Hilltop | Summer 2016

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BUILDING HOMES. BUILDING HOPE. Neighborhood Renewal Initiative in Marshall

Also Inside: Spring Commencement Homecoming 2016

Contributors Managing Editor Allison Peteet (’99) Assistant Vice President for Advancement | Director of Alumni Relations Publication Fluency Organization, Inc. Diane Kronmeyer Art Director Contributing Writers Emily Roberson Director of Marketing Adam Ledyard Sports Information Director Mike Midkiff Photos Andy Burnfield Ruel Felipe Emily Roberson Brendan Sceroler Mike Midkiff

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. [ PROVERBS 3:5-6 ]

University Leadership Dr. J. Blair Blackburn President Dr. Thomas Sanders Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Scott Bryant University Chaplain and Vice President for Spiritual Development Mr. Kevin Caffey Vice President for Enrollment and Administrative Affairs Mr. Ned Calvert Senior Vice President for Financial Affairs Dr. Heather Hadlock Vice President for Student Affairs Mr. Kent Reeves Director of Athletics Mrs. Susan Rossman Vice President for University Advancement Deans Dr. Joseph D. Brown Dean, Frank S. Groner School of Professional Studies Dr. Rebekah Grigsby Dean, School of Nursing Dr. Colleen Halupa Dean, Online Learning Dr. John L. Harris Dean, School of Christian Studies Dr. Lynn New Dean, School of Natural and Social Sciences Dr. Scott Ray Dean, Fred Hale School of Business Dr. John Sargent Dean, School of Education Dr. Jerry Summers Dean, School of Humanities Dr. Thomas R. Webster Dean, School of Communication and Performing Arts Mrs. Karen Wiley Dean, Academic Services and Institutional Research Hilltop is published by the Office of the President and University Advancement. For news or information, join us on Twitter: @ETBU www.etbu.edu

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President’s Message


Building Homes. Building Hope. Neighborhood Renewal Initiative Aims to Address Poverty in Marshall

10 Transforming the Marshall Community ETBU Neighborhood Renewal Initiative Repairs First Home New University Park Row Houses on ETBU Campus


14 Campus Happenings Tigers Transform the World for Christ Miss ETBU 2016 Meyer Lecture Series: Mission Focus

18 ETBU Sports Highlights ETBU Icon Bert West Retires from Coaching New Club Sports Coming


24 Faculty and Staff Dr. David Splawn Chair, Languages & Literature


26 Homecoming, Founders Day and the 100th Anniversary of Marshall Hall

32 Student Profile Senior Girl Call-Out‌The Tradition Continues

34 Donor Feature Blessed to Be a Blessing

36 2016 Spring Commencement



ETBU Awards 149 Degrees

Letters and comments can be sent to: alumni@etbu.edu

40 Alumni Feature ETBU Alum Competes on American Ninja Warrior

Update Online: Visit: www.etbu.edu/alumniupdate

42 Forever Missed. Never Forgotten. Honoring the Memory of Two Tigers

45 Accent on Alumni


Please send any information for publishing or change of personal information to: Alumni Relations East Texas Baptist University One Tiger Drive Marshall, TX 75670

