Col. Chaplain Gary D. Gilmore of Mount Vernon and Alvin Rohrs of Dunnegan, both members of the Southwest Baptist University class of 1979, received honorary doctorates from SBU during the annual Founders’ Day chapel Monday, March 10.
SBU awards honorary doctorates annually to recognize outstanding individuals who have made significant contributions to society and to kingdom work.
Col. Chaplain Gary D. Gilmore
Col. Chaplain Gary D. Gilmore of Mount Vernon is senior chaplain in the Missouri National Guard, supervising all Army and Air National Guard Chaplains and eight seminarian chaplain candidates. Chaplain Gilmore is a recipient of the Bronze Star and other numerous awards. His wife, Susan, and their three children are also SBU graduates. He received an Honorary Doctor of Theology.
“When a military man advances the Kingdom of God within the kingdom of men, this is especially good news,” said Rodney Reeves, Ph.D., when introducing Gilmore. “We are conferring on Gary today a degree of doctor in theology because he proved to be a soldier in the army of God’s kingdom, where the love of Christ is the weapon we use against the fallen powers of this world.”
Gilmore responded by saying he has simply been faithful in the path God has charted for him.
“The real purpose of our gathering today is to remind us all that the stewardship of our life honors God. Whatever your passion, whatever your skill set, wherever life takes you, the living of your life should serve others and glorify God,” he said. “A Christian with an education from SBU can change the world and, frankly, you are expected to. … It is my prayer that God will bless each of you as you allow the Great Commission and the mission of this university to transform your life.”
Alvin Rohrs of Dunnegan is president and CEO of Enactus (formerly known as SIFE), with world headquarters in Springfield, Mo. Enactus is an international non-profit organization that brings together student, academic and business leaders who are committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives and shape a better, more sustainable world. He received an Honorary Doctor of Business.
“Dr. Rohrs has poured his life into making a positive, sustainable impact on people around the world,” said Troy Bethards, D.B.A., dean of the College of Business and Computer Science and associate professor of business administration, when introducing Rohrs.
Rohrs has traveled the world — to all 50 states in the U.S. and more than 35 countries — met presidents, prime ministers, princes, princesses and is friends with some of the world’s most successful business leaders.
“So, students, if you ask yourself how far can a degree from SBU take you, my answer is, ‘All around the world and anywhere you want to go,’” Rohrs said. “It may be that you never leave Polk County, but the important thing is that you go where God takes you.”
About Founders’ Day
SBU was founded 136 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.
“We must recognize that we would not have survived if God’s grace was not aplenty and His hand not on this endeavor here at Southwest Baptist University,” said SBU President C. Pat Taylor, Ed.D.
Taylor further challenged students to really think about what Gilmore and Rohrs said.
“Your success begins today,” he said. “Don’t wait on God’s call until you graduate. You have a responsibility today. I would like to remind you that Jesus taught us that to whom much is given, much is required, and you have been given much.”
Also during the Founders’ Day chapel, Reeves was installed as the Courts Redford Chair of Biblical Studies, made possible by a donation from Al and Rosemary McCord. (See related press release for details.)