BOLIVAR—Enrollment for Southwest Baptist University (SBU) is up, which led SBU President C. Pat Taylor to speak about the order and goodness of God in a time of uncertainty.
SBU has 1,405 students this spring compared to 1,391 a year ago. Including the branch campuses and graduate students, the university is up to 3,508 from 3,484 in 2011.
“Genesis teaches us that there is a word of stability, and life is precious, and life is good,” Taylor said.
“In the midst of uncertainty, there may come a time when we must conclude that God created the universe, there is order in everything, and it is good. All truth is God’s truth, and that is final.”
The freshman class is one of the stronger academic classes in school history, Taylor said, which is helping with the retention of students. The Salem campus is also experiencing record enrollment of 247, which is up from the previous mark of 232. These are a few of the factors that have SBU’s student population in a good place.
“Many Christian and private secular universities have had huge declines over the past two years,” Taylor said. “Our decline has been very minimal, and I believe the opportunity is present to regain our losses during the next few years.”
The SBU budget of $48.3 million is “real tight” but holding up pretty well, Taylor said, thanks in part to a “wonderful mild winter.” Last year’s budget was in the red for the first time in six years, but Taylor said there is a good chance now that it will return to being in the black.
Gifts are expected to come in around $5.2-$5.5 million, Taylor said, which will be a plus in the overall budget, and the endowment is now over $20 million. He said his goal remains to get the endowment over $30 million before he leaves office.
Trustees also came out with a letter opposing the Obama administration mandate that most religious employers provide health care coverage for contraception and abortion pills. This action is like those of many religious institutions in recent weeks who are affirming their First Amendment rights.
SBU trustees went on to affirm their belief that God holds human life to be sacred and their trust in the legislative work of former SBU President Roy Blunt, now a U.S. senator from Missouri, to amend the health care act to protect rights of conscience. Trustees join with Sen. Blunt “in his efforts to have this mandate removed from our health care insurers, purchasers, plans, and providers.”
Commencement dates have been determined and are being released to the public.
For the Bolivar campus, this event will take place at 10 a.m. May 19 outdoors on the Merrill Burnidge Memorial Forum south of Mabee Chapel.
For the Springfield campus, commencement will be held May 17 at 7 p.m. in the sanctuary of Second Baptist Church, Springfield.