President’s Message God is at work at ETBU! I hope you have already heard some of the good things God is doing in and through our students, faculty, and staff for His glory. I am amazed at how He continues to bless us every day with new opportunities to serve Him here in the Marshall community, across our nation, and around the world. You will read about some of God’s ongoing work in this issue of Hilltop, but I wanted to draw your attention to some specific ways God is moving at ETBU. Our spring enrollment increased in 2016, which is unusual for a university mid-year, but it is evidence that God is drawing more students to be a part of what He is doing here at ETBU. To accommodate our future growth, we are introducing ETBU’s first Club Sports. We are also expanding our residential options with the construction of ETBU’s University Park Row Houses. The University is pursuing the expansion of new academic programs to meet the educational needs of a wider diversity of students and their vocational career aspirations. Beginning this fall semester, the Bachelor of Science in Sport Management and a post-graduate Superintendent’s Certificate will be offered. Other bachelor’s and master’s degree programs currently under development include a Bachelor of Business Administration in Hotel and Hospitality Management, Bachelor of Science in Construction Management, Master of Science in Kinesiology, and Master of Education in College and University Leadership. These proposed programs are pending approval by our regional accrediting body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. In addition, we are also beginning online classes this fall to extend our reach to students whose schedules and lifestyles require greater flexibility and convenience. We will offer an online M.B.A. along with a bachelor’s degree completion program for adults. ETBU has a heart for Marshall and a love for our community. Read the feature story in this magazine entitled, “Building Homes. Building Hope.” to see a Godgiven, student-led partnership with the City of Marshall to change our community for the better. If we care about Marshall, if we care about its people, we must address the impoverished living conditions of our neighbors in need. As you read this story, I hope you will see how God’s power is already at work. God has always called ETBU to take the light from the Hill and share it throughout the Marshall community and beyond so that the entire world may see and be drawn to the light of God’s love. My prayer is that the Lord will bless our work together as we strive to live righteously, rising to shine among the nations. Isaiah 60:1, 2b says, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you...the Lord rises upon you and His glory appears over you.” May our light shine before others that all may see our good works and know that we are serving for the glory of the Lord. Let’s arise, shine, and serve!

Dr. J. Blair Blackburn President 4


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Building Homes. Building Hope. Neighborhood Renewal Initiative Aims to Address Poverty in Marshall When Jesus said to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, He must have had Marshall in mind. Marshall, Texas, is a beloved city in East Texas and is the home of East Texas Baptist University on Van Zandt Hill. The vibrant community is a small city with a big heart nestled among the Piney Woods where neighbors look out for each other and truly care about the children and families who live there.


TBU is implementing a broad new vision to demonstrate what it means to love our neighbors by taking bold steps to address poverty, promote economic growth in the Marshall community, and point people to Jesus Christ by giving them hope through the Neighborhood Renewal Initiative. The goal of this new program is for ETBU students, faculty, and staff to partner with the city to make a difference in the Marshall community one house, one street, and one neighborhood at a time. When President Blackburn was a recent guest on KMHT’s daily talk show The Talk of East Texas hosted by station manager and Texas State Representative Chris Paddie, he shared the rationale behind this unique vision for the University. “Our heart breaks for people in this city who by whatever means or circumstance live in impoverished conditions. So many of us enjoy comfortable housing, but we know there are families suffering in Marshall and Harrison County who need better quality housing.”

A Different Approach to Poverty Through the Neighborhood Renewal Initiative and the development of a Construction Management Program at



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ETBU, the University has partnered with the City of Marshall to tackle poverty with the full support of city leaders. “In other cities, economic development often comes in and doesn’t address the poverty; it just transfers it somewhere else,” stated President Blackburn. The Neighborhood Renewal Initiative does not displace poverty—instead, it transforms it into prosperity, hope, and a future for the people of Marshall. Through this program, ETBU students, faculty, and staff put servant leadership into action by transforming the City of Marshall’s abandoned and condemned homes, cleaning up the land owing back taxes, and building new affordable homes for families. The President explained this approach in an article published earlier this year by the Marshall News Messenger written by Caleb Brabham for the annual Progress Edition. “I believe that the institution, our faculty, and staff have a responsibility for investing in the city. What I am suggesting is the University be given the opportunity to take those lots, take those houses, and replace them with quality housing. Our ETBU students will build one or two houses a year to remove dilapidated homes and provide quality housing. The city benefits, the people benefit, and our students benefit.”

This spring the President met with Marshall City Manager Lisa Agnor and Planning and Development Director Wes Morrison to discuss how ETBU and the City could partner together in developing more housing for low- to moderate-income families within the city limits. He also addressed the City Commission on May 14 offering to do whatever it takes to positively impact lives in this community. Marshall City Commissioners unanimously voted to establish such a program with ETBU. Through the Neighborhood Renewal Initiative, the City will deed ETBU abandoned properties that have been taken off the tax rolls. In return, ETBU has committed to build low- to moderate-income housing. The homes are projected to be approximately 12001400 square feet with three bedrooms, two baths, and welcoming front porches. The architectural design of the homes is in keeping with the Colonial Georgian style seen on the ETBU campus and throughout the South.

