President’s Newsletter — November 2020

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

We approach the end of the first semester of this academic year with grateful hearts. We have achieved our objective of completing the semester with in-person classes, thanks to God’s blessing and the hard work and perseverance of our students, faculty and staff.

For the most part, we have maintained the full student experience throughout the semester.

Faculty have done a yeoman’s job conducting classes with students masked and physically distanced. By recording classes or teaching virtually, they have accommodated students isolated while recovering from COVID-19 or awaiting test results.

We have held chapel and discipleship group meetings as planned. Students have attended a local church or a service on campus each week. Student organizations and activities took place as scheduled and attendance at concerts, recitals and stage performances was modified to follow health-related protocols.

Unlike many colleges and universities around us, we continued intercollegiate sports and sent five teams to the national championship competitions at the end of the semester. To give all students more recreational opportunities on campus, we added a number of intramural sports and renovated outdoor spaces, including the tennis courts, to accommodate new offerings.

As we look forward to the students’ return for second semester on Jan. 11, we are again planning for a full semester of in-person, on-campus classes and activities culminating with Commencement on May 7. We will again trust our good and gracious God to bless our efforts and trust the best student body and faculty and staff in the world to do what is necessary for as long as necessary to achieve another successful semester.

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BJU Ranked by U.S. News & World Report

In its 2021 Best College Rankings, U.S. News & World Report recognized Bob Jones University as one of the Best Regional Universities in the South, the second Best Value Regional University in the South, the sixth top performer in Social Mobility among Regional Universities in the South, and seventh in lowest debt load for its graduates among Regional Universities in the South.

BJU is the highest-ranked university for Best Value in the Carolinas. The Best Value ranking is a measure of both academic quality and cost.

The number six ranking among Regional Universities for Social Mobility recognizes graduation rates of students awarded federal Pell Grants. BJU was the only regional university in the Carolinas featured for low debt load among its graduates.

“BJU’s strong rankings reflect the hard work and thorough preparation of our faculty and staff to consistently deliver a world-class education for our students,” said BJU President Steve Pettit. “These rankings demonstrate our resolve and commitment to continue to provide an outstanding Christian liberal arts educational experience that’s affordable and prepares graduates for success professionally and personally.”

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BJU Freezes Tuition for 2021–2022

President Steve Pettit has announced a tuition freeze for the 2021–2022 academic year.

“This tuition freeze continues to solidify BJU as an incredibly affordable, Christian liberal arts education,” said Pettit. “With parents and students struggling with the uncertainties of COVID-19, the tuition freeze will help ease financial stress for our students and their parents.”

For the 2021–2022 academic year, tuition will be $9,550 per semester, and room and board charges will be $4,290 per semester.

The BJU Financial Aid Office will continue to help prospective and current students access need- and merit-based scholarships and grants to further reduce their financial obligations. On average, 94% of new students who apply to the University for aid receive it.

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BJU Celebrates School of Health Professions Grand Opening

BJU President Steve Pettit was joined by S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, Greenville Mayor Knox White and several other elected officials and guests for the grand opening of BJU’s new facility for the School of Health Professions.

Dr. Gary Weier, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, and Dr. Jessica Minor, dean of the School of Health Professions, joined Pettit, McMaster and Graham on the program. Pettit, McMaster, Graham, White and Minor cut the ribbon and officially opened the facility.

See Also: New SHP Home Opens with Vision for Future

The $5.75 million project on the first floor of the Mack Building houses the school which is now the largest school at BJU, bringing together students from 10 academic programs and eight concentrations into a single collaborative environment.

“BJU’s mission includes helping our students gain a burden for meeting the needs of others. Faculty and students from the School of Health Professions fulfill that mission every day by following Christ’s example of compassionately caring for those with physical needs as a first step to meeting their spiritual needs,” said Pettit. “This new facility will enable many more students to receive the top-notch education BJU is known for around the world.”

In addition to federal, state and local officials, representatives from Prisma Health and Bon Secours St. Francis — Greenville’s two largest hospital systems — attended. These healthcare organizations are instrumental in assisting BJU in educating our health professions students and hiring them after graduation.

SHP faculty, recent alumni and students led tours of the new facility following the ribbon cutting.

BJU students from the School of Health Professions are highly sought after by hospitals.

