President’s Newsletter — March 2022

This newsletter from Bob Jones University 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 [email protected].

Message from the President

On Feb. 15 we opened our annual Bible Conference—a few days when classes are suspended, and the campus focuses on the preaching of the Word.

BJU President Steve Pettit

Our theme was “Contending for the Faith” from Jude 3. I laid the groundwork for the theme in the opening message. To contend for the faith means to make an intentional effort, to fight diligently to maintain or hold the faith—to keep it from slipping from us.

From Jude’s perspective, there are three reasons why we need to contend for the faith.

First is the presence of a very real threat to our faith—ungodly people with ungodly beliefs who attempt to influence us and draw us away from the true faith. The threat is as present now as it was in Jude’s day. It is intense and it can come against us from the outside in the form of ungodly influences or persecutions and from the inside in the form of strife among believers or the impact of false teachers. The only way to keep the faith is to contend or strive for it.

Second, we are to contend for the faith to preserve it. Every generation must battle for the faith because we are always only one generation away from losing it.

  • We are to contend for a delivered, exclusive faith. In Jude 3 there is a definite article before the word “faith”—the faith. This is a specific, revealed set of truths about God’s saving work through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that has been given to the apostles and then to us. The definite article means it is the one and only faith.
  • The faith we contend for is a living faith handed over by people who have had their lives changed by the truth — transformed individuals who stand against worldliness and lukewarmness in believers — individuals whose lives back up what they say they believe.
  • The faith we are to contend for is a completed faith delivered to us only once. By the time Jude wrote the epistle, the Christian faith existed in complete form. Nothing needed to be added, subtracted or changed. “The faith” is changeless truth.

Third, we contend for the faith to make progress or grow in our own faith. Contending for the faith is foundational to Christian maturity. Each of us has to grow in our ability to discern evil and error and when we discern it, we must stand with those who oppose it. A vibrant, growing faith demands a contending faith.

We need to stand with — contend with — those who are standing for the right things. May God put fire in your belly and steel in your backbone to earnestly contend for the faith.

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BJU Holds Annual Bible Conference

BJU held its annual Bible Conference Feb. 15 – 18.

“The campus family enjoyed a great week of preaching from the book of Jude on the theme, ‘Contending for the Faith,’ said President Steve Pettit. “Students were engaged in the messages and workshops and profited from the various perspectives from which the speakers approached the theme.”

President Pettit laid the groundwork for the theme the first night as he focused primarily on why we should contend for the faith. Other speakers included Dr. David Doran Sr., pastor of Inter-City Baptist Church in Allen Park, Michigan, and president of Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary; Rev. Mike Redick, evangelist and founder of Impact Global Ministries; Dr. Sam Horn, pastor of Palmetto Baptist Church in Piedmont, South Carolina; Dr. Alan Benson, BJU executive vice president for student development and ministry advancement; Dr. Bob Jones lll, BJU chancellor; and Dr. Jason Ormiston, pastor of Family Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Instead of a Thursday afternoon service, students and guests selected from a variety of workshops conducted by BJU Seminary faculty Dr. Brian Trainer, Dr. Renton Rathbun and Dr. Greg Stiekes along with guest speakers Dr. Jason Ormiston and Rev. Mike Redick.

Bible Conference messages may be accessed in the BJU webcast archives available at

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2022 Bible Conference Offering to Further Inner-city Ministry

During the 2022 Bible Conference (Feb. 15 – 18, 2022), BJU raised over $145,000 for Family Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Family Baptist is located in the vicinity of the rioting and destruction that occurred in Minneapolis in the summer of 2020. The church is led by Dr. Jason Ormiston, former member of the BJU School of Religion faculty.

Each year BJU selects a ministry or mission project as the recipient of the Bible Conference offering. The goal for this year’s offering was to raise $100,000 to fund a new roof for the church’s Family Life Center (gym) and new heating and cooling systems. Many of the church’s ministries utilize the gym, including their Wednesday evening children’s and youth ministries.

Designated the Jeremiah 29:7 Project, the theme for this year’s offering was taken from the words of Jeremiah, “And seek the peace of the city . . . and pray unto the Lord for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace.”

Family Baptist Church’s location in north Minneapolis provides many opportunities to reach the inner city with the Gospel as well as much international outreach potential. Soar Charter School rents the church facilities which provides the church with additional direct connections to the community. Soar serves Minneapolis youth ages 17 – 21 with the opportunity to earn credit toward a high school diploma. Faith-based addiction recovery ministries Metro Hope and Adult and Teen Challenge send their residents to Family Baptist Church to participate in Wednesday evening prayer meeting.

