President’s Newsletter — September 2019

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

On June 2, Bob Jones University lost a beloved faculty member, Dr. Ron Horton, who for 59 years taught English and philosophy and wrote textbooks on literature and grammar and pamphlets describing and defending the values that underlie and shape the philosophy of BJU.

As I opened this academic year with the faculty and staff, I shared with them the distinctives of BJU as described by Dr. Horton in 2006. According to Dr. Horton, BJU’s distinctives are rooted in the opening statements of the institution’s charter.

It begins this way: “The general nature and object of the corporation shall be to conduct an institution of learning for the general education of youth in the essentials of culture and the arts and sciences, giving special emphasis to the Christian religion and the ethics revealed in the Holy Scriptures.”

Here we have the educational purpose of the institution—the general education of youth—followed by the educational means—the essentials of culture and the arts and sciences—and then the governing spiritual emphases.

The governing spiritual emphases are those of all genuine evangelical institutions and particularly of fundamentalist institutions. But it is what precedes them in the statement that distinguishes Bob Jones University from Bible colleges and from other liberal art institutions. It is our emphasis on the liberal arts and culture.

Our founder, Dr. Bob Jones Sr., believed the general education of youth was primary and the preparation for service would naturally follow.

Based on this, Dr. Horton defined the first distinctive as the improvement of the student for its own sake. Our founder insisted God is interested in what a person is apart from what he can do, and that the improvement of the person is the primary thing.

Dr. Horton explained that this primary distinctive is followed by four others:

  1. A practical spirituality—You show your spirituality by taking care of what God has told you to do, and that includes the mundane matters of life.
  2. Discipline—Character includes the ability to live according to self-imposed rules and standards.
  3. The quality of balance—Balance implies the mature understanding of what is necessary and unnecessary, what calls us to take or not to take a stand.
  4. A commitment to excellence—BJU has a distinctive reputation for quality and excellence.

So why do we at BJU do what we do—to empower people to reach their highest potential for God’s glory. This has been the mission of BJU for 92 years. As the current president, I will continue to fulfill the purpose for which God brought Bob Jones University into existence.

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BJU Ranked by U.S. News & World Report

US News & World Report value icon

In its 2020 Best Colleges Rankings, U.S. News & World Report—regarded as the gold standard in college rankings—recognized Bob Jones University as one of the Best Regional Universities and as the sixth Best Value Regional University in the South.

In determining the overall Best Regional Universities ranking, U.S. News & World Report considers criteria such as first year retention rate, graduation rate, class size, student to faculty ratio, first-year student ranking in their high school class, peer evaluation by other colleges and alumni giving rate.

The Best Value ranking is a measure of both academic quality and cost.

New in the ranking categories this year, Social Mobility recognizes graduation rates of students awarded federal Pell Grants. BJU was recognized as the seventh top performer in Social Mobility among Regional Universities in the South.

In a fourth category, U.S. News & World Report recognized Bob Jones University as having the fifth lowest debt load for its graduates among Regional Universities in the South. Only about 35% of our alumni graduate with debt, and on average that debt is lower than $18,000.

These rankings underscore the value and affordability of a BJU education and reflect the high caliber of our faculty and students. BJU remains committed to providing an outstanding Christian liberal arts education that’s affordable and prepares graduates for success professionally and personally.

See Also: BJU Ranked by U.S. News & World Report  

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BJU Offers Online Degree Completion

Non-traditional student working on online course

BJU’s School of Continuing, Online and Professional Education (SCOPE) has launched a highly flexible degree completion program in which adults with at least 45 college credits can complete a bachelor’s degree online or through a combination of online and residence courses.

BJU’s BS in Professional Studies is ideal for adults who want to complete a degree as a means of career or ministry advancement. In fact, the degree can be customized to an individual’s unique career or ministry interests.

Here’s how it works. A total of 120 credit hours are required, including six 3-hour courses listed on the SCOPE website. In addition, the individual selects two 18-hour concentrations: Business, Educational Studies, Liberal Arts, Marketing, Biblical/Ministerial Studies or Social Science. Electives on a variety of topics round out the program. The number of electives an individual requires will depend on the number of prior credits transferred into the program.

Some degree completion candidates may be eligible for financial aid.