  • 97% of our nursing majors pass the NCLEX capstone exam.
  • For the past two years, our premed majors have averaged in the 90th percentile and some in the 95th and 98th percentiles on the MCAT capstone exam.
  • 80–100% of our premed graduates are accepted to medical and dental school within one year of graduation, compared to the national average of 41%.

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Wood Named Vice President

On Oct. 30, President Steve Pettit appointed Dr. Bob M. Wood Jr. as vice president of enrollment and marketing. Wood assumed this position immediately. Since 2015, Wood has served as BJU’s chief enrollment officer.

In his new role, Wood will lead undergraduate and graduate recruitment efforts to meet BJU’s enrollment objectives. He will oversee Admission, Financial Aid, Marketing and Events Management.

“Bobby is gifted in strategy development and planning and has been a tremendous help to us as we’ve streamlined University operations in recent years and established plans for moving forward,” said Pettit. “Over the past few years, his team has developed programs and events such as EduCamp, U.Day and other key initiatives to build enrollment. I look forward to his expanded role on the executive leadership team.”

Wood holds a BS in Financial Management from BJU (1994), an MS in Biblical Counseling from BJU (1997) and a PhD in Educational Leadership — Higher Education Administration (2008) from Clemson University.

From 2002–2011, he was chief operations officer of Northland International University in Dunbar, Wisconsin; research assistant while completing a PhD at Clemson University; and camp director, business manager and board member of Hawaii Christian Camping Association in Hilo, Hawaii.

Before returning to BJU, Wood was Minister of Education at Harvest Ministries in Guam. In that position, he oversaw strategic planning and activities of both Harvest Christian Academy and Harvest Baptist Bible College.

Currently, he is a board member at Christian Liberty Ministries, Christian Learning Center of Greenville and Woodlands Camp and Conference Center.

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Minority Students Lead New Student Organization

In October, BJU launched a new student-led organization to empower minority students to achieve academic success, participate in community service projects, and thrive as leaders on campus and in their own communities.

Called Minorities Empowered to Educate and Serve (METES), the new organization will seek to cultivate an understanding, appreciation for and acceptance of all cultures on the campus of Bob Jones University. It desires to promote respect among the various cultures and races represented in the student body and foster a bond of unity among all students.

Any student may become a member.

The group’s first project is to create a high school mentorship program for first-generation college students. They also hope to create opportunities for discussing sensitive issues respectfully as believers from different backgrounds.

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Bruins Cross Country Teams Bring Home Two National Championships

The BJU Bruins women’s cross country team made history Nov. 14 as they captured their first NCCAA DII National Championship in program history in Joplin, Missouri. Three runners finished in the top five as they placed first overall among the 10 teams competing.

“I’m proud of these ladies and their performance,” head coach Landon Bright said. “Our top three put us in an excellent spot and the rest of the team did what they needed to. Most of the team was at or near their personal best which is what you need to do at these meets to finish the season strong.”

The women’s team came into the meet after posting the best time this season for NCCAA DII. The team captured their second NCCAA South Region Championship Oct. 31.

As the race began, the Bruins grouped well as they moved near the front of the pack. Hannah Peterson finished 2nd overall, earning All-American honors for the second straight season. Sarah Vanderberg finished 3rd and Margaret Snyder 4th overall, also earning All-American honors.

“The women have been very focused this season, so it was awesome to see them put it together at the last meet,” Coach Bright said.

The Bruins men’s cross-country team remained atop NCCAA DII as they captured their fifth-straight NCCAA DII National Championship, also in Joplin, Missouri, Nov. 14. Among the nine teams competing, they had four runners place in the top 10.

Entering nationals, the Bruins were the favorite but faced a strong field of competition. As the race began, the Bruins came out strong as Michael Steurer and Douglas Stone moved to the head of the pack. Throughout the race, the team did a great job maintaining pace and closed well in the final stages.

Michael Steurer finished 3rd overall, earning All-American honors for the second straight season and Douglas Stone placed 5th, earning his first all-American honor. Caleb Davis finished 7th and Nathan Stewart 10th.

“It was tough conditions out there today, so the men really had to work to win the race,” Coach Bright said. “The whole group ran smart and finished well.”

The Bruins coach Landon Bright was recognized with both NCCAA Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year awards.

