HLG celebrates 150 years of growth
By Brian Koonce
HANNIBAL – During fires, financial crises and wars, Hannibal-LaGrange College (HLG) celebrated its sesquicentennial Sept. 15.
HLG President Woodrow W. Burt said that while the school has evolved and changed over those 150 years, their mission, “Knowledge for Service” has not.
“God inspired those who dreamed of establishing a Christian college in northeast Missouri,” he said. “However, I am confident that even they did not envision a student body composed of students from 24 states and 26 countries, a distinguished faculty of outstanding stature and an academic program offering 33 majors.”
Burt was joined in the ceremony by former HLG presidents, Larry Lewis and Paul Brown; Hannibal’s mayor, Roy Hark; HLG alumnus and State Rep. Rachel Bringer (D-Palmyra); United States Rep. Kenny Hulshof (R-Mo.) and Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) Interim Executive Director David Tolliver in the celebration.
Tolliver presented Burt with a resolution he will submit during the MBC annual meeting for approval. He also spoke of the long partnership between HLG and Missouri Baptists.
“In 2009, the MBC itself will celebrate 175 years of missions and ministry,” he said. “HLG has been involved in more of those years than any other institution. I hope you appreciate, as I do, the heritage and legacy of partnership between HLG and the MBC. Even though the trustees of five other institutions and agencies of the MBC, voted to remove themselves from accountability to the MBC, HLG, along with the Missouri Baptist Children’s Home and Southwest Baptist University, chose to remain loyal and committed to its MBC roots. God bless HLG.”
Hulshof, who is currently running for governor, delivered the keynote address, comparing HLG to colonial governor John Winthrop’s “City on a Hill,” a reference to Jesus’ words in the Book of Matthew. As colonists crossed the Atlantic, Winthrop issues this challenge:
“The challenge is for our new land to serve as a city on a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us; so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword through the world.”
“HLG accepted Winthrop’s challenge,” Hulshof said. “This college has been led by God’s grace through triumph, tragedy and tests and has persevered and remained true to its faith in God. What began in hearts of a few 150 years ago, shines as a version of that City on a Hill.”