Putting the Plan in Action This program is a win-win for the community and for students as they apply their learning about Christ-centered servant leadership in real settings. In an interview with Bridget Ortigo from the Marshall News Messenger in February 2016, President Blackburn explained, “This will show the students responsibility to the community. That is part of our mission, to transform the lives of our students so they can transform the lives of others. Rather than us telling them to give back to their community, this will show them how to do it.” Students are already leading the effort to build new affordable homes for families and recondition existing homes for people in need. A team of ETBU servant leaders worked in Marshall’s historic New Town Neighborhood over spring break to kick off the Neighborhood Renewal Initiative. Twenty-two student volunteers reconditioned a house for a single mother and her daughter. Their story is featured in this issue of Hilltop (p. 10). Several other dilapidated homes across from the campus on Grove Street have already been removed. By the fall semester of 2016, nine other homes will be refurbished, complementing the older neighborhood and adding value to the community. This initiative provides an immediate setting for students to apply their faith throughout their time at ETBU by reaching out to their own community. “We talk about our students going across the globe and having a global missions encounter. Our initial encounter is across the street. It’s in our neighborhood. We have poverty-stricken people in our community who are in need of hope. Through their servant leadership, our students will build homes and build hope for the people of Marshall,” the President explained. “We are excited about partnering with ETBU and the opportunities that will benefit our community as a whole,” said Morrison. “Revitalizing our existing neighborhoods and providing affordable housing for our residents plays a significant role in moving our city forward, and building these partnerships are instrumental in accomplishing those goals.” Cameron Burger is the new Director of Construction Management at ETBU who will guide the efforts of ETBU students, faculty, and staff in the Neighborhood Renewal Initiative. Mitchell Penny, a junior from Chandler, is one of many ETBU students who see the initiative as a way for him and his fellow classmates to be challenged to serve others as Christ commands. “For the most part, we as students sit on our comfortable campus not realizing the needs of people two blocks way,” Penny reflected. “Volunteering will get us out of our shell here on campus and share the love of Christ to those close to us.” ■



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“We are excited about partnering with ETBU and the opportunities that will benefit our community as a whole.”



Transforming the Marshall Community ETBU Neighborhood Renewal Initiative Repairs First Home The sounds of hammers hitting nails, the hum of a chop saw cutting new siding, and voices of busy volunteers filled the air on the inaugural workday of the Neighborhood Renewal Initiative through a course on servant leadership, LEAD 4301: Leadership for the Future. This past spring break 22 ETBU students spent their vacation helping a single mom and her daughter with much-needed repairs on their home located in Marshall’s historic New Town Neighborhood.


r. Tommy Sanders, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, and President J. Blair Blackburn led the program and worked side-by-side with students. The University students paid for most of the renovation costs themselves through their class tuition, with a handful of smaller donations. “We travel all over the world, but we want Marshall to know that we want to help our neighbors,” Provost Sanders said. Many people played a role in the effort to make it such a success. Randy Babin, Director of Missions for Soda Lake Baptist Association, identified a single mother in desperate need of home repairs. Every time it rained she had to put buckets in her daughter’s room to catch water from leaks in the roof. Other ETBU staff participated in volunteering throughout the project, as well as Carlton Davis, pastor of St. John’s Missionary Baptist Church in Marshall. The students learned how to do many things they never before encountered. The leadership of Sanders and the hard work by the volunteers enabled the team to be successful and complete the entire home restoration in only five days.



