President’s Newsletter — May 2019

This May 2019 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

BJU Announces New Facility for School of Health Professions

Artist rendering of health professions facility

In chapel, April 30, President Steve Pettit shared exciting news with students—the first floor of the University’s library building will be renovated into a new home for the School of Health Professions.

Immediately after Commencement, BJU began completing the rightsizing of its library. With students accessing many resources digitally, BJU has strategically reduced print materials and is consolidating all library resources on the second floor. In August, construction will begin on a new School of Health Professions facility on the first floor with completion scheduled for fall 2020.

“Moving the School of Health Professions to a larger facility will enable us to accommodate the growing number of students interested in health care, update our technology and equipment, expand our labs for these programs, and have room to add new programs in future years,” said Pettit. “Equally important, the new building will facilitate the collaborative aspect of health care. Teams of students and faculty from various programs will be co-located and can work together as health care teams work in the real world.”

The School of Health Professions is BJU’s fastest growing school. Freshmen enrollment in these programs has grown 13 percent each of the last two years with another 15 percent projected for fall 2019. This school is also receiving the most applications from prospective students. Increased student interest is a direct reflection of the high marketplace demand for graduates in health care professions.

BJU launched the School of Health Professions in August 2018, bringing together into one school a number of academic programs: Exercise Science, Sport Management, Health and Fitness, Nursing, Premed/Predent, and Health Sciences with a general concentration plus concentrations in Pre-Physician Assistant, Pre-Physical Therapy, Pre-Nutrition, Pre-Pharmacy, Public Health/Global Health and Health Care Administration.

In the past several months, BJU has raised a large portion of the funds for the new facility and will go public with a capital fundraising campaign this summer.

Artist rendering of health science lab

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Message from the President

President Steve Pettit in regalia

In our 92nd commencement May 3, I gave the following charge to our graduates.

“Last year my wife and I, along with our two daughters, took a walking tour in England on what is known as the Cotswold Way. Located in the rolling hills of England’s Midlands, we walked about 40 miles on a trail over three days. It was everything you would imagine the countryside of England would be. As we began, I told my girls, ‘I am going to try to answer one great question in my mind over the next three days. That question was, Why BJU?’

Not what do we do at BJU—like providing an outstanding Christian liberal arts education that is intentionally designed to inspire a lifelong pursuit of learning, loving, and leading.

Not how do we do what we do at BJU—what I call our ABCs—Academic excellence, Biblical worldview, and Character, Culture, Community, Conservatism.

But, why—why are we doing what we are doing? What is the reason? I spent time thinking about all the terms of our salvation—redemption, reconciliation, justification, regeneration, sanctification, glorification. It dawned on me that these are all terms of empowerment—all for the ultimate purpose of being perfected into Christlikeness!

Why BJU? If we are a Christian institution then we have to empower people to reach their highest potential for God’s glory.

Recently I was asked to do an exercise—write a news release on where I would like BJU to be in 10 years. Simply put, I would like to see BJU overtaken by blessing. Here’s what I wrote:

Ten years ago BJU was at a pivotal point in its history. Under its leadership, BJU set out with an aggressive strategic plan focused on a single compelling vision. This vision, embedded in their past, allowed them to clearly see their way forward to their future. Rooted in God’s manifold blessings in salvation, their vision sought to empower every student, faculty and staff member to reach their highest potential for God’s glory. Every element of the University was aimed toward this vision. It became their theme song. As this vision spread to every part of the institution, something amazing began to happen. What BJU pursued for others soon became their own reality. As they sought to empower individuals, God began to empower the University. BJU did not chase after God’s blessing, but God’s blessing soon chased after BJU. The more they focused on blessing others, they began to be blessed in multiple areas. The president said it this way; “The beauty is that we have not only fulfilled our mission but our mission has fulfilled us.”

And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God —Deut. 28:2.

The greatest way to be blessed is to bless. Success is not measured by what you achieve but who you serve—who you seek to empower.

So, to the class of 2019—here is my advice—invest your life in empowering others and do it all for the glory of God.”

