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.