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The team worked 10-hour days to replace the roof, trim, shutters, soffits, fascia, and siding. They also painted the home’s exterior and improved the landscaping. “I was amazed by the capacity of our students to put their faith in action toward the goal of providing better housing for a family in Marshall,” Sanders said. “They sacrificed each day to make the end goal possible.” The homeowner expressed deep appreciation for the volunteers’ work. “My daughter and I were so blessed for what has been done because I had no way of paying for the repairs that were needed,” she said. “I don’t have to worry about roof leaks anymore. I am very grateful to ETBU. To God be the glory.” Senior Clarissa Montoya was glad to spend her spring break in service to others. “I decided to help because I wanted to make an impact in our community,” Montoya said. “I know it can be hard for a single mom to provide what she wants for her daughter. I knew this would be good for them because it was one less worry for the mom.” When junior Desirae Pearcy heard about the opportunity to serve

“We travel all over the world, but we want Marshall to know that we want to help our neighbors.” — Dr. Tommy Sanders, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Hilltop

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MARSHALL COMMUNITY FACTS ON POVERTY ❰ 23% of the population in the City of Marshall lives in poverty* ❰ The Marshall Independent School District has a student enrollment of 5,000+ ❰ MISD reports 75% of students are economically disadvantaged *According to the most recent data from the 2015 Census Bureau, Towncharts.com.

with the spring break project, she had already been thinking about what God wanted her to do. “I enjoyed working with my fellow classmates in order to bless this sweet family,” she said. Some students, like James Mauldin, received three hours of leadership credit for taking this opportunity to serve others. Although he had never done construction work



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before, he wanted to try something out of his comfort zone. Senior Chandler Frazer also received credit for his minor in Leadership Studies by participating in the project. He shared what he learned that week, saying, “You don’t have to be in the highest position in order to be a leader. You can be a leader by serving, too.” ■

Van Zandt Street Elevation – University Park Row Houses

New University Park Row Houses on ETBU Campus Summer 2016 marks the beginning of Phase 1 for construction of the University Park Row Houses to coincide with the neighborhood improvement efforts ETBU is making throughout the Marshall community. These beautiful new residences set among the trees where the former Van Zandt apartments were located will provide homes for the ETBU campus community for generations to come.


onstruction on two attached row house buildings in the same classical Georgian style that complements the design of the central campus is already underway. This housing opportunity will be available to married students, upperclassmen, graduate students, staff, and faculty. The row houses will consist of 10 units, offering three-bedroom/three-bath or one-bedroom/one-bath models. The three-bedroom homes will be 1,767 square feet, and the one-bedroom homes will be 900 square feet. Each building is 14,270 square feet and each will house up to 44 residents. University Park Row Houses residents will enjoy other amenities, including access to a small lake and the running trail behind the property. The row houses are also convenient to all the activities hosted at the Veterans Memorial Tennis Complex, Anderson Sports Complex, Taylor

Softball Field, and Intramural Sports Field. The existing Van Zandt apartments, constructed in the early 1970s, had reached the end of their life cycle and will be replaced with the new construction designed by the architectural firm BMA Architects. The most exciting motivation behind the project is the need to accommodate recent increases in enrollment at ETBU. Dr. Heather Hadlock, Vice President for Student Affairs, said, “We’ve had enrollment increases of 6.2 percent this spring with our traditional, full-time students, and we’ve had an overall increase of 3.5 percent this spring.” Naming opportunities are available for each building, including each of the 20 units. Contact Vice President for Advancement Susan Rossman for more information. Phase 1 of the University Park Row Houses is scheduled to be completed in time for the fall semester of 2017. ■

“But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” JOSHUA 24:15 Hilltop

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Campus Happenings Tigers Transform the World for Christ Highlights from Spring Break 2016 Spring break is a well-deserved time for students to enjoy time away from their classes, studying, and taking tests. Instead of going home this year, several students elected to join faculty and staff to serve in one of four unique service opportunities that took them across town, throughout the United States, and around the world. A team of ETBU students served locally in Marshall doing needed repairs on a home owned by a single mother with a young daughter. Their story is featured in this issue of Hilltop. Nine others traveled to Belize in Central America to work on a water well project alongside an Athens-based ministry called Hope Springs Water. The Texas ministry’s mission is to provide safe water, sanitation, and public health education to developing countries. “The purpose of the trip was to fix wells in villages so that [people] could have clean water,” said sophomore Nycole Renfrow of Nederland. She explained that their efforts in improving personal hygiene for the community also became a powerful opening to teach others about the love of Christ. Dr. Lisa Seeley, ETBU Director of Global Education and the Great Commission Center, and her husband, Scott, pastor of Nesbit Baptist Church, accompanied the students. A third team of ETBU students participated in a Habitat for Humanity event through the national Collegiate Challenge in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. ETBU Vice President of Spiritual Development Dr. Scott Bryant led the group and praised their positive attitudes and hard work. Bryant added, “I was most impressed by their desire to be a strong witness for Christ. They took the challenge seriously to be a bright light for Christ, and they were great ambassadors for Christ the entire week.” The students focused on repairing a home for a lady whose home was in disrepair. Senior Taylor Turley of Orange explained, “We built a new exterior wall