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BJU Holds Army/Air Force ROTC Contracting Ceremony

In September, BJU held an Army/Air Force contracting ceremony for eight students in ROTC programs.

Launched in 2018, crosstown partnerships with Furman University (Army) and Clemson University (Air Force) allow BJU students to participate in their respective battalions. Cadets under contract receive financial scholarships, a book stipend and a monthly expense stipend.

Receiving contracts were seven Army cadets including sophomore Curtis Batchelor of Loganville, Georgia; junior Daniel Beam of Lexington, South Carolina; sophomore Jonathan Bullock of Madison, Alabama; junior Douglas Hammond of Anderson, South Carolina; junior ShyAnne Jones of Russell, Massachusetts; junior William Moyer of Conway, South Carolina; junior Andrew Taylor of Elverson, Pennsylvania; and one Air Force cadet, junior Elizabeth Pratt of Greenwood Village, Colorado.

Commander Al Carper (retired), BJU faculty; Lt. Colonel Chris Manganaro (Furman University ROTC) and Captain Joe Blanton (Clemson University ROTC) presided over the presentations.

For more information about BJU’s ROTC program, visit the ROTC webpage.

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BJU Announces Bible Conference Plans

Bible Conference is on the second semester calendar for Feb. 16–19, 2021. Following the theme, “Sanctify Them” from John 17:17, speakers will emphasize growing in Christlikeness. Guest speakers will include Dr. Sam Horn, president of The Master’s University and Seminary; Rand Hummel, director of The Wilds of New England; and Will Galkin, pastor of Gospel Grace Church in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The Bible Conference offering will raise funds toward the construction of a health center in Ivory Coast called Hope Christian Hospital. The need was brought to the University by one of our new faculty members, Dr. Bernard Kadio.

Eleven acres of land are already available, and an architect has completed the design for a three-story building. When completed, the hospital will pursue several goals: serve 15,000 patients a year and lead 1,500 of them to Christ; train 10 bilingual nurses from Ghana, Ivory Coast and Liberia; and start 10 churches in 10 years along Africa’s Atlantic Corridor.

As we approach Bible Conference, more information will be available about this project. The goal is to raise $200,000.

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BJU Named ‘Best Medium Delegation’ at South Carolina Student Legislature

BJU’s delegation to the South Carolina Student Legislature (SCSL) was named the “Best Medium Delegation” and had all 11 of the bills they presented pass during the fall session Oct. 16–17. The SCSL aims to educate South Carolina’s students about the functions of democratic government and to provide a forum for student debate on public policy issues. Because of COVID-19, the session had to be held virtually this year.

“It takes a special level of skill to present to an audience that is not physically present,” said Randy Page, chief of staff to President Pettit and BJU SCSL sponsor. “I was proud of our students’ ability to adapt to the virtual format and still deliver an excellent performance.”

The delegation was co-chaired by Judah Smith and Carson McQuaid, both of Greenville, and is comprised of Nathan Swaim of Lexington, North Carolina; Sarah Rumpf of Billerica, Massachusetts; Grant Bagwell of Marietta, Georgia; Aryn Akerberg of Milton, New Hampshire; Jonathan Du Fault of Descanso, California; Julie Viera of Manassas, Virginia; Reagan Musselman of Duncan, South Carolina; and Carter Henderson and Ryan Parimi both of Taylors, South Carolina.

Several members of the BJU delegation were honored by their peers with individual awards. Reagan Musselman, a junior pre-med major, was elected Lieutenant Governor. Nathan Swaim, a senior accounting major, was recognized as “Best Senator”; Swaim also chaired the Committee on Labor, Commerce and Industry. Ryan Parimi, a junior English major, was recognized for having the “Best Legislation.” Parimi also chaired the Committee on Education. Sarah Rumpf, a senior communications major, chaired the Committee on Miscellaneous.

In addition to BJU, other South Carolina colleges and universities participating in the fall session included Coastal Carolina University, Erskine College, Clemson University, Charleston Southern University, Presbyterian College and the University of South Carolina.

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BJU Holds Virtual High School Festival

A highlight of first semester each year is the annual High School Festival BJU hosts each fall for high school students. In light of COVID-19, this year’s festival is virtual.