Throughout the week of Bible Conference, the campus was busy with the activity of more than 50 fundraisers led by student organizations, societies and residence halls. Students created a wide variety of fundraisers including Johnson (Residence Hall) burgers, a faculty basketball tournament, the Collegiate Biology Association’s succulent sale, the International Food Festival led by the International Student Organization, a faculty bake-off, and many more.

Visit to learn more about Family Baptist Church and to give to their ministry through the Bible Conference Offering.

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BJU Hosted 50th Annual Invitational Basketball Tournament

Jan. 25 – 28, Bob Jones University hosted 16 high school basketball teams—eight men’s teams and eight women’s teams—from around the country in the 50th annual high school invitational basketball tournament.

This year’s tournament featured Cramerton Christian Academy, Cramerton, North Carolina; Emmanual Christian Academy, Newington, Connecticut; Grace Christian School, Huntington, West Virginia; Harvester Christian Academy, Douglasville, Georgia; Life Christian Academy, Kissimmee, Florida; State Line Rush, Galax, Virginia; Tabernacle Christian School, Monroe, North Carolina; Shining Light Academy, Greensboro, North Carolina; and Bob Jones Academy, Greenville, South Carolina.

“For five decades, we have had the privilege to host exceptional teams from around the country at our annual tournament,” said BJU Athletic Director Dr. Neal Ring. “We know the student-athletes benefit from the competition and trust they will make great memories with their teammates and supporters.”

In honor of longtime BJU coach Don Ward, the BJU Bruins presented the Don C. Ward Sportsmanship Awards to the men’s and women’s teams from Emanuel Christian Academy. Coach Ward served at the University for over 20 years and was involved in planning and running the invitational high school tournaments as well as teaching a course in Health Science and managing the intramural program. Coach Ward passed away in 2016 after an 8-month battle with cancer.

Shining Light Academy was the winning men’s team while Bob Jones Academy won the women’s tournament.

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BJU Team Places First at Computer Programming Competition

A Bob Jones University intercollegiate computer programming team placed first in the annual Consortium for Computing Sciences—Southeastern Conference (CCSC-SE) Saturday, Jan. 29. For the first time in 28 years, BJU hosted the competition.

The seven participating institutions fielded 13 teams. Over a three-hour period, the four member teams were tasked with solving nine problems. A team from Mercer University tied with a team from BJU for first place. After a review of the time to solve each question and the number of attempts, BJU 1 earned first place honors by eight points.

The winning team, BJU 1, was comprised of senior Erick Ross of Greenville, South Carolina; senior Steven Platt of Carmel, Indiana; sophomore Ethan House of Baxter, Minnesota; and junior Kevin Kuhn of Mauldin, South Carolina. BJU Team 2, which placed third overall, was composed of senior Melchizedek Dulcio of Greenville, South Carolina; sophomore Shouyu Du of Nanjing Jiangsu, China; freshman Rhys Fuller of Mokena, Illinois; and freshman Garrett Jones of Rockwell, Texas.

Participating institutions included Francis Marion University, Furman University, Gardner-Webb University, Lander University, Mercer University and Wofford College. BJU has participated in the CCSC-SE programming contest since 2002.

“This contest was the first in-person contest we have participated in since February 2020. The number of schools was down, but it was nice to be able to see other teams and coaches again,” said Dr. Jim Knisely, head of the BJU computer science department. “The winning margin was less than a minute per problem so our team had to watch the scoreboard to see if their time would be beaten. We did win but we all felt like winners since we were able to compete together instead of virtually.”

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BJU Launches Beach Volleyball

Last Fall, Athletic Director, Dr. Neal Ring, announced that BJU would add beach volleyball to its intercollegiate lineup with competition beginning this Spring.

According to Ring, beach volleyball is an emerging sport which the NCAA officially recognized in 2016. It has grown rapidly over the last five years with nearly 90 teams competing across the country.

“We’re very excited to add beach volleyball to our sport offerings,” says Ring. “College volleyball has expanded from playing indoors on hardwood to outdoors in the sand. This addition allows us to be on the front edge of an emerging sport.”

Many of the teams BJU is playing in our inaugural season are either also in their first year or have played only a few seasons. BJU looks forward to competing at a high level against NCAA and NAIA teams.