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around her laundry room, put vinyl siding on the outside, and built a lean-to building on the back of the house. We also tore down sheet rock in the living room in order to repair the damage from a leaky roof.” On the last day of spring break, students still had plenty of energy left to install appliances, cabinets, and trim on another Habitat home. The ETBU Baptist Student Ministry, led by Director Mark Yates, once again participated in the annual Beach Reach ministry of the Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT) on South Padre Island. A total of 35 ETBU students and staff joined other BSMs from around Texas. Beach Reach offers life-changing conversations about Christ, prayer, free van rides, and all-you-can-eat pancakes as a ministry to other spring break students who descend on South Padre from across the United States. According to Yates, “It’s amazing what happens when you simply ask, ‘How can I pray for you?’ Many spring breakers just unload their concerns and choose to stay on the van to have spiritual conversations.” Other ministries included a Christian-themed sand sculpture each day and street/beach evangelism. This year Beach Reach also supplied meals for police and emergency response personnel. Each meal had a note with encouragement, scripture, and a prayer. According to the BGCT, at the end of the week 11,000 people were served pancakes, 17,316 rides were given, 154 people came to faith in Jesus, and 52 people were baptized! ■


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Campus Happenings Brittany Smith Crowned Miss ETBU 2016 When Brittany Smith heard her name announced as Miss ETBU 2016, she was not sure it was her. “My first reaction was as if they had made a mistake,” Smith said afterwards. “I did not believe it at first. My stomach kind of dropped when everyone started applauding. I heard ‘contestant number six,’ and said to myself, That’s me. I stepped up and still did not believe it. I am so blessed to be named Miss ETBU.” The Miss East Texas Baptist University Scholarship Pageant is an annual tradition sponsored by the Student Government Association and is designed to select a young lady who best represents the Christ-centered values of ETBU and also serves as a servant leader. Smith, a sophomore

“I am so blessed to be named Miss ETBU.” BRITTANY SMITH, MISS ETBU 2016



Nursing major, was crowned Miss ETBU 2016 at the 60th Miss ETBU Pageant held April 2 in Baker Chapel within the Ornelas Spiritual Life Center. Traci Ledford, ETBU Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Theatre Arts, served as Mistress of Ceremonies. The contestants were judged on a Summer 2016

personal interview, evening wear, talent, and topic and answer. The results also included online voting by the ETBU community. Smith is the daughter of Steve and Sharon Jones and came to Marshall from Los Angeles, California, to attend ETBU. She has served as a Resident Assistant in Centennial Hall and is a worship leader of a ministry organization called Charge. A member of the Dean’s List, Smith has received several academic and Christian leadership scholarships. She attends Praise Temple in Marshall. After graduating with her Nursing degree, she plans to work in a hospital emergency room for a few years to prepare her to work one day in medical missions with children overseas. Smith is creative with her use of free time and enjoys singing, playing the guitar, and painting. Miss ETBU 2015, Morgan Garrett of Coushatta, Louisiana, along with ETBU Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Heather Hadlock and Student Government Association President Gavin McAdam, crowned the new winner before a large and enthusiastic crowd of fans. Hannah McGowin, a sophomore Mass Communication major from Nederland, was selected first runner-up. Selected second runner-up was sophomore Nursing major Lauren McCollum of Midlothian. Corrie Andrews of Cypress, a junior Elementary Education major, was named Miss Congeniality. Additional Miss ETBU 2016 contestants included: sophomore Kayla Barrentine of Canton, sophomore Jaci Telles of Nederland, junior Kaitlyn Iseminger of Richmond, junior Brinsley Chance of Port Neches, junior Natile Orr of Lumberton, junior Lexi Pyle of Beaumont, and junior Tori Turner of Garland. ■

