Tuesday, 13 September 2011
Mayborn Campus Center was once again filled with hundreds of college students that gathered for the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor's Fall Convocation ceremony to mark the beginning of the semester.
The buzzing atmosphere in the 2,500 seat arena was a result of students being excited to be reunited with their friends again after the summer vacation.
The 166th Fall Convocation began with the official welcome from UMHB Provost and vice president of academic affairs, Dr. Steve Oldham.
Oldham's reassuring message that "Christ will sustain us again," gave the university hope and a desire to look forward to what God will accomplish for UMHB this year.
University president Dr. Randy O'Rear awarded two students with the Gary and Diane Heavin Servant Leadership Award at the ceremony.
Bethany Greeson and Luke Cielonko were honored with the award which comes with a cash award of $1,000.
Each student that receives the award is allowed to select a nonprofit organization of his or her choice as a recipient of a portion of the cash award.
The awards are named in honor of Gary and Diane Heavin of Waco, who have set up an endowment to fund these awards to ensure that UMHB students will desire to engage in community service and philanthropy.
The award is bestowed to upperclassmen who have displayed outstanding community service or ministry.
Greeson, a junior international business major, attributed her service and dedication to her upbringing and experiences in Thailand. She donated a portion of the award to the International Mission Board.
She is the 18th person in her family to attend UMHB and she has maintained a 3.66 cumulative Grade Point Average. She has also been named to both the Provost and Dean's Honor Roll.
Cielonko is a senior cell-based biology major and plays the trumpet for the UMHB band. He donated a portion of his cash award to Compassion International. He admitted that the work done by this organization inspired him.
He hopes that children he sponsors through this award will know that they can find hope through Jesus Christ.
After the awards were given out, guest speaker Dr. David E. Garland inaugurated the school year.
In his speech, Garland highlighted the importance of living life under God instead of living under the sun.
"The secret to life is obedience to God," Garland said. "So often we double the diameter of our knowledge but we triple the circumference of our ignorance."
Garland is Dean of George W. Truett Seminary at Baylor Seminary and has authored 14 books. He encouraged students and faculty not to live materialistic lives and he reminded them that God will bring all things into judgment.
Following the singing of the alma mater, the ceremony closed with the benediction from the chair of the English department Dr. Jacky Dumas.