BOLIVAR – Two faculty members and a staff member were honored at Southwest Baptist University’s annual convocation Wednesday, Aug. 22.
In addition, retiring SBU President C. Pat Taylor, Ed.D., introduced the 25th president in SBU’s 141-year history – Dr. Eric A. Turner – and recalled meeting him for the first time 18 years ago during the annual meeting for Southern Baptist Colleges and Universities.
“We established an immediate friendship and have been friends for 18 years now,” Taylor said. “During that 18 years, we’ve had many, many, many conversations about higher education, the challenges, the problems that we face and conversations about the wonderful calling we have in Christian higher education.”
Convocation marks the formal beginning of the academic year and is a time when campus gathers to focus on SBU’s mission and traditions.
“Our tradition of being focused on our mission of being a Christ-centered institution has been an essential element of our history,” Turner said. “For the past 140 years, Southwest Baptist University has been a Christ-centered, caring academic community preparing students to be servant leaders in a global society. Our mission statement defines who we are as a University.”
The tradition of the Orien B. Hendrex Distinguished Teacher Award recipient delivering the convocation address continued with Dr. Chris Dinwiddie, the 2018 honoree. The award recipient is chosen by previous graduating classes and is presented annually to a faculty member “regarded by SBU graduates as a distinguished teacher.”
Dinwiddie joined the SBU faculty in 2006 and currently is an associate professor of psychology in the behavioral sciences department. He also served as Faculty Senate president during the 2017-2018 academic year. From 2006-2011, he coached the men’s club soccer team and was the head coach of the men’s varsity soccer team from 2012-2014.
In his address, Dinwiddie encouraged students to find their “pathway to success.” For Jesus, he said, success meant “the abundant life” mentioned in John 10:10. He shared that people need a light to show them the way, just as Jesus was, and is, to the world.
“(When questioned) Jesus said, ‘I know where I come from and I know where I’m going,’” Dinwiddie said. “How many of us can say that about ourselves today in our lives? What a powerful declaration and purpose.
“We live the abundant life by getting on the pathway. The abundant life isn’t an outcome. It’s the things we do on the way; a direction.”