Meyer Lecture Series: Mission Focus Peter Greer, the president of Hope International, challenged the University to remain true to God’s mission for ETBU when he was the keynote speaker at the Meyer Lecture Series April 4. He shared ideas from his book Mission Drift: The Unspoken Crisis Facing Leaders, Charities, and Churches co-written with Chris Horst, vice president of development at Hope International—a global faith-based microfinance organization serving entrepreneurs throughout Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and Eastern Europe. Greer spoke in the morning chapel service as well as at a luncheon regarding the temptation of Christian institutions to lose sight of their purpose. He shared that faith-based organizations, if not careful, can drift from their founding mission, using examples like Harvard and the YMCA—both of which have drifted from the Christian principles on which they were founded. Greer also related a story about a public foundation that wanted to financially support the work that he was doing with a large gift. But they made a stipulation that the money would be given only if he promised not to talk about Christianity. “That stipulation caused me to ask how important the spiritual aspect of what we do is,” said Greer. “I wanted it to work. I wanted to find a way to receive that check because the gift would do a lot of good for many families. In good conscience, we could not take the check.” This encounter started a conversation regarding mission drift. Organizations must realize that the natural course every organization will follow is a course of drift. “Drift means we just are not doing anything. Drift means we are not paying attention. So, silently and slowly it is bringing us away.” Greer explained, “We started to ask what our mission was, was it worth protecting, and was it for sale?” Greer’s research also shows how a faith-based organization can remain “mission true” and detailed what that type of organization looks like. “They are clear at the core of who they are. We found that faith matters. There is clarity on organizations that remain mission true. That our faith is the most precious

thing we have,” he said. Greer added, “Organizations that score high on clarity of who they are and intentional on what they do, remain mission true and do not drift.” He concluded his remarks by saying that the issue of mission drift is “not an organizational issue at all. This is a heart issue. My highest prayer for all [is], ‘Here is my heart Lord, take it and seal it. Help me remain on mission, help me never to grow lukewarm, and help me live my life in faithful obedience to Your love and grace.’” Under the Leadership of Dr. Jerry Summers, Chair of the Integration of Faith and Learning Committee, the faculty read the book and discussed it in schools, departments, and cross-disciplinary discussion groups. Additionally, all staff members received a copy of the book. The Meyer Lecture series is made possible through the generosity of Houston businessman and ETBU Trustee, Phillip Meyer. Meyer attended East Texas Baptist College from 1976-1978 before going to the University of Houston. Meyer has worked for over 30 years in oil and gas products manufacturing and distribution. ■ Hilltop

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ETBU Sports Highlights ETBU Icon Bert West Retires from Coaching In March 2016 Bert West announced his retirement from coaching the men’s basketball team after serving at ETBU for 22 years. He leads the University in all-time wins with 303 victories. West coached college and high school teams to over 800 victories in his career.

“West bleeds blue KENT REEVES, and gold.” ETBU DIRECTOR OF ATHLETICS


e will certainly miss watching Coach West on the Tiger sideline. He has been a great ambassador for ETBU throughout Marshall, the American Southwest Conference, this region, and these past two years even on the national scene,” said ETBU Director of Athletics Kent Reeves. West has served at ETBU on two separate occasions from 1991-98 and 2000-16 as the head coach and won championships both periods. He set the program record for wins at 28 in 1995-96, winning the Big State Conference when ETBU was in the NAIA. During the 2014-15 season he guided ETBU to a 26-6 record, winning



