have worked hard in preparation for this contest,” said Dr. Jim Knisely, head of BJU’s Department of Computer Science. “We are immensely proud of our team’s performance.”

In addition to BJU, Berry College, Furman University, Davidson College, Roanoke College, the University of North Carolina at Asheville, Mercer University, Lander University, Wofford College, Georgia Gwinnett College, Georgia College and State University, Elon University and Gardner-Webb University participated in the competition.

BJU team members include senior Nathan Collins of Taylors, South Carolina; senior Sam Henry of McDonough, Georgia; junior Zachary Hayes of Grovetown, Georgia; junior Ryan Longacre of Hallstead, Pennsylvania; junior Jeremiah England of Anchorage, Alaska; junior Noah Mansfield of Piedmont, South Carolina; junior Taylor Shuler of Roanoke, Virginia; and sophomore Steven Platt of Carmel, Indiana.

BJU has competed in the CCSC competition since 2002, placing 1st four times and 2nd seven times.

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Intercollegiate Teams Participate in National Tournaments

For the second year, BJU hosted the NCCAA Dll national championships for men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball Nov. 14–17.

BJU’s women’s volleyball team won its first national championship, defeating 3-time defending national champions, Maranatha Baptist University, and finishing the tournament 15–3 in sets.

In their national championship game, the Bruins women’s soccer team lost a heartbreaker to Grace Christian University 2–1. The men’s soccer team fell to #4 seeded Pensacola Christian College 3–1 in their opening pool play match and then to #1 seeded North Central University who won the national championship.

Nov. 10, men’s and women’s cross country entered the NCCAA Dll national championship in Point Lookout, Missouri. The men’s team earned their 3rd straight national championship and the women’s team placed 3rd.

In late October, BJU’s golf team received an at-large bid in their national tournament in Palm Coast, Florida. With an outstanding performance in the final round, senior Tyler Smith, business administration major from Greer, South Carolina, finished in 4th place, becoming the first Bruins golfer to earn all-American honors.

The NCCAA named fifteen Bob Jones University Bruins volleyball and soccer players to the 2018 Scholar-Athlete teams for Division II. The Bruins also had two golfers and ten cross country runners earn the academic honor for a total of 25 BJU student-athletes for the fall season. The recognition is given to student-athletes who maintain at least a 3.40 GPA and are a junior, senior or graduate student.

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BJU Presents Lifetime Achievement Award

BJU celebrates the life and ministry of Ron Hamilton (“Patch the Pirate”) during Homecoming kickoff chapel, Oct. 11, 2018. Photo by Derek Eckenroth

Homecoming 2018 kicked off Oct. 11 with a student-developed chapel honoring alumnus Ron Hamilton, BA in sacred music in 1973 and MA in 1975.

President Steve Pettit and Vice President for Advancement and Alumni Relations John Matthews presented Ron BJU’s first Lifetime Achievement Award jointly from the University and Alumni Relations.

The citation read: Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Ron Hamilton in recognition of his leadership in Christian music and 40 years of faithful, loving ministry to children and families around the globe as singer, songwriter, composer, preacher, teacher, author and the beloved “Patch the Pirate.”

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BJU Grad Named to Key United Nations Position

Cherith Norman Chalet, a 1998 Bob Jones University alumna, recently assumed the role of Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations for U.N. Management and Reform with the rank of Ambassador. Chalet will also serve as the alternative representative to the General Assembly of the United Nations.

“We are proud of Cherith’s vital work providing oversight and seeking reform at the United Nations,” said BJU President Steve Pettit. “Her commitment to public service is admirable and we trust that she will continue to excel as she takes on the role of Ambassador.”

After graduating from BJU, Chalet worked for South Carolina congressman Jim DeMint. From 2008 to 2011, she served as special advisor to the United Nations and senior advisor to the Bureau of Legislative Affairs at the State Department in Washington, D.C. Chalet later served as the U.N. Management and Reform Counselor.

Chalet, a resident of New Jersey, was nominated by President Donald Trump on May 21 and confirmed by the United States Senate on Sept. 12. She was officially sworn in by United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Oct. 15.

