Category Archives: News Releases

From SBU Life magazine: A Full-Circle Calling

This week, we continue sharing stories of SBU alumni who are living out the university’s mission to be servant leaders in a global society. This story originally appeared in the Winter 2015 issue of SBU Life magazine. To read recent issues of SBU Life, please visit http://www.sbuniv.edu/Alumni/SBULife/index.html.


Ina York ’82

B.S. Elementary Education and currently serving as project facilitator of The Cercadillo Project, Dominican Republic (cercadillo.org)

By Stephanie Benoit

When Ina York, 55, describes her role at The Cercadillo Project, the ministry she founded in the Dominican Republic in 2007, she hesitates to call herself its director or administrator.

“I guess I do a little bit of everything,” Ina said. “I’m here to serve these people, whether that means planning or picking up trash. I think leading just happens to be how God’s using me now.”

Ina York, the project facilitator of The Cercadillo Project in the Dominican Republic.

Ina York, the project facilitator of The Cercadillo Project in the Dominican Republic.

The path that brought Ina to the Dominican Republic included two years at Hannibal-LaGrange University, followed by two at Southwest Baptist University, where she studied education. Afterward, she taught in a variety of settings, including at a South Korean school for missionaries’ children, and shortly thereafter earned a master’s in education at University of Iowa.

Ina taught for several more years, and at the close of each one felt a tug on her heart to embrace full-time missions. “I would think, ‘Should I renew my contract, or is this the year that I go somewhere and do missions,’” Ina said. “I felt very torn between the two worlds.”

It was around this time that a mission trip led by a friend first brought Ina to the Dominican Republic. “I was overwhelmed by the poverty, [but] also the opportunities to do ministry,” Ina explained. “There seemed to be a real hunger.”

Not long after, Ina was called to the town of Cercadillo, where she began a ministry offering everything from Bible studies to health programs to educational activities emphasizing literacy and assisting nearby schools. “[We] help people learn to read so they can read the Bible as much as possible,” Ina said. “We do a lot to encourage education and support the local public school.”

Ina was equipped well for the work by SBU’s education department and its instructors like Dr. Twila Smith. “I remember her saying, ‘We’re not teachers who happen to be Christians; we’re Christians who happen to be teachers,’” Ina said. “So wherever we are, whatever we’re doing, we have opportunities to influence those around us.”

In the coming years, Ina hopes to continue caring for Cercadillo, a community that God prepared her long in advance to serve. “God gave me the vision for this ministry,” she said. “I believe I was born for this time, this place and this village.”


Want to pitch a story for SBU Life magazine? Please submit ideas to Stephanie Benoit at sbenoit@sbuniv.edu.

From SBU Life magazine: A ‘God-Sized’ Story

This week, we continue sharing stories of SBU alumni who are living out the university’s mission to be servant leaders in a global society. This story originally appeared in the Winter 2015 issue of SBU Life magazine. To read recent issues of SBU Life, please visit http://www.sbuniv.edu/Alumni/SBULife/index.html.


Paul May ’96

B.A. Religious Education

Student Life Director at Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Mo. and founder of Clear Vision Ministry (www.clearvisiondrama.com)

By Charlotte Highsmith Marsch ’97

 

Paul May had no plans to attend college, especially not at SBU. He calls his journey to SBU a “God-sized story.”

“It was a divine appointment,” Paul said. “I didn’t orchestrate or plan any of it.”

Paul grew up in the small town of Weaubleau, Mo., about 30 minutes north of Bolivar, where he attended church and had become a Christian, but did not grow up in a Christian home.

One week before classes were to start for the fall semester, he was at SBU with a friend who was completing some paperwork when Rob Harris, the current vice president of student development, who worked in admissions at that time, shared with him how he could attend college at SBU. A week later, Paul began classes.

A skit performed during Welcome Week by a student-led group called TEAM (Theatrical Evangelism and Missions) made him want to be a part of the traveling drama troupe.

“I knew nothing about drama and didn’t make the team,” he said of his first audition during his freshman year. “But the next semester, I auditioned again and made it. I was the only guy who tried out, and they needed a guy.”

The group’s leader graduated and Paul took over leadership during his sophomore year.

Through that group, Paul witnessed Christian conversions within his family when the group performed at his home church. His sister, who was in middle school, and his mother both attended the service.

“I got to lead out in the invitation. My sister raised her hand, and I got to lead her to the Lord,” Paul said. “I also got to lead my mom to the Lord. That was the stamp that what I was doing with drama ministry is what God was leading me to do with my life.”