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the American Southwest Conference regular season and tournament championships. That team went on to win the next three rounds in the NCAA Division III national tournament while finishing in the Elite 8. This past season the team won Tiger Basketball’s second American Southwest Conference East Division championship with a 12-3 record. In his time in NCAA Division III, 46 players earned an American Southwest Conference award: 16 All-ASC Freshmen team players, eight All-ASC players, five All-ASC Tournament players, four ASC East Defensive Players of the Year, three ASC East Players of the Year, and one ASC Tournament MVP. “How can you offer one quote that embodies the legendary leadership of Bert West? A man of deep Christian faith with a love for God, his family, our University, and his players, Coach West’s investment has and will produce Kingdom results not for just years but for generations to come,” said President J. Blair Blackburn. The President appointed Coach West Tiger Coach Emeritus upon his retirement. West came to ETBU as a student-athlete and graduated in 1972. He played for ETBU Athletic Hall of Fame Coach R.C. Kennedy and went into coaching after graduating. West had a stellar high school coaching career in Louisiana. He won four straight Louisiana High School state championships at Zwolle High School before returning to his alma mater in 1991. Even though West is retiring, he will continue to serve the Athletic Department as a mentor to young coaches and a game administrator. His legacy will forever be etched in the history of men’s Tiger Basketball for using the gifts God gave him to make a difference in so many lives. ■

New Club Sports Coming Intercollegiate Athletics and Club Sports provide more sports opportunities and engage more students in campus life. ETBU is introducing five new Club Sports for 2016-2017 including Bass Fishing, Ice Hockey, Rugby, Rodeo, and Pom. Tiger Bass Fishing Bass fishing is one of the fastest growing emerging club sports on high school and college campuses, with over 300 collegiate angler teams across America. In March, ETBU became the first university ever to sign with Skeeter Boats, the #1 performance bass boat in the world. The partnership came through God-ordained connections between ETBU and Skeeter Boats Executive Vice President Jeff Stone. Stone said, “We are extremely excited to partner with East Texas Baptist University in their efforts to bring the sport of bass fishing to their great school but most importantly to join them in achieving their mission of standing as a Christcentered institution of higher learning.” ETBU will also offer scholarships to anglers who will be on the team.

Tiger Ice Hockey The Tiger Ice Hockey program has partnered with the Shreveport Mud Bugs, members of the North American Hockey League, and will share ice on George’s Pond at

Hirsch Coliseum in Shreveport, Louisiana. “We want to see these players holistically challenged and changed, and God can use hockey to do that,” explained President Blackburn. “The addition of this new program will draw more quality young men of strong faith and character who are dedicated to excelling on the ice and in life.” Tiger Ice Hockey will be affiliated with the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) as a Division II club team and will play club teams from North Texas, Texas State, LSU, TCU, and Arkansas.

Additional Club Sports ETBU is also pleased to announce the addition of Tiger Rugby for both men and women for the fall of 2016. This international sport is another emerging trend in the United States and is making its way to East Texas. Sam Brock, former Loyola University coach and director for the Shreveport Area Rugby Club, will lead both programs along with Devin Cummings, Director of Intramural Sports. Tiger Rodeo and Tiger Pom will round out our new offerings for students. ■


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ETBU Sports Highlights Track & Field Both the Tiger men’s and women’s Track and Field teams finished fourth in the team standings at the 2016 American Southwest Conference Track and Field Championship Meet. Two ETBU athletes placed first in their events. Carmen Bush, a sophomore from Houston, finished first in the triple jump with a leap of 35' 1.75". Junior Cody Blankenship of Hallsville won his third consecutive ASC Championship in the high jump. Blankenship cleared 6' 7.5" to win. Both Bush and Blankenship were named to the All-ASC Track and Field teams. Blankenship qualified to compete in the NCAA Division III National Meet held in Waverly, Iowa, at Wartburg College. He is the first track and field athlete in ETBU history to be an NCAA qualifier to the national meet. Blankenship (high jump) and Zach Biles (pole vault) are the first-ever men’s Track and Field team members from ETBU to be named to the USTFCCCA All-Region team.