At her swearing in ceremony, Chalet pledged to continue “being the watchdog of American taxpayer dollars and ensuring that the United Nations lives up to its purpose and manages the best way to bring peace and security, defend human rights and enable development in the world’s neediest countries.”

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Patron of the Arts Launched

Bob Jones University believes that exposing every student to the rich experiences of the fine arts equips them for a well-rounded life of work and ministry. BJU’s cultural programs are an integral part of the BJU brand. To help continue those opportunities for today’s students, BJU’s Advancement team, in coordination with the School of Fine Arts and Communication, has launched a new giving opportunity—Patron of the Arts.

Graduates say that their experiences of playing, speaking, singing and performing in choral and instrumental groups or plays and operas taught them valuable lessons that helped shape them into who they are today. Those experiences went beyond gaining knowledge in a single field of study to developing the whole person.

Patron of the Arts is designed to help underwrite BJU’s performing arts programs and provide current students the cultural experiences graduates have come to appreciate.

For more information, visit

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BJU ROTC Students Recognized

In a Veteran’s Day chapel, Nov. 12, Lt. Col. Ryan Forshee, professor of Military Science at Furman University, conducted a contracting ceremony and scholarship presentation for five BJU students enrolled in Furman’s Army ROTC program.

With other area colleges, BJU is a crosstown partner in Furman’s Army ROTC program and Clemson University’s Air Force ROTC program.

Three cadets were contracted: Joshua Bakr, a junior physics major from Countryside, Illinois.; Caleb Davis, a junior sport management major from Greenville, South Carolina; and Daniel Sherwin, a sophomore mathematics education major from Bolingbrook, Illinois. A contracted cadet has met all requirements—including physical and academic—and has committed to becoming a commissioned officer in either the Army, Army Reserve or State Army National Guard.

Lt. Col. Forshee presented scholarships to Jonathan Curtis, freshman accounting major from Indianapolis, Indiana; and Samuel Hadley, freshman criminal justice major from Paris, Texas. Each was presented a three-year scholarship for their undergraduate studies.

The ceremony included a video greeting from U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, who—with others in the South Carolina Congressional delegation—was instrumental in helping BJU secure approval to offer ROTC.

These cadets are the first to be contracted and awarded scholarships since BJU began ROTC this fall.

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Study Abroad Opportunities Available

BJU is enhancing its study abroad opportunities through which students earn academic credit. Four opportunities are open for summer 2019—Communication Studies in the United Kingdom, History in Paris, French language in France and Spanish language in Spain. Each is conducted by an onsite BJU professor.

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BJU Adds New Academic Majors

Bob Jones University constantly strives to stay current, responding to market demand and offering programs that students want and that will prepare them for jobs that will be available when they graduate.

At its October meeting, the BJU Board of Trustees approved three new academic majors. Pending accreditor approval, these programs will be offered beginning in the fall 2019.

The associate of arts in liberal arts creates a flexible but clear pathway for undecided or underprepared students to start college and finish this degree or transition to another degree program. It also presents a potential opportunity for students to complete an associate’s degree while in high school.

The BS in child development focuses on the study of the growth and development of children in relation to the family, school, and community and is designed for students seeking careers outside traditional school settings.

Finally, the BS in professional studies is an interdisciplinary-based, online degree completion program for adult learners—former BJU students and non-BJU students—with existing college credit desiring to complete a bachelor’s degree. It will be available in January 2019.

Professional studies is an interdisciplinary program in which students combine previously earned coursework with courses in their major, BJU Degree Completion Core and concentrations. Possible combinations intersect with many professions and careers, including business, communication, education, ministry, humanities, and many other possible combinations.

For information on all BJU academic programs, visit

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BJU Students Awarded Key Positions at South Carolina Student Legislature

Several members of the Bob Jones University delegation to the South Carolina Student Legislature (SCSL) were named to key positions during the fall session at the end of October in Columbia, South Carolina.

Bradley Shepard, a senior business administration major and the outgoing governor, was awarded SCSL’s highest award, The Carlisle Award, named in honor of SCSL’s founder, Dr. Douglas Carlisle and presented to the delegate who best represents the ideals of the SCSL.