Paul also went on three mission trips while at SBU to Jamaica, India and Haiti. It was during the Haiti trip that he met his wife, Christy Ward ’96. They now have two sons, ages 12 and 8.

Paul May ’96, the Student Life Director at Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Mo. and founder of Clear Vision Ministry.

Paul May ’96, the Student Life Director at Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Mo. and founder of Clear Vision Ministry.

After they graduated from SBU, Paul wanted to continue drama ministry, but the Lord directed him first to attend Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, and complete a master’s degree in communications to lay the groundwork for what would become a full-time drama ministry called Clear Vision Drama Co.

Formed in 1999 and based out of Springfield, Mo., to be in a central U.S. location near family, the original Clear Vision Drama team was all SBU graduates who had been part of TEAM at SBU. Paul and Christy began substitute teaching to help subsidize the ministry and give them the flexibility to travel the country using drama as a tool for evangelism and discipleship. By the third year, the Mays were in full-time drama ministry.

As children came along, they continued their ministry, traveling more than 200 days a year as a family in a conversion van, eventually upgrading to a tour bus. The team ministers at events such as conventions, conferences and camps.

Once their children started school, they started to scale back the ministry, but it still continues on a part-time basis. Paul’s job as Student Life Director at Baptist Bible College in Springfield is flexible enough to allow him to continue occasional travel for events. The majority of the drama ministry now is at summer youth camps, with the kids traveling, too, thanks to God’s calling for him to attend SBU and join a drama ministry.

“The number of opportunities available at SBU was key for me,” he said. “SBU was pivotal for my spiritual pilgrimage.”


Want to pitch a story for SBU Life magazine? Please submit ideas to Stephanie Benoit at sbenoit@sbuniv.edu.

C. Pat Run 5K is April 16; community welcome

The Southwest Baptist University Student Association is hosting the third annual C. Pat Run 5K at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 16. The race begins and ends on the SBU campus.

Participants can choose between a 5K and a 1-mile walk/run. Both races start at 6:30 p.m., with check-in beginning at 6 p.m. at SBU’s Meyer Wellness and Sports Center.

C.Pat RunPre-registration for the race is $15, which includes a T-shirt and race participation and can be completed online at www.sbuniv.edu/5k. Pre-registration, which will guarantee a T-shirt, ends April 1.

“Anyone is welcome to join us in this community-wide event,” said SBU senior and Student Association President Julie McGlaughlin. “All proceeds from the race will go to campus improvement projects at SBU to make the campus a safer and more enjoyable place for both students and the community.”

Student Association is an organization that seeks to make an impact at SBU and in the community through sponsoring clubs and organizations and working on campus improvement projects to continue shaping SBU into a better place for students to thrive.

“The C. Pat Run is a great opportunity for students and communities to come together, have fun and support projects that improve the beauty of our campus and, in turn, our city,” McGlaughlin said. “I’m excited to see what we can accomplish when we all come together!”

For more information, contact Nathan Penland, director of student activities, at (417) 328-1828 or npenland@SBUniv.edu.

SBU Chorale to present spring concert  

The Chorale of Southwest Baptist University will present its spring concert at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 7 in Pike Auditorium on the SBU Campus.

Under the direction of Dr. James R. Tarrant, director of choral studies and professor of music, the selectively auditioned choir will present a program of a cappella choral music spanning more than four centuries.

In the past decade, the Chorale has performed at the Missouri Music Educators Association state convention, the Missouri Baptist Convention, and numerous churches and high schools across the state.  Since 2005, the Chorale has also performed in cathedrals and other historic venues in Austria, the Czech Republic and Germany, including a rare performance in the “Singers Room” in the Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria.  The Chorale is currently planning its 2016 Bavarian concert tour, which will feature performances in Ulm, Augsburg and Munich.

The performance is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact the SBU Music Office at (417) 328-1644.

From SBU Life magazine: Fulfilling a Long-Held Dream

This week, we continue sharing stories of SBU alumni who are living out the university’s mission to be servant leaders in a global society. This story originally appeared in the Winter 2015 issue of SBU Life magazine. To read recent issues of SBU Life, please visit http://www.sbuniv.edu/Alumni/SBULife/index.html.


Angela (Parker) Collins, M.D. ’99

B.S. Biology and Chemistry, and currently serving as a pediatrician at Butterfield Park Pediatrics, Bolivar, Mo.

By Charlotte Highsmith Marsch ’97

Having grown up in the small town of Raymondville, Mo., (population 362), Angela (Parker) Collins had big aspirations — to become a pediatrician — but also a desire to work in a smaller community.