The format of beach volleyball competition is two teams competing against one another through a series of pairings. Each pairing plays a best of three format with the winner decided in a best of five result.

The Bruins will compete against some familiar opponents such as Erskine College, Truett-McConnell University, St. Andrews University and Spartanburg Methodist College.

Dr. Vickie Denny, head coach of BJU’s indoor volleyball program, will also coach the beach team, and many players compete on both teams. “We already have several players with beach experience so we hope to be competitive right from the start,” Coach Denny said. “Playing beach will only make our indoor players better since you have to play all aspects of the sport and not specialized positions.”

The addition of beach volleyball helps the Bruins strengthen their women’s sport offerings as the program continues its pursuit of NCAA Dlll affiliation. BJU is a provisional member of NCAA Dlll and an NCCAA member. The Bruins feature 13 varsity programs in which over 200 students participate.

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BJU Graphic Design Students Win AAF Awards

Five Bob Jones University graphic design students received awards from the Greenville chapter of the American Advertising Federation (AAF) at its annual AAF Gala Saturday, Feb. 19.

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

BJU students receiving 2021 AAF awards include

  • Madelyn Klass, senior from Greenville, South Carolina—Gold Award, Package Design; Silver Award, Integrated Brand Identity Campaign
  • Abigail Cutlip, senior from Wendell, North Carolina—Silver Award, Book Design
  • Marissa Castor, junior from Simpsonville, South Carolina—Silver Award, Integrated Brand Identity Campaign
  • Jason Gunti, senior from Catlett, Virginia—Gold Award, Online/Interactive App; Silver Award, Integrated Brand Identity Campaign
  • Anna Tuttle, senior from Hendersonville, North Carolina—Silver Award, Integrated Brand Identity Campaign

Winners are eligible to advance to the district competition held in March.

In addition, BJU Graphic Design alumni from the Greenville area won a total of five Gold and Silver Awards in the professional division.

“Professionals in the advertising industry recognize the strength of BJU’s Graphic Design program and are very encouraging to our award-winning students,” said Jay Bopp, chair of BJU’s Division of Art + Design. “Creative directors and art directors are always seeking to hire BJU Graphic Design students and graduates. It is a blessing to work with such talented and hard-working students.”

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President Pettit’s Speaking Schedule

March 12, Saturday, 5 p.m.
Teen Purity Banquet
Independent Baptist Church
380 W. Boughton Rd.
Bolingbrook, Ill.

March 13, Sunday, a.m.
Independent Baptist Church
380 W. Boughton Rd.
Bolingbrook, Ill.

March 13, Sunday, p.m.
First Baptist Church
1211 N. Vermilion St.
Danville, Ill.

April 3, Sunday, a.m. & p.m.
Emmanuel Baptist Church
296 New Britain Ave.
Newington, Conn.

April 10, Sunday, a.m.
First Baptist Church of Ogden
1446 Mill Rd.
Upper Chichester, Penn.

April 10, Sunday, p.m.
Victory Baptist Church
1059 Victory Circle
Reading, Penn.

April 17, Sunday, a.m.
Grace Bible Church
2649 Q Ave.
New Castle, Ind.

April 23, Saturday, 5 p.m.
BJUgrass & Gospel Presentation
Brookdale Baptist Church
1401 40th Ave. S
Moorhead, Minn.

April 24, Sunday, a.m.
Brookdale Baptist Church
1401 40th Ave. S
Moorhead, Minn.

April 24, Sunday, p.m.
Calvary Baptist Church
5905 Silas Dent Rd NW
Rochester, Minn.

May 10 – 13, Tues. – Fri.
Homeschool Event
Ark Encounter
1 Ark Encounter Dr.
Williamstown, Ky.


Pizza with the President

March 14, Monday, 7 p.m.
Davis Room Bob Jones University
Greenville, S.C.

April 18, Monday, 7 p.m.
Wilson Christian Academy
1820 Airport Blvd W
Wilson, N.C.

High schoolers and their parents may visit for more information on Pizza with the President. 

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Tim Goeglein Headlines Presidential Leadership Series

Tim Goeglein, vice president of external and government relations for Focus on the Family addressed BJU students and community guests on the topic, “Faith in the Halls of Power: How Gen Zers Might Think about Faith in the Public Square,” at BJU’s Presidential Leadership Series March 1 in Founder’s Memorial Amphitorium.

“As a Christian liberal arts university, our goal is to bring in speakers who will educate and inspire our students and the Greenville community,” said BJU President Steve Pettit. “Tim’s resume includes various roles in Washington, D.C., both in the White House and in the nonprofit sector, which have added to his extensive insights.”