The next start date for the program is Oct. 21. For more information and to apply for the program visit

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Homecoming and Family Weekend Set for Oct. 10–12

BJU’s annual Homecoming and Family Weekend, Oct. 10–12, features a special homecoming concert Thursday at 7:30 p.m., highlighting the book Panosian and the Providence of His Story: Remembering the Armenian Genocide (1915 – 1920) and celebrating the life of BJU’s beloved history professor Dr. Edward Panosian. The concert will feature Armenian singer-songwriter Mariam Matossian accompanied by the BJU Symphony Orchestra conducted by Dr. Michael Moore. Following the event, Dr. Panosian and the book’s author, Chris Anderson, will sign copies of the book and audiobook available for purchase in the FMA lobby.

Homecoming officially kicks off at 11 a.m., Friday, Oct. 11, in Founder’s Memorial Amphitorium when the University will honor alumni who have gained prominence in their fields and are using their BJU education to do great things for the Lord.

Other events on Friday include a Faculty and Alumni Reconnect reception from 3–5 p.m. at the hospitality tent on Gallery Green and the Gingery-Mack Scholarship Concert in War Memorial Chapel. Guest artists Philip Gingery and Christa Gingery Habegger will present “Songs My Father Taught Me” at 4 p.m.

The popular U.Day will return on Saturday with the Educational Street Fair from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The Street Fair will include dozens of interactive booths for children and athletic competitions for teens. The hospitality tent will open at 11 a.m. for Executive Scoop where guests may visit with BJU administrators while enjoying ice cream.

At 1 p.m. Artios Academies of Greenville will present an adaptation of J.M. Barrie’s timeless Peter Pan or the Boy Who Would Never Grow Up in Rodeheaver Auditorium. The performance is underwritten by BJU, and tickets are available for $5 per family.

Other events on the Homecoming schedule include a golf fellowship, a 40+ Years Reunion Dinner, Young Alumni and Homecoming Reunion festivals, the Bruin Nation Talent show, the M&G Maker’s Market, intercollegiate soccer and volleyball games, the Bruin BBQ Bash, and so much more.

Visit to review the full schedule of events and register today.

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Ken Ham Discusses Creation at BJU Teen Conference

Ken Ham

Ken Ham, founder and CEO of Answers in Genesis, is the keynote speaker at BJU’s annual STAND Conference for teens and their families Sept. 24. One of the foremost experts on the Genesis account of creation, Ham will present the case for a biblical and scientific view of Creation.

The four sessions with Ken Ham include: The Bible, Science and Christian Worldview, Part One; The Bible, Science and Christian Worldview, Part Two; Trends in Christian Higher Education (Ken Ham and BJU President Steve Pettit); and Science, Apologetics and the Relevance of Genesis.

Following the conference, the sessions will be available in the BJU webcast archives.


See Also: STAND Conference: A Biblical View of Science

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President Steve Pettit’s Speaking Schedule

Sept. 22, Sunday a.m. service
Grace Baptist Church
Muncie, Ind.

Sept. 22, Sunday p.m. service
Grace Baptist Church
Anderson, Ind.

Sept. 24, Tues., 1 p.m.
Bob Jones University
STAND Conference with Ken Ham

Sept. 29, Sunday p.m. service
Harvest Baptist Church
Rock Hill, S.C.

Oct. 6, Sunday a.m. service
Anchor Baptist Church
Little River, S.C.

Oct. 6, Sunday p.m. service
Roper Mountain Baptist Church
Greenville, S.C.

Oct. 12., Sat., 9 a.m.
Here We Stand Conference
Second Presbyterian Church
Greenville, S.C.

Oct. 13, Sunday a.m. service
First Baptist Church
Gallipolis, Ohio

Oct. 13, Sunday p.m. service
Grace Gospel Church – Concert
Barboursville, W.Va.

Oct. 20, Sunday a.m. service
Bible Baptist Church
Howell, Mich.

Oct. 20, Sunday p.m. service
First Baptist Church of Troy
Troy, Mich.

Oct. 27, Sunday a.m. and p.m. services
Lebanon Baptist Church
Roswell, Ga.

Nov. 3, Sunday a.m. service
Whitneyville Bible Church
Alto, Mich.

Nov. 3, Sunday p.m. service
Lifeway Baptist Church
Ellettsville, Ind.