“I’ve always loved science and always loved learning,” Angela said. “When I took the ASVAB test, it suggested physician as a possible field. My dad suggested I would make a good pediatrician.” The idea stuck, and Angela started down that career path.

Angela Collins, M.D., an SBU alum and current pediatrician in Bolivar

Angela Collins, M.D., an SBU alum and current pediatrician in Bolivar

Nearly 20 years later, Angela Collins, M.D., is a pediatrician in Bolivar, just minutes from the SBU campus where she completed a double major in biology and chemistry in 1999 before attending medical school at the University of Missouri.

After completing her medical degree in 2003 and residency in 2006, Angela returned close to home, working at the Family Walk-In Clinic in Mountain Grove, Mo., where she was the only pediatrician in the county.

When Angela saw a job posting last year for a pediatrician in Bolivar, she and her husband, Ken, already knew the community and knew it would be a good fit for them and their three children: Aubrey, 10; Ashlyn, 7; and Zachariah, 2.

“I love my job,” she said. “I love seeing those cute kids and being able to keep them healthy and help them get healthy again.”

In addition to working as a physician, Angela also is involved with a local church and likes to travel.

When selecting a college, Angela said she wanted a Christian environment and wanted to stay fairly close to home. Her mom had graduated from SBU’s Mountain View campus, and SBU offered good scholarships.

“I felt that was where the Lord wanted me to go,” she said. “The academics certainly prepared me well. Spiritually, coming to SBU firmed up my faith, and my teachers were good inspirations.”


Want to pitch a story for SBU Life magazine? Please submit ideas to Stephanie Benoit at sbenoit@sbuniv.edu.

SBU to host joint concert by SBU Concert Choir and Bolivar Community Chorus

The Southwest Baptist University Concert Choir and Bolivar Community Chorus will join forces to present a spring choral concert at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 31 in Pike Auditorium on the SBU campus.

The evening’s program will feature such stirring choral works as Johannes Brahms’ “How Lovely is Thy Dwelling Place” from his “German Requiem”; a setting of “Down by the Riverside” by John Rutter; “Of Crows and Clusters” by Norman Dello Joio; James Mulholland’s “Life has Loveliness to Sell”; Rene Clausen’s “Set Me As a Seal”; and John Ness Beck’s “Visions of St. John.”  Other selections to be performed range from Kinley Lange’s lush “Esto les Digo” to the classic Robert Shaw and Alice Parker spiritual “My God is A Rock” to Harry Somers’ arrangement of the folk song “Feller from Fortune.”

The concert is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact the SBU Music Office at (417) 328-1644.

 

 

 

From SBU Life magazine: Faithful to God’s Calling

This week and next, we will be sharing stories of SBU alumni who are living out the university’s mission to be servant leaders in a global society. This story originally appeared in the Winter 2015 issue of SBU Life magazine. To read recent issues of SBU Life, please visit http://www.sbuniv.edu/Alumni/SBULife/index.html.


Amy-Jo (Morgan) Girardier ’00

B.A. Religious Education, and currently serving as Girls Minister and Student Missions Coordinator at Brentwood Baptist Church near Nashville, Tenn.

By Charlotte Highsmith Marsch ’97

Being faithful to God’s calling to work in girls’ ministry and missions, Amy-Jo Girardier has served in these fields in full-time church ministry for 13 years and recently authored a Bible study series written for teen girls that was published by Lifeway Christian Resources, one of the world’s largest providers of Christian products and services.

The “Faithful One: A Study on 1st and 2nd Thessalonians” Bible study was released in May 2014 alongside Beth Moore’s study of those New Testament books, “Children of the Day.” She said the study is a deep study of the Bible and includes social media components, through which she has connected with girls who have completed the study.

“It has been amazing connecting with girls and leaders across the country,” she said. “It’s fun to see how they are learning from the study.”

Amy-Jo (Morgan) Girardier with her husband, Darrel, and their 3-year-old son, Scout.

Amy-Jo (Morgan) Girardier with her husband, Darrel, and their 3-year-old son, Scout.

During summers while in college, Amy-Jo worked for LifeWay’s Centrifuge camps, which is where she met her husband, Darrel, when he was leading the “For Guys Only” class and she was leading the “For Girls Only” class.

Their summer experiences eventually led them to Nashville for Darrel to work for Centrifuge camps, while Amy spent two years organizing the national Acteens convention in Nashville before beginning her current position at Brentwood Baptist Church in Brentwood, Tenn. Darrel and Amy-Jo have a son, Scout, who is 3.