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92nd Commencement Statistics

On May 3, 2019, BJU awarded 599 degrees.

Associate Degrees 42
Bachelor’s Degrees 488
Master’s Degrees 66
Doctor of Ministry 2
Doctor of Philosophy 1

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Students Present at Southern States Communication Association Convention

Communication students present papers at SSCA

Four BJU communications students presented academic papers at the 89th Annual Southern States Communication Association (SSCA) Convention in Montgomery, Alabama, in April.

Students from across the Southeast submitted papers for consideration. The conference selected papers by four BJU students for presentation. Haley Brammer of Greenville, South Carolina presented, “Sex and Scandal in the Catholic Church: A Look through Communication Privacy Management Theory,” in the Theodore Clevenger Undergraduate Honors Conference.

Three BJU graduate students presented their research in panel discussions: Beth Ann Labadorf of Greenville, South Carolina—“Tragedy on Southwest Flight 1380: A Crisis Response Analysis”; Kenneth Driscoll of Dublin, Ohio—“The Way They Saw It – Students’ Experiences During Spanish Study Abroad”; and Jessica Mullen of Centerville, Georgia—“DM’s and Double Chins: How Ephemerality Affects Digital Co-presence on Social Media Platforms.” Kenneth Driscoll won Top Paper Award in the Language and Social Interaction Division.

“To have a paper accepted at a regional conference is a high quality academic achievement,” said Dr. Charlotte Burke, BJU professor of communication.  “While it is evident this accomplishment is a preparatory step toward doctoral work, it is also important preparation for success in the workplace. Conducting research, analyzing data, drawing informed conclusions, and communicating results orally and in writing are assets that will help these students excel in their professions.”

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University Names Building for the Sargents

Plaque on the wall of the Sargent Memorial Student Center

In mid-April, BJU named a portion of the Student Center “Sargent Memorial” in honor of Earle and Eleanor Sargent, founders of the Sargent Foundation in 1953.

Over the last four years, the Sargent Foundation has gifted $2 million to the BJU Together Fund, a non-restricted fund whose monies may be used for scholarships, capital campaigns and major initiatives. These gifts from the Sargent Foundation have been applied to student scholarships.

Since the 1970s, the Sargent Foundation has gifted BJU with numerous large donations, including substantial gifts toward the construction of the Founder’s Memorial Amphitorium and the expansion of the Mack Library.

The Earle W. Sargent Memorial Boardroom in the library was named for Mr. Sargent in 1980, and the Sargent Art Building—a wing of the Gustafson Fine Arts Center—was named for the Sargents in 1998.

BJU President Steve Pettit, Chancellor Bob Jones III and Dr. Bob Wilson, chairman of the Sargent Foundation, participated in the naming ceremony and unveiling of the memorial plaque.

“The Sargent Foundation is a long-time supporter of Bob Jones University,” said Pettit. “I deeply appreciate its gifts over the years, especially those to the scholarship fund which have made an incredible difference in the lives of many students.”

The Sargent Memorial is the south side of the BJU Student Center. It houses the Student Services Hub, The Den, the Bruins Shop, the 670-seat Stratton Hall and War Memorial Chapel. A student recreation area will be added this summer.

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2019 Vintage Dedicated to Dr. Dan Turner

Dan Turner on Stratton Hall stage

During Commencement week, the yearbook staff dedicated the 2019 Vintage to Dr. Dan Turner. Director of bands at BJU for 35 years, Dr. Turner also served as head of BJU’s music education department and, prior to joining the University, as director of bands at Bob Jones Academy. He has performed with the Foundation Brass, taught private lessons and directed the Greenville Concert Band.

Dr. Turner holds a BS in Music Education from BJU and both a master’s and doctorate in Music Education from the University of Illinois Urbana – Champaign.

“When I was 16 and a junior in the Academy band under Dan, it was his passion for people and for music that God used to call me into a life of teaching,” said Dr. Bruce Cox, assistant director of bands. “As colleagues for the past 35 years, I have seen his passion for all of life. He has lived out his own calling with all his might, and though he is mortal, he is worth emulating.”