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BJU Creates New Student Hang-out

A goal of Alan Benson, BJU’s vice president for Student Development and Discipleship, is to create spaces around campus where students can relax, have fun or just “hang out.” The first of these spaces was finished this summer in the area of The Den formerly devoted to the Bruins Shop which moved to the front corner. The new space contains various video and other games along with a 98-inch TV for watching sports and other events.

See Also: Den Expansion Ready for Students

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Pizza with the President

BJU invites teens to a night of pizza with President Pettit, door prizes and games plus opportunities to win a $1,000 scholarship, EDUCamp scholarships and Bruins gear. Parents are invited. For information and to register, visit, email Executive Events or call (864) 242-5100, ext. 1151.

Sept. 30 (Monday), 7 p.m.
Trinity Christian School
80 Clinton Street
Concord, N.H.

Oct. 7 (Monday), 7 p.m.
Fourth Baptist Church
900 Forestview Lane N
Plymouth, Minn.

Oct. 28 (Monday), 7 p.m.
Upper Bucks Christian School
754 E Rockhill Road
Sellersville, Pa.

Nov. 4 (Monday), 7 p.m.
Brookside Baptist Church
4470 Pilgrim Road
Brookfield, Wis.

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BJU Commemorates 9/11

On the eighteenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, BJU commemorated the lives lost in the 2001 attacks with a display of 2,977 American flags at the front of campus—one for each of the victims from 115 countries. In addition, a replica of the World Trade Center Cross—a 17-foot crossbeam which became one of the most recognizable symbols found in the wreckage of Ground Zero—was featured at the Wade Hampton entrance to campus. The Greenville area public also was invited to view a piece of steel girder from the North Tower of the World Trade Center in the lobby of the Welcome Center. The displays assembled by students Sept. 5 remained in place through the morning of Sept. 12.

See Also: 18 Years Later, New Generation Reflects on 9/11

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BJU’s School of Education Expands Non-licensure Programs

While BJU continues to offer a broad range of state-accredited teacher preparation programs to prepare students to gain state licensure to teach in PK -12 public and private schools, BJU’s School of Education also offers education degrees to students who want to serve children and families in community-based occupations which do not require teacher licensure. These education and para-education positions are available in places such as private and public preschools, children’s museums, youth theater and recreation, and in government social service and non-profit organizations.

Within the School of Education, the Educational, Child and Family Studies Division, offers a relatively new interdisciplinary approach to education-focused degree programs that allows students to customize their programs of study to address their vocational and/or ministry interests and provide more specific preparation for education-related careers that do not require teacher licensure. Programs in this division have multiple field experiences that enhance program customization, which is particularly attractive to today’s ministry-minded, entrepreneurial students.

Today’s students are highly motivated to serve communities and meet needs in innovative ways. A key BJU goal is to help these education students focus their specific interests and grow their specific expertise. Freshmen in Educational Studies, for example, select an area of interest which they narrow as sophomores. In their junior year, they work with a faculty advisor to determine an internship and outline how they will use the internship to achieve their goals. Before they proceed to their capstone year, an interdisciplinary committee validates their plans. As they execute their capstone experience, students document their project—almost as they would a thesis—as a means of sharing their research and results with potential employers.

The Educational, Child and Family Studies faculty works with experts in the field along with prospective employers to help define education requirements and program outcomes for specific types of jobs. For example, a 2009 elementary education graduate who runs her own highly successful early intervention agency has helped outline the BS in Child Development program with an Early Intervention concentration. This program, which began this fall, will enable students to serve alongside BJU alumni in her agency and provide opportunities for practical preparation for students and continuous review for improvement of our program.

For more information on BJU School of Education programs which prepare students for careers outside classroom teaching, visit

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Classrooms Updated in Alumni Building

This past summer, BJU upgraded two key classrooms in the Alumni Building to better accommodate how today’s student learn and today’s faculty teach. With trapezoidal tables and several large monitors, Alumni 210 is designed for collaborative learning and small group projects. Alumni 110 is a more traditional classroom designed to shorten the distance between students and professor. It can accommodate 76 students. Faculty were heavily involved in room design and selected both furniture and technology. These rooms are prototypes of upgrades planned for many of the rooms in the Alumni Building over the next several years.

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BJU Cinema Department Produces Award-Winning Traffic Safety Presentation

SCDP first place

The BJU Cinema Department recently collaborated with the South Carolina Highway Patrol Community Relations Office to produce a traffic safety video that was awarded first place at the Uniformed Safety Officers Workshop in San Antonio, Texas, in June. The group is comprised of highway patrols from 22 states and Canada.