Joshua Casillas, a senior business administration major, was elected Speaker of the House. Nathan Swaim, a sophomore business administration major, was appointed treasurer by the incoming governor.

BJU’s delegation was comprised of Victoria Sanders of Dillsburg, Pennsylvania; Rebekah Anderson of Grayson, Georgia; Joey Kauffman of Ocala, Florida; Bradley Shepard of East Hartford, Connecticut; Joshua Casillas of Greer, South Carolina; Nathan Swaim of Lexington, North Carolina; and Michael Pettit, Carter Henderson and Judah Smith, all from Greenville, South Carolina.

“I’m pleased with how well our students did at SCSL,” said Randy Page, BJU’s chief of staff and advisor to the BJU delegation. “It’s quite an honor to be recognized with awards and being elected to key roles in the organization.”

In addition to BJU, a number of public and private institutions of higher learning participate in SCSL including The Citadel, Charleston Southern University, Clemson University, Coastal Carolina University, College of Charleston, Erskine College, Francis Marion University and the University of South Carolina.

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Bob Jones Academy Student Wins National Music Competition

Bryn Carrier, a senior at Bob Jones Academy, has been selected as the winner of the John Philip Sousa National Young Artists Solo Competition for High School Band Instrumentalists.

The John Philip Sousa NYASC is a national competition that serves to identify, recognize, and honor outstanding high school musicians who demonstrate a significantly high standard of excellence in performance. Applications from students who play a wind or percussion instrument include the submission of a solo performance for critique and adjudication from a national panel of musicians and educators. The competition winner is given an opportunity to perform as a soloist with a university or military band and, if the winner enters college as a music major, a $1,000 scholarship, sponsored by Jupiter Band Instruments.

In commenting on Carrier’s performance, Dr. Nicole Gross of Auburn University, Coordinating Chair for the NYASC said, “The 2018 group of applications and performance recordings were among some of the strongest received over the history of this competition. Your musicianship is a testament to your hard work and dedication.”

Carrier plays in the Greenville County Youth Orchestra (GCYO) and has served as the principal oboist for the Philharmonic Orchestra and the Young Artist Orchestra for four years. In 2017, she won the 2017 Clemson University Young Artist Concerto Competition. Carrier has also participated in BJA’s band program throughout her education and is a member of the BJA Symphony Orchestra.

Carrier, a resident of Greer, South Carolina, will perform Mozart’s Concerto for Oboe in C, K. 314 as a soloist in the spring of 2019 with the United States Army Field Band as part of their Northeast Spring Tour.

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President Steve Pettit’s Speaking Schedule

Jan. 20, Sunday a.m. service
Liberty Bible Church
Eureka. Ill.

Jan. 20, Sunday p.m. service
Greencastle Bible Church
Carroll, Ohio

Jan. 27, Sunday a.m. service
Victory Baptist Church
Jacksonville, Fla.

Jan. 27, Sunday p.m. service
Calvary Baptist Church
Smyrna, Ga.

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Dr. Sam Horn’s Speaking Schedule

Dec. 9, Sunday a.m. service
Southern View Chapel
Springfield, Ill.

Dec. 9, Sunday p.m. service
Harmony Baptist Church
Galesburg, Ill.

Jan. 1–4, Tues.–Fri.
Harvest Baptist Bible College
Barrigada, Guam

Jan. 13, Sunday, a.m. service
Yates Thagard Baptist Church
Carthage, N.C.

Jan. 27, Sunday a.m. service
Calvary Baptist Church
Midland, Mich.

Feb. 3, Sunday a.m. service
Killian Hill Baptist Church
Lilburn, Ga.

Feb. 3, Sunday p.m. service
Calvary Baptist Church
Hampton, Ga.

Feb. 7–8, Thur.–Fri.
MAACS Educator’s Conference
Tri-City Baptist Church
Kansas City, Mo.

Feb. 15–16, Fri.–Sat.
First Baptist Couples Retreat
Crown Plaza
Indianapolis, Ind.

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