High school students across the country submitted videos or files online in six categories: Art & Design which includes two- and three-dimensional art and photography; Music, individual instrumental and vocal and instrumental ensembles; Speech & Drama including performance, original oratory, acting and playwriting; Video which could be a 3–8 minute narrative, documentary or animation; Preaching and Teaching.

Preaching entries are 10–12-minute expository sermons from a New Testament epistle. They are judged on content and delivery, with the heavier weight given to content.

Teaching is a relatively new category for the Festival and is offered to help high school young women develop their ability to communicate God’s Word clearly and effectively to other women. It requires a 10–12-minute challenge from one of the Pauline letters.

BJU faculty and staff judge each entry and provide feedback to the participant.

The festival will conclude with a special livestream event Friday, Dec. 4, from 7–9 p.m. EST for all Festival participants. It will include a 30-minute campus tour highlighting areas that relate to Festival competitions, such as music rehearsals, art studios, preaching classrooms, theatre performances, etc., allowing visitors to virtually experience some of life at BJU.

Faculty judges will host over a dozen live Masterclass options where they will interact with students. Masterclasses will be offered in two 30-minute back-to-back sessions, allowing attendees to participate live in two categories.

The event will end with an award ceremony to announce the winners of the Festival competitions.

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U.S. Sen. Tim Scott Addresses Students

On Oct. 21 in a live feed from his office in Washington, D.C., U.S. Sen. Tim Scott from South Carolina shared his testimony with the students in chapel and answered several student questions.

View Sen. Scott’s address on BJUtoday.

Growing up in a single-parent home, Scott decided as a high school student that sports was his ticket out of poverty. He had been saved at age 11, but Christ did not have first place in his life. He set an ambitious goal — to play for the Dallas Cowboys. His senior year, God used a major car accident to show him he needed to make Christ his life and consider football a game.

He cited examples from the Old and New Testaments of people who were blind to the circumstances around them. We have to ask God to restore our sight, to peer into the dark areas of our lives and reveal them so we can surrender them to God. God brings people into our lives we can trust to rebuke us when rebuke is needed.

In answering questions, Scott related that when he got to Congress, he was so busy learning that he let his time with the Lord each day become mechanical. He learned that for his day to go well, he must start the day with prayer and Bible study. It keeps him focused on the plans of God, not the plans of men.

Scott says he sees himself first as a biblical leader — not a Republican, a conservative or a black person. He puts priority on seeing things through Christ’s eyes. That lets him give others Christlike respect when they radically disagree with him.

God made us exactly as He wanted us to be, Scott said. We should not apologize for or celebrate how God made us but surrender to Him and maximize our potential in the family of God.

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BJU Seminary Launches Theological Journal

BJU Seminary has a decades-long legacy of equipping pastors, teachers and counselors to study, live and minister the Scriptures. On Nov. 10, BJU Seminary launched the first issue of the Journal of Biblical Theology & Worldview which aims to further that ministry by displaying and applying truth through peer-reviewed writing that is faithful to Scripture, consistent with our theological heritage, alert to current scholarship and directed toward contemporary application.

The inaugural issue contains five articles and several book reviews:

  • “Treasure New and Old: An Introduction to the Journal of Biblical Theology & Worldview,” by Eric Newton
  • “Old Testament Foundations for Justice in Society,” by Ken Casillas
  • “Should the Minister Get a Job? A Case Study on Normativity in I and II Thessalonians,” by Neal Cushman
  • “‘The Prayer of Faith Will Save the Sick’: Revisiting a Complex Passage in Light of Biblical Context — James 5:13–18,” by Brian Hand
  • “Jesus, the Sadducees, and the Resurrection: A Case Study of Systematic Theology in the Bible — the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” by Layton Talbert.

The peer-reviewed journal will be published semiannually. It is available at For information about journal articles, contact

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BJU Sponsors 2021 Reformation and Holy Land Tours

Bob Jones University will sponsor a Reformation Tour — a European Study Tour highlighting the Protestant Reformation — May 24–June 12 and two Holy Land Tours March 12–22 and May 11–21.

The Reformation Tour will visit many of the sites related to the leaders of the Reformation movement — Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, Knox, Bucer as well as Hus and Savonarola.

In addition to sites related to the Reformation, the tour will visit early church sites of the Roman catacombs, Mamertine Prison, the Colosseum, major cathedrals and monasteries that dominated the medieval world and the cities of the Renaissance. The tour includes stops in Rome, Florence, Venice, Geneva, Zurich, Constance, Strasbourg, Paris and London.