For his superior conducting, Dr. Turner was named to Who’s Who of the South and Who’s Who of Education and received the National Band Association Citation of Excellence. In 2017, Furman University band director Les Hicken nominated Dr. Turner for inclusion in the prestigious American Bandmasters Association, the premiere professional band organization in the world. This association of approximately 300 band directors and composers in the U.S. and Canada grants membership by invitation only.

As well as being a conductor, an educator, and a performer, Dr. Turner has been a prolific recorder of BJU history, writing such works as Standing Without Apology: The History of Bob Jones University and Reflecting God’s Light: Facets of a Miracle.

To serve students, Dr. Turner founded the Gingery-Mack Scholarship Fund, enabling promising musicians to study under accomplished, Christian faculty. To date, $50,000 has been distributed to worthy, young musicians.

“Dr. Dan Turner has literally influenced thousands of lives through his teaching, directing and performing. Through his masterful teaching and godly example, he has a legacy of being the epitome of a music educator—something his colleagues, former students and peers in the professional world acknowledge,” said Dr. David Fisher, vice provost for academic administration. “In addition, Dr. Turner has left a profound impact on BJU by chronicling the history of the institution.”

Dr. Turner is retiring from the University this month after 47 years of service.

Turner is married to Christy Award-winning author Jamie Langston Turner. They have a son, Dr. Jess Turner, and two grandchildren.

See Also: Vintage Dedicated to Longtime Director of Bands TurnerFaculty Spotlight: Dan Turner

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President Steve Pettit’s Speaking Schedule

June 9, a.m. service
Red Rocks Baptist Church
Morrison, Colo.

June 10 – 12
FBF Conference
Denver, Colo.

June 18 – 19
Summer Bible Conference
Inter-City Baptist Church
Detroit, Mich.

July 1 – 5
Northland Family Camp
Dunbar, Wis.

July 8 – 12
THE WILDS of North Carolina
Teen Camp
Brevard, N.C.

July 21, a.m. and p.m. services
Trinity Baptist Church
Concord, N.H.

July 22 – 27
THE WILDS of New England
Teen Camp
Deering, N.H.

July 28 – Aug. 3
Camp K Teen Camp
Spruce Creek, Pa.

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BJU Adds New Academic Programs

BJU has a longstanding reputation for high quality academics. In addition to sustaining program quality, the University is focused on aligning our academic program portfolio with the market demand of both students and employers. As a result, the academic team has developed a number of new bachelor’s and associate degree programs, along with new minors, certificate programs and concentrations within existing majors.

The following new programs will launch in August 2019:

  • Child Development, Bachelor of Science
  • Professional Studies, Bachelor of Science (online degree completion program)
  • Visual Studies, Bachelor of Science
  • Liberal Arts, Associate of Arts
  • Paralegal, Associate of Science
  • Criminal Justice, Associate of Science
  • Media and Technology, Associate of Science
  • Cyber Security, Minor
  • Linguistics, Minor
  • Fashion Design, Minor
  • Health Sciences, Minor
  • Biotechnology (Biomedical Research, Biomechanics, and Environmental Technologies & Resources) Concentration in Biology, Bachelor of Science
  • Entrepreneurship, Concentration in Business Administration, Bachelor of Science
  • Cyber Security, Certificate
  • Cyber Operations, Certificate
  • Undergraduate Certificate in K–12 Teaching and Learning (online)
  • Graduate Certificate in K–12 Teaching and Learning (online)
  • Apologetics & Biblical Worldview, Certificate (online)
  • Advanced Apologetics, Certificate

Information about each of these programs is available at

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BJU Presents Titanic: The Musical

This spring, BJU mounted a spectacular production of Titanic: The Musical, the award-winning musical. Sharing the moving stories of passengers and crew, the production was an emotional journey through love, ambition, hope and loss.

“The sinking of the Titanic on April 15, 1912, is forever forged in our memories as one of the most significant disasters of the 20th century,” said Dr. Darren Lawson, dean of the School of Fine Arts and Communication and the program’s producer. “A total of 1,517 men, women and children lost their lives in the icy waters of the Atlantic. Its builders boasted that Titanic was an unsinkable ship which made the loss of life even more tragically ironic.”