Tennis The ETBU Tennis program had an excellent spring season under Head Coach Jeff Bramlett. The Tiger men’s and women’s tennis teams finished second in the American Southwest Conference Championship Tournament. Senior Kayla Casey was selected to compete in the NCAA Division III National Tournament as an individual. Casey was ranked #10 in the ITA national rankings as the spring season came to a close and had a spring match record of 15-1. She was honored by the ASC as the ASC East Division Most Valuable Player, Newcomer of the Year, and Sportsman Athlete of the Year. Coach Bramlett was named ASC East Coach of the Year. Earning All-ASC honors for Lady Tiger Tennis were Kayla Casey, Kate Bramlett, Kellie Cawthon, and Mullika Seekhieo. Casey and Bramlett earned All-ASC first-team for #1 doubles. Seven players on the men’s team earned All-ASC. Reid Adams was voted the ASC East Sportsmanship Athlete of the Year. Cody Highsmith became ETBU’s first-ever All-ASC first-team selection. He was voted onto the #4 singles position. Five Tigers made the All-ASC second-team in singles including Tyler Tolopka, Connor Mason, Dillon Deatherage, Ryan Pearce, and Reid Adams. The doubles teams of Deatherage/Pearce and Mason/Rollin Houk earned All-ASC second-team doubles honors. 20


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Baker Chapel in Ornelas Spiritual Life Center 1:00-3:00 p.m.

May 31-June 2, 2017


September 9, 2016

ETBU Sports Highlights

Softball ETBU Tiger Softball ended their successful season at the regional level after making their 10th appearance in the NCAA Division III Regional Championship Tournament. The Tigers received the automatic qualifier to the NCAA Regional tournament after winning the 2016 American Southwest Conference Softball Championship. The team captured the program’s eighth ASC championship with a 2-0 win over No. 1 nationally-ranked University of Texas at Tyler Patriots. The Tigers had one win over the University of Texas at Dallas and two wins over UT Tyler to claim the conference tournament championship. ETBU finished the year at 35-10. Eight players earned All-ASC Awards for the 2016 season. Lacey Lindsey, Jayme Perez, Raquel Tello, Linzie Lewis, and Lyndsey Vasquez were all named to the All-ASC first-team. During the season, Lindsey broke the ASC record for most career homeruns. On the ASC secondteam was Kaitlyn Hollingshead and Alexis Padilla. Jessica Bowden was a third-team at-large selection. When the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) released the West-All Region awards, six Lady Tigers received honors. Earning the All-Region first-team were Lacey Lindsey and Jayme Perez for the third year in a row. On the secondteam were Raquel Tello, Linzie Lewis, Lindsey Vasquez, and Alexis Padilla. For the third straight year, Lacey Lindsey and Jayme Perez were selected to the NFCA All-American Team, making them the first three-time All-Americans in ETBU Tiger Softball program history.

Baseball At the beginning of the 2016 season, ETBU Tiger Baseball was picked to finish sixth in the American Southwest Conference. When the regular season ended, 22


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Head Coach Jared Hood led the team to a second place finish that allowed them to host the Red Bracket of the ASC Baseball Championship Tournament. The Tigers lost in the Red Bracket Championship game to Hardin-Simmons, finishing the year with 31 wins (the most wins since the 34 wins posted in 2005). Ten players garnered spots on the All-ASC teams. First basemen Conner Combs became ETBU’s first-ever CoSIDA Academic All-American first-team selection. He was also voted the CoSIDA Academic AllAmerican for NCAA Division III baseball. He was then voted as the American Southwest Conference “Athlete of the Year,” a first for ETBU, and was also the Distinguished ScholarAthlete and Player of the Year for ASC Baseball. Coach Hood and his staff notched the Coaching Staff of the Year title. Combs, Tyler Bates, and Zach Compton gained D3Baseball. com All-West Region honors. Combs, Bates, Compton, Dynas Doud, and Ashley Dukesll all received ASC first-team honors. Jimmy Russo earned second-team and Kam Sumrall was selected third-team. Gaining honorable mention were Jaxon Rader, Josh Warbington, and Ernest Perez. ETBU led the nation in NCAA Division III for most homeruns hit by a team with 71 round trippers. Both Combs and