At the request of the South Carolina Highway Patrol (SCHP), BJU students and faculty wrote, directed and produced “The Legacy,” illustrating SCHP’s theme of drunk driving prevention. Telling the fictional story of a newly engaged couple whose futures are irreparably altered by the decision to drink and drive, the video has the potential of being shown around the country to nonviolent, first time offenders to demonstrate the consequences of impaired driving.

Bradley Hamilton, Moorestown, New Jersey, and Susannah Coleman, Roebuck, South Carolina, played the lead roles under the direction of Nick Yasi, Piedmont, South Carolina, and Chantel Dewar, Bancroft, Iowa. Others involved included Trevor Kolman, Simpsonville, South Carolina; Mark Kamibayashiyama, Quezon City, Philippines; Zachary Hudson, Anderson, South Carolina; Daniel Quigley, Fountain Inn, South Carolina; Matthew Seest, Taylors, South Carolina; Brandon Riddell, Snow Camp, North Carolina; Kyle West, Crown Point, Indiana; and Gabriela Gaduh, Jakarta, Indonesia; along with faculty members Sharyn Robertson, Christopher Zydowicz and John Murray.

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BJU Professor Places First in The American Prize Competition

Michael Moore portrait

Dr. Michael Moore, chair of BJU’s Division of Music, was named first place winner for the American Prize in Conducting: College/University Division for Opera for the last academic year. Moore was recognized for his conducting of the University’s production of the tragic opera Lucia Di Lammermoor.

Also conductor of the BJU Symphony Orchestra, Moore holds a PhD in Music Education and a MMus in Instrumental Conducting from the University of South Carolina as well as both a MEd and a BS in Music Education from BJU.

Moore has studied under Richard Grunow at the Eastman School of Music and holds certificates in Instrumental Music and Early Childhood Music from the Gordon Institute of Music Learning. This summer, he began a two-year term as president of the South Carolina Music Teachers Association.

The American Prize is a series of non-profit national competitions in the performing arts providing cash awards, professional adjudication and regional, national and international recognition for the best recorded performances by ensembles and individuals each year in the United States at the professional, college/university, church, community and secondary school levels.

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BJU Students Conduct Summer Ministries

BJU places a major emphasis on ministry and community service, and a large percentage of students participate in outreaches during the academic year and summer months.

This past summer, over 500 BJU students participated in major ministries in addition to hundreds of others who led and supported activities in their home churches.

  • 225 ministered at 59 Christian camps—for one or two weeks or the entire summer—primarily across the U.S. as well as in China, Guam and Indonesia
  • 97 participated in a non-BJU mission trip and 45 others completed internships in a total of 38 countries
  • 30 conducted a variety of other ministries
  • 105 students and 18 faculty and staff participated in BJU-led mission teams, medical missions teams and an athletic team outreach.

BJU’s Center for Global Opportunities sent teams to Tanzania, Antigua, Cuba, China, Pacific Rim (Guam, Yap, South Korea), Southeast Asia (Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam), Western U.S. (Idaho, Utah), Seattle and Salt Lake City.

A medical missions team of 10 BJU students and two faculty provided medical, vision, dental and health education clinics to 2,288 patients in Nyahururu, Kenya. 117 professed Christ during this ministry.

A second team of 14 students and one faculty member provided 600 hours of medical, minor surgical, dental and optometry services to over 1,200 in Baia Mare, Romania. Every patient was presented with the Gospel and received gospel literature. With the mayor’s permission, the team held a large evangelistic service at the end of the week in a former atheistic communist propaganda hall. At least three received Christ as savior. Many patients also attended the local mission church the following Sunday.

See Also: Summer Mission Teams Minister Around the Globe

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BJU Offers 2020 Reformation Tour

Reformation Tour at Worms

May 25 – June 13, 2020, BJU will again conduct a highlight tour of Western Europe focusing on the Protestant Reformation.

Hosted by Dr. David Fisher, BJU vice provost and church historian, the tour will visit the sites associated with the Reformers—Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, Knox and Bucer—along with forerunners of the Reformation, Hus and Savonarola.

Also included are early church history sites of the Roman Catacombs, the Marmertine Prison and the Colosseum; the major cathedrals and monasteries that dominated the medieval world; major European museums and castles; and sightseeing and shopping in Florence, Venice, Geneva, Strasbourg, Paris and London.