Goeglein previously served as a special assistant to President George W. Bush and as a deputy director of the White House Office of Public Liaison. He was the President’s principal outreach contact for conservative and faith-based groups.

During his address, Goeglein cited a personal experience of failure that occurred during his time working for President Bush which taught him the value and power of humility. He also emphasized that the most important assets for a Christian in the workplace are personal character and integrity.

Goeglein also served as a senior fellow at The Heritage Foundation and as a communications director for U.S. Senator Dan Coats of Indiana and Gary Bauer at the Campaign for Working Families. He is the author of The Man in the Middle: Faith and Politics in the George W. Bush Era and American Restoration.

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BJU Hosts South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities

BJU hosted the Spring board of trustees meeting of the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities—SCICU—Thursday, March 10. In addition to the 42 members of the board who are community and business leaders from across the state, the presidents of the 21 member colleges and universities were on campus for the meeting. This was their first in-person board meeting since February 2020.

Bob Morgan, president and CEO of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, was the keynote speaker.

Bob Jones University was approved as a member of SCICU last July. All members have liberal arts as their primary emphasis, are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and are not-for-profit institutions.

The members of SCICU from across the state have a variety of missions, including those that are secular, faith-based and religious-affiliated, and include five private historically Black colleges and universities in South Carolina.

Membership in this influential organization helps BJU more effectively work to promote and expand access to tuition grants, collaborate on state legislative issues that affect our institutions and share best practices.

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BJU Career Fair Brings Students and Employers Together

BJU Career Services helps students find job opportunities as they approach graduation. A major way they do this is by hosting an annual Career Fair that brings employers to campus.

This year more than 400 students attended the fair in February where they were able to speak with 72 employers and universities representing hundreds of job opportunities and graduate programs.

Each day of the Career Fair focused on different career areas:

  • Social Services, Criminal Justice and Education
  • Business and Communication
  • Health Professions and STEM

Employers came primarily from the Upstate South Carolina area, including major corporations such as BMW and Prisma Health. Employers who participated in the Career Fair from out of state included Answers in Genesis (Kentucky), Bible Broadcasting Network (North Carolina) and the Christian Law Association (Ohio). Opportunities included full-time and part-time jobs as well as internships.

“There are many employers that come to our Career Fair year after year because they love our students and they love to hire BJU graduates,” says Shawn Albert, BJU’s Career Services director. During the Fair this year we actually heard from a number of employers about how much they appreciated the quality of the conversations they had with our students and the great questions they asked.”

The Career Fair is an important part of career readiness and the BJU student experience. It provides not only job opportunities for students; it gives them a chance to hone their skills in networking and presenting themselves to potential employers in a face-to-face setting.

“It is essential that job seekers develop their professional networks,” says Albert. “Approximately 80% of jobs are never posted; they’re acquired through people connections. The annual Career Fair is a good place for a student to start creating professional connections they can cultivate throughout their college career.”

The School of Education & Human Services offered similar opportunities to students through the Christian School Recruitment Conference and the Christian School Recruitment Conference International also held in February. Here students could find employment opportunities in teaching, administration, and other fields.

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BJU Students Participate in State Honor Band

Each year the South Carolina chapter of the College Band Directors National Association assembles an honor band of the state’s finest college players to perform in a weekend clinic. This year 10 BJU students were accepted into the honor band and, as a result of their seating, two were named principal chair of their respective sections—Aaron Frish, senior Orchestral Instrument Performance major from Winnsboro, South Carolina, trumpet and 2021 December graduate Andrea Bell Bonikowsky, Orchestral Instrument Performance major from Greenville, South Carolina, flute.

The other eight students include Lauren Davies, senior Orchestral Instrument Performance major from Greer, South Carolina; Anwyn Ashley, junior Orchestral Instrument Performance major from Beavercreek, Ohio; Bethany Charleston, senior Music Education major from New Lenox, Illinois; Jonathan Eernisse, senior Premed/Predent major from Anderson, South Carolina; Jessie Boyd, senior Orchestral Instrument Performance major from Greenville, South Carolina; Emma Madison, senior Music Education major from West Chester, Pennsylvania; David Polar, senior Computer Science major from Largo, Florida; and Daniel Elston, senior Music Education major from Duncan, South Carolina.