God used Amy-Jo’s time at SBU not only for her to receive an education but to further solidify a calling for which he started preparing her when she was in high school and involved in Acteens, a girls’ missions group.

“I knew I loved missions and specifically ministering to girls,” Amy-Jo said. “First Baptist Church in Bolivar asked me to work with Acteens at the church, and that solidified girls’ ministry and missions for me.”

Amy-Jo also was on the women’s soccer team at SBU and found herself in a position to minister to her teammates.

“God led me to pray for them, pray for relationships,” she said. “Some Friday nights I walked the soccer field. I was praying for our teammates. It shaped me for understanding God’s calling. I consider my time with Fellowship of Christian Athletes and my time with the women’s soccer team to have honed and shaped my calling to girls’ ministry.”

After a mission trip to southeast Asia during a sabbatical in 2008, God renewed Amy-Jo’s calling to girls’ ministry by calling her to equip other church ministers and moms. She started a blog at girlsminister.com, where she shares ideas and insights for girls’ ministers, and started a girls’ minister network. To her surprise, she quickly connected with at least 100 other women who were wanting to have conversations about girls’ ministry.

“It just started growing,” Amy-Jo said, “and I kind of became seen as an expert in girls’ ministry.”

Looking back, Amy-Jo said God definitely used her time at SBU to prepare her for the Lord’s ministry of encouraging and teaching people around the world.

“I’ve seen a lot of Christian and secular universities,” she said, “but I really know beyond a shadow of a doubt that SBU was the right place for me.”


Want to pitch a story for SBU Life magazine? Please submit ideas to Stephanie Benoit at sbenoit@sbuniv.edu.

Olivia Brinkman of Springfield earns award from SBU University Libraries

Southwest Baptist University student Olivia Brinkman, a native of Springfield, was honored by the SBU University Libraries as the Outstanding Student Assistant of the Month for February.

The University Libraries’ faculty and staff established the monthly award to recognize the outstanding characteristics—such as dependability, quality of work, motivation, attitude, and cooperation—demonstrated by the student assistants employed there.

Brinkman, an intercultural studies major, received an award letter from Dr. Edward W. Walton, dean of University Libraries, a certificate of recognition and a gift. Brinkman is a student assistant in circulation and is one of 30 part-time student assistants working at the library as a part of SBU’s work-study program.

 

Dearing, Drury crowned Mr. and Miss Southwest

Kailyn Dearing, an international studies major from Bentonville, Ark., and Forrest Drury, a social science education major from Park Rapids, Minn., won the titles of Mr. and Miss Southwest at the annual pageant on Friday, March 13 at Southwest Baptist University.

The 2015 Mr. and Miss Southwest candidates, from left: Morgan Lucy, O’Leesa Booker, Nicki Turano, Kailyn Dearing, Forrest Drury, Richard Young, Grant Teckmeyer, and Manny Ofori-Yeboah.

The 2015 Mr. and Miss Southwest candidates, from left: Morgan Lucy, O’Leesa Booker, Nicki Turano, Kailyn Dearing, Forrest Drury, Richard Young, Grant Teckmeyer, and Manny Ofori-Yeboah.

For the pageant, eight candidates were nominated by SBU faculty and staff and voted upon by the student body for the purpose of selecting a pair of standout students to represent the Bearcat family for the next year.

This year’s candidates for Mr. and Miss Southwest also included O’Leesa Booker of Independence, Mo.; Morgan Lucy of Glenwood, Iowa; Grant Teckmeyer of Lincoln, Neb.; Nicki Turano of Saint Louis, Mo.; Manny Ofori-Yeboah of Bolivar, Mo.; and Richard Young of O’Fallon, Mo.

The pageant featured introductory videos and a talent presentation by each candidate, followed by a round of text-message voting to determine the top four candidates, who then participated in question-and-answer sessions. A final round of voting determined the winners.

During the competition, Dearing used string to create a piece of artwork outlining the continent of Africa while a slideshow played of photographs from a mission trip she participated in there in 2012. “When I was a [high school] senior at Bearcat Days, I would never have imagined being on stage three years later,” said Dearing. “To me, it points to the growth that’s happened and the faculty, staff and friends who have poured into me at SBU.” She hopes to attend physical therapy school after graduation and pursue missionary work.