The tour is open to BJU students, alumni and friends of the University.

For the 19-day tour itinerary, cost and reservations, visit

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Dr. Sam Horn’s Speaking Schedule

Sept. 22, Sunday a.m. and p.m. services
Bethel Baptist Church
Schaumburg, Ill.

Sept. 26 – 28, Thurs. – Sat.
Ironwood Camp
Newberry Springs, Calif.
Men’s Retreat

Sept. 29, Sunday a.m. service
Life Point Baptist Church
Apple Valley, Calif.

Sept. 29, Sunday p.m. service
Liberty Baptist Church
Newport Beach, Calif.

Oct. 6, Sunday p.m. service
Fourth Baptist Church
Plymouth, Minn.

Oct. 7, Monday a.m. chapel
Prior Lake Christian Academy
Prior Lake, Minn.

Nov. 10, Sunday a.m. service
People’s Baptist Church
Frederick, Md.

Nov. 10, Sunday p.m. service
Calvary Baptist Church
Westminster, Md.

Nov. 17, Sunday a.m. and p.m. services
Faith Baptist Church
Davison, Mich.

Nov. 18, Monday
Faith Baptist School
Davison, Mich.

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BJU Robotics Team Places High at IGVC

Robotics team Bruin3

The BJU robotics team placed first in the Cyber Challenge and third in the Self-Drive Challenge at the 27th annual Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition (IGVC) at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan.

The Self-Drive Challenge event required teams to design, build and program an autonomous vehicle that could successfully navigate the competition’s obstacle course in the least amount of time. Teams also submitted a written report and gave an oral presentation illustrating their knowledge of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Risk Management Framework process.

BJU competed against over 45 teams from universities such as Embry-Riddle University, The Georgia Institute of Technology, Lawrence Technological University, New York University, the University of Detroit-Mercy, and the United States Military Academy at West Point.

BJU team members participating in the competition included senior engineering major Lane Camfield, Greenville, South Carolina; sophomore engineering major Marcela Martinez of San Pedro Sula, Honduras; senior engineering major R.J. Ring, Greenville, South Carolina; and junior computer science major Alex Raddatz of Bolingbrook, Illinois. Several other BJU students worked on the project during the academic year. Engineering faculty Dr. Bill Lovegrove and Mr. Will Woodham were team sponsors.

“The team did an excellent job preparing the vehicle, Bruin 3, for this year’s competition,” said Dr. Lovegrove, head of the department of engineering. “We are thankful for the opportunity to demonstrate the ability of our students in competitions like this.”

Established in 1993, the IGVC is overseen by the U.S. Army’s Combat Capabilities Development Command Ground Vehicle Systems Center and the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. BJU has participated in the competition since 2005.

See Also: Robotics Team Drives to 1st, 3rd Place with Bruin 3

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Division of Music Launches Gustafson Endowment

Photo of Dwight Gustafson conducting in Rodeheaver Auditorium, 2010.

The BJU Division of Music has launched the Dwight and Gwen Gustafson Music Scholarship Endowment to provide merit scholarships to students enrolled in academic music programs and ensembles.

Few couples have had the profound influence on university academic and cultural programs and individuals within the university community as Dr. and Mrs. Gustafson.

Dr. Dwight Gustafson served as the dean of the School of Fine Arts for over 40 years. A renown professor, actor, singer, conductor, composer and author, his passion, humility and spirit of excellence impacted thousands of students who attended the University from the late 1950s through nearly the turn of the century.

A voice performer and teacher par excellence, Mrs. Gwen Gustafson taught voice and courses such as Hymn History and performed in operas, oratorios and university programs for nearly 40 years. Before retiring, she worked in offices part-time for another 12 years.

A gift from Sandy and Donna Hastie made the endowment possible. “A close friend introduced us to BJU,” said Mr. Sandy Hastie. “Through several visits, we became familiar with the University’s mission and saw firsthand the caliber of musical excellence and the quality and maturity of the students that BJU produces. BJU is successfully integrating artistry and faith in such a manner as to develop leaders of tomorrow who will make a difference in the world. We started the Gustafson endowment because we wanted to be part of perpetuating this legacy and preparing tomorrow’s leaders.”

Friends and former students of the Gustafsons’ who would like to give to the endowment may do so at or by mail to the BJU Office of Advancement.

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