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CoRE Conference Highlights Gospel Opportunities in Today’s Culture

Jan. 31 – Feb. 1, BJU Seminary held its annual CoRE Conference for pastors and church leaders. Using the theme “Awake! Proclaiming Truth in a Broken Culture,” this year’s conference focused on empowering pastors and churches to strongly proclaim the truth of the Gospel in the midst of today’s broken culture and awaken the church to today’s unparalleled Gospel opportunity.

A dedicated prayer time followed each session where attendees prayed specifically for the proclamation of the Gospel, the places where it is proclaimed, those proclaiming it and for its progress.

Attendance at each session varied between 300 and 400, including a mix of local pastors and church leaders and people from as far away as California. All resident Seminary students attended and some undergraduates, particularly those headed into ministry.

The speaker lineup featured two of the most innovative thinkers in conservative Christianity today: Dr. Christopher Cone, president and CEO of AgathonEDU Educational Group and Vyrsity and president of Colorado Biblical University and Dr. David Doran, senior pastor of Inter-City Baptist Church in Allen Park, Michigan, and president of Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary.

Dr. Cone explained Critical Theory and discussed biblical foundations and models for engaging people in today’s culture. He believes the appropriate response to racism is neither critical race theory nor denial, but to “weep with those who weep” and do good to all people out of love for God. He believes that while many millennials and Gen Zers have walked away from the church, their hunger to believe in and fight for something creates a Gospel opportunity.

Dave Doran discussed preaching in a woke culture and prayer that promotes the progress of the Gospel. Rather than synthesize our message with the fallible system of current cultural values, we must follow God’s prescription to preach everything in relation to Christ crucified. Meanwhile, our prayers for the lost, and those declaring the mystery of the Gospel, should be fervent, frequent and characterized by boldness befitting our roles as ambassadors of Christ.

Dr. Alan Benson, BJU’s executive vice president for student development and ministry advancement addressed the opportunity for the Gospel to reach hearts even in today’s culture. He contended that instead of trying to counter the tsunami of change washing over our culture, we must follow hard after Jesus, without apology declaring His work to the lost. In addition, we should ask: Is there a “Timothy” I can come alongside and help put on the path to the pulpit?

Dr. Renton Rathbun, director of BJU’s Center for Biblical Worldview, addressed a biblical worldview of warfare in a woke world.

Dr. Dave Doran; Dr. Richard Bargas, longtime pastor and executive director of IFCA International; Dave Strope, interim national representative of GARBC; and Dr. David Deets, former pastor and now vice president of The Institute of Biblical Leadership formed a panel which discussed the challenges pastors face as they seek to deliver truth in today’s world. Attendees also could select breakout sessions led by Cone, Doran, Bargas, Strope, Rathbun and Billy Gotcher of the BJU Seminary.

Plans are already in progress for the 2023 CoRE Conference Jan. 30 – Feb. 1, 2023. The theme is “Who Am I? The Contemporary Assault on Personhood.” The conference will address issues such as gender, when a fetus becomes a person, dignity of human life and end of life issues. It will again be held on the BJU campus.

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BJU Offers Over 50 Summer Camps

BJU is offering over 50 camps this summer for K–Grade 12, beginning May 22 and going through the end of July. Seven of the camps are new this year.

Camps range from Astronomy and Cybersecurity to Entrepreneurship and Health Sciences. For high schoolers, attending camp may be a great way to try out potential college majors.

Two camps are available for college credit. Art + Design is a 3-week immersion program in which rising high school juniors and seniors can earn two college credits. Introduction to World Missions & Culture Scholar is available for 12 rising juniors and seniors. Students need a U.S. Passport as the camp includes a trip to Ottawa, Canada, for field experience under the direction of veteran missionaries.

To explore camp offerings and dates, visit

Camp registration is open now, and some camps are filling up quickly.

Bruins sports camps are also available in basketball, running soccer, volleyball and golf. Junior sports camps include baseball, golf, soccer and volleyball.

More information on sports camps is available at

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Upcoming BJU Events

College Up Close

April 14–15

Living Gallery

April 14 7:30 p.m.
April 15 4:30 and 7:30 p.m.
April 16 2, 4:30 and 7:30 p.m.


May 5 11:15 a.m. Awards Ceremony
2 p.m. Nurses Pinning Ceremony
4 p.m. Criminal Justice Challenge Coin Ceremony
7 p.m. Baccalaureate Service
8:30 p.m. Alumni Legacy Ceremony & Reception
May 6 2 p.m. Commencement Ceremony

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