Make reservations before Dec. 15, 2020, and receive a $100 early booking discount. Appropriate health and safety protocols will be followed to meet applicable guidelines for international group travel next summer.

Hosted by Dr. David Fisher, the tour is open to BJU students, alumni and friends of the University. For the tour’s itinerary and cost and to make reservations, visit or contact Dr. David Fisher at

With an increased interest in the Holy Land, BJU is offering two identical tours to Israel in 2021, both of which offer an optional 4-day extension to Jordan and Egypt. BJU President Steve Pettit will host the May tour.

The tour will visit the excavations at Caesarea on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea where Peter proclaimed the Gospel to the first Gentile converts and where Paul testified before Roman governors, the spectacular vista of the Valley of Armageddon, the rugged mountain fortress of Masada and the stark beauty of the Dead Sea. Participants will sail across the Sea of Galilee to villages where Jesus lived, preached and performed miracles; view Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives and follow the footsteps of Jesus through the narrow streets of the ancient city.

The optional extension to Jordan and Egypt includes a view of the Promised Land from the top of Mount Nebo, the ancient rock city of Petra, and the Sphinx and Great Pyramids of Egypt.

Visit for tour details, costs and itinerary and to make reservations. Direct questions to Dr. Gary Reimers at or (864) 907-3657.

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New Academic Programs Launched

BJU continually works to keep its academic programs current and aligned with market demand. This semester we launched a number of new degrees and other programs.

Bachelor’s Degrees

Master’s Degree

  • Apologetics, MA


  • Paralegal Studies


  • Biblical Counseling, Expository Preaching and Pastoral Ministry in the DMin program
  • Bioinformatics in Biology, BS
  • Homeland Security in Criminal Justice, BS
  • Photography in Visual Studies, BS


  • Teaching Bible (Graduate)
  • Chaplaincy (Graduate)
  • Communications (Graduate)
  • Educational Leadership (Graduate)
  • Leadership Coaching (Undergraduate)

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Students Organize Flu Shot Clinic

Working with a local CVS pharmacy and faculty advisors Dr. Amy Hicks and Dr. Adele Dunn, students in the Health Sciences Association — assisted by students in the University Marketing Association — organized two days of flu shot clinics at two campus locations each day.

Their goals were to raise awareness of the need for flu vaccinations and to protect the health of the campus community by preventing a widespread outbreak of flu on campus. Flu symptoms can mimic some of the symptoms of COVID-19, so getting students vaccinated against the flu could also help in the diagnosis of those with COVID-19.

The two student-led associations worked to determine the best way to communicate with students about why it is important for them to get a flu shot. They introduced the event with a video in chapel and followed up by other forms of communication. Over 480 students were vaccinated.

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The Collegian Staff Wins SCPA Awards

Earlier this semester, the South Carolina Press Association (SCPA) recognized staff members of Bob Jones University’s student newspaper, The Collegian, with multiple awards.

The SCPA Collegiate News Contest recognizes the best in South Carolina collegiate journalism. Collegiate staff members compete against other colleges and universities in 26 categories, including writing, design, photography and illustration.

BJU students receiving individual awards included:

  • Troy Renaux (Hampton, Virginia) — first place, page one design; second place, specialty page design
  • Callie Parker Bond (Greenville, South Carolina) — first place, column writing
  • Ben Clemons (Eads, Tennessee) — third place, infographic
  • Joanna Scoggins (Monroe, Georgia) — third place, series of articles
  • Max Burak (Greer, South Carolina) — second place, cartoon or illustration

Three 2020 graduates were also honored.

  • Andrew Schmidt (Oak Forrest, Illinois) — third place, series of articles
  • Kayla Romeiser (Spartanburg, South Carolina) — second place, sports story; third place, sports story
  • Daniel Quigley (Fountain Inn, South Carolina) — second place, feature

In addition, The Collegian staff won third place in the General Excellence category.

“I love to see our students encouraged in their pursuit of excellence in journalism. These awards do just that. Their hard work has paid off,” said Betty Solomon, faculty adviser for The Collegian. “We need more Christian students with writing talent to consider the media as a worthy profession where they can serve God.”

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