Mr. and Miss Southwest winners Kailyn Dearing and Forrest Drury

Mr. and Miss Southwest winners Kailyn Dearing and Forrest Drury

Drury presented a humorous mock-cooking show in which he portrayed “Chad,” a heavily accented Canadian culinary expert demonstrating his scrambled-eggs-making method. “It was so fun that night to [show] what we had been practicing, and the audience was really supportive,” said Drury. “It was really exciting just to get nominated. I felt like it was a really big honor.” After graduation, Drury intends to teach social science and become a high school coach.

The beginnings of the “Miss Southwest” pageant date back to the 1930s, with “Mr. Southwest” being added in 1963. The pageant, which was organized by the students of SBU’s University Activities Council, was one of the keynote happenings of Bearcat Days, the two-day visit event in which admitted students considering SBU attendance were hosted on campus March 13-14.

For more information about Mr. and Miss Southwest, please contact student activities director Nathan Penland, who may be reached at (417) 328-1828 or npenland@sbuniv.edu.

Jones, Wimberly commended with honorary doctorates from SBU

James (Jim) Jones ’86 and Louise Wimberly ’49, both of Bolivar, received honorary doctorates from Southwest Baptist University during the annual Founders’ Day chapel service held Monday, March 16 at SBU.

SBU awards honorary doctorates annually to recognize outstanding individuals who have made significant contributions to society and to kingdom work.

James Gatlin Jones ’86

Jones graduated from SBU in 1986 with a double major in economics and business. His professional career began at Metropolitan Life in Springfield, Mo. In 1992, Jones returned to SBU to join the College of Business and Computer Science faculty. Later, he founded Sterling Investment Advisers LLC, where he presently serves as the president and portfolio manager. He received an Honorary Doctor of Business.

In introducing Jones, Dr. Susan Lynch, professor emeritus of business administration, praised his aptitude for business and recalled his early days at SBU. “I always told my students here at SBU that, contrary to the popular figure of speech, I believe there are times that you can have your cake and eat it, too, but first you must earn that ‘cake’,” said Lynch. “Jim Jones earned his ‘cake’ here at SBU, the foundation of his professional career … Jim has earned and built a marvelous ‘cake.’”

In response, Jones, who has obtained numerous honors and accolades throughout his career, encouraged students to examine their hearts and motivations and follow Christ’s pattern of acting out of love. “It was precisely because Jesus did not desire power, but was only motivated by love, that qualified Him as being worthy of all honor, praise and power,” said Jones. “Your actions will only be motivated by love or power, not both, because they are diametrically opposed. Which will you choose? I really pray that you will choose to follow Jesus and follow love.”

Louise Wimberly ’49

Louise Wimberly graduated from Southwest Baptist College in 1949 with an associate of arts degree. Wimberly invested the majority of her professional career at First Baptist Church of Bolivar, from which she retired in 1993. Wimberly found time to invest in the community of Bolivar through numerous outreach projects such as mowing lawns for Bolivar residents who are unable to maintain them and picking up trash on and near the square. She received an Honorary Doctor of Humanities.

Brad Johnson, Ed.D, vice president of university relations, introduced Wimberly, whom he praised for her humility, kindness and service. “It is my privilege to present to you an individual deserving of honor and recognition, one who has lived a life characterized by selfless dedication to her community, her alma mater, and most importantly, to her Lord,” he said. “SBU has a long history of producing servant leaders that influence the world for Christ. The dedication and service of this individual is truly uncommon.”

Wimberly then commended SBU’s role in the community and the efforts of its faculty. “I like to see the faculty come down the aisle in their robes of many colors,” Wimberly said. “I think of the many years of study that it took to have the right to wear those colors. That is the most beautiful sight on campus, the faculty coming down the aisle in their colored robes, showing that they are serious about teaching students here to become what they need to become in this world.”

About Founders’ Day

SBU was founded 137 years ago this coming fall semester, in 1878, when James Rogers Maupin and Abner Smith Ingman established Southwest Baptist College in Lebanon. A year later, the college moved to Bolivar. Founders’ Day is a time set aside to reflect on the university’s history and heritage.

“Founders’ Day is an important time when we are challenged to reflect on our past and to thank God for the men and women who have gone before us and created an environment that inspires us to be successful today,” said SBU President C. Pat Taylor, Ed.D.

Taylor encouraged attendees to contemplate the lasting impact made at SBU by those who remained faithful and obedient to God’s calling.

“We must recognize that we would not have survived if God had not had His hand on this University, and we would not be able to enjoy the successes of today, if the heroes of the past had not answered God’s call to be a part of the Kingdom’s enterprise here at SBU,” he said.

For more information about Founders’ Day, please contact Dr. Brad Johnson, vice president of university relations, at (417) 328-1805.