BJU students, faculty and staff comprised 59 of the 65 cast members. The six others were professional guest artists Brandon Hendrickson, Tony Mowatt, Tim McDevitt, Caitlin Mesiano, Patrick Dunn and Cabiria Jacobsen. The cast was accompanied by a 26-person orchestra under the direction of Dr. Michael Moore, chair of the Division of Music.

For several days prior to the performances, artifacts from the Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, including band leader Wallace Hartley’s leather music portfolio, were on display in Rodeheaver Auditorium lobby.

See Also: Titanic Posts

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Dr. Carl Abrams Named National History Teacher of the Year

Dr. Carl Abrams headshot

BJU history professor, Dr. Carl Abrams, has been named American History Teacher of the Year by the National Society Daughters of Colonial Wars, a society dedicated to the preservation of the History of America. Dr. Abrams has taught American history courses at BJU since 1974.

Last September, BJU nominated Dr. Abrams to the South Carolina Society Daughters of Colonial Wars for Outstanding American History Teacher for 2018–19. The state society later selected him from among history professors around the state to be South Carolina’s nominee for the national award.

Dr. Abrams holds a BA in history from BJU, a MA in history from North Carolina State University, and a PhD in American history from the University of Maryland, College Park.

He is the author of three books: Conservative Constraints: North Carolina and the New Deal; Old-Time Religion Embracing Modernist Culture; and Selling the Old-Time Religion: American Fundamentalists and Mass Culture 1920–1940, for which he was nominated for the best book in southern history.

He has published a variety of articles in publications such as the North Carolina Historical Review, the Encyclopedia of North Carolina History, and Political Parties and Elections in the United States: An Encyclopedia. He has contributed book reviews to the Journal of American History, the American Historical Review, and the Journal of Southern History.

A colleague says of Dr. Abrams, “He approaches teaching American history from many perspectives—not just political and economic, but from the intertwined forces of race, class, gender, technology and entertainment. Doing so gives him opportunities to investigate how these parts of culture have influenced each other as well as human actions and reactions. Carl has a deep interest in people that keeps him asking questions about the human condition. This makes him a good historian.”

This summer, Dr. Abrams and his wife, Linda, also a BJU faculty member, are leading a group of students in a 3-credit study abroad history course in France.

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Collegian Staff Wins SCPA Awards

The South Carolina Press Association (SCPA) recognized staff members of BJU’s student newspaper, The Collegian, with multiple awards at the Collegiate Annual News Contest in April in Columbia, South Carolina. Both individual staff members and The Collegian as a whole were honored.

The SCPA Collegiate News Contest recognizes the best in South Carolina collegiate journalism. Collegiate staff members compete against other colleges and universities in Division 1 (colleges with undergraduate enrollment under 5,000 students) and in the Collegiate Open Division which includes all colleges and universities in South Carolina.

Two BJU students received individual SCPA awards: sophomore Christina Laird of Nashua, New Hampshire, (first place, Arts and Entertainment Story) and senior Ian Dyke of Front Royal, Virginia, (second place, Editorial Writing).

In addition, The Collegian staff won first place, Page One Design, and second place, Student Government Beat Coverage. Additionally, The Collegian staff was honored with second place in the category of General Excellence, which recognizes all aspects of the publication.

“I’m proud of the staff of our campus newspaper. Their work has been recognized as being some of the best among college newspapers in our state,” said Betty Solomon, faculty adviser for The Collegian. “Our goal is to keep our campus as informed as we can, and this year’s staff has done that.”

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Dr. Sam Horn’s Speaking Schedule

June 2, a.m. service
Landmark Baptist Church
Louisville, Ky.

June 10–14
Grand View Camp
Eagar, Ariz.

June 17–28
THE WILDS Christian Camp (CIT)
Brevard, N.C.

June 23, a.m. service
Iglesia Bautista Nuevo Amanecer
Greenville, S.C.

June 30, a.m. service
Truth Baptist Church
South Windsor, Conn.

June 30, p.m. service
The Church of the Open Bible
Burlington, Mass.

July 1–12
THE WILDS of New England (CIT)
Deering, N.H.

July 7, a.m. service
Heritage Free Will Baptist Church
Laconia, N.H.

July 14, a.m. service
Iglesia Tabernaculo
Greenville, S.C.

July 15–26
THE WILDS Christian Camp (CIT)
Brevard, N.C.

July 21, a.m. service
Bethany Baptist Church
Brevard, N.C.

July 28, a.m. service
Kingsway Baptist Church
Lake Wylie, S.C.

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BJU Offers Wide Variety of Summer Camps

This summer BJU is again offering an extensive EDUcamp program with academic-related camps for rising 9th–12th graders; sports camps for elementary, middle school and high school students; and a new EDUcamp Jr. program—a day camp for elementary and middle school students offering both academic and sports camps.

With students attending from a number of states, most academic and sports camps for high schoolers offer day or resident options. Many campers attend more than one week to take advantage of multiple camps.

Academic camps are available in 24 academic areas—from aviation to astronomy, health sciences to sports leadership, computer programming to theater arts. They provide opportunities for students to explore potential career fields. For some, gaining experience in a specific field can solidify—or rule out—career interest. In all camps, students also benefit from meeting new friends and having an enjoyable experience in a Christian environment.

Sports camps are offered in basketball, soccer, golf, volleyball, shooting and running.

For more information and a full list of camps with current availability, visit

See Also: EDUcamp: Explore Your Future

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Student Photographs Selected for Upstate Exhibition

Photographs by four BJU students were featured this spring in the Upstate College Exhibition at the Southeast Center for Photography in Greenville. The Southeast Center for Photography is an exhibition gallery specializing in making new and experienced photographers known to the community. Exhibition requirements stipulate that participants attend a college or university in Upstate South Carolina and submit up to 10 images each.

Of the 525 images submitted by 100 student photographers, 40 were included in the month long exhibition, including images by junior business administration major Isaac Talbert, Travelers Rest, South Carolina; sophomore cinema major Marshall  Hammer from Morristown, Tennessee; graduate biblical counseling major Thian Thang, Greenville, South Carolina; and senior graphic design major Brandon Buchanan, Cortland, New York.

“All of our students are talented and dedicated to elevating their photography beyond technical craft to the level of fine art,” said Rebekah Mininger, art and design faculty. “We are very proud of their activity in the local art community and value this professional accomplishment as a sign of their present and future success in the field of fine art photography.”

See Also: New Partnership Helps Student Photographers Elevate Work

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BJU Students Place High in National Marketing Competition

University Marketing Association 2019

Four BJU students were recognized for strategic decision-making and two received individual acknowledgment in competitions at the American Marketing Association International Collegiate Conference in April in New Orleans.

The group of Amanda Cox of Oxford, Pennsylvania; Nolan Silvius of Hendersonville, North Carolina; Tim Hamersky of Oakhurst, California; and Benjamin Lewandowski of Taylors, South Carolina; placed first in its region of five universities in the seven-hour SABRE Business Simulation and went on to place eighth overall in the competition.

“This is one of the largest conferences and competitions with 388 universities and 1,609 students participating,” said Dr. Robert Hucks, Division of Management chair in the School of Business and adviser to the University Marketing Association. “Our students have always represented the University well.”

Lewandowski, a junior business administration major and president-elect of the University Marketing Association, was also a finalist with more than 200 participants in “Perfect Pitch”—a 90-second elevator job pitch competition.

Cox, a senior accounting major, placed eighth in “Outbound Sales,” an over-the-phone sales competition. Additionally, Tyler Chapman of Middleboro, Massachusetts; Christen Moore of Greenville, South Carolina; and Brandon Jackson of Homer, Alaska; completed the Professional Certified Marketer Boot Camp and passed the professional exam.

Industry professionals spoke to students about careers, technologies, best practices and strategies,” said Hucks. “The students had the opportunity to hear from some of the most accomplished thought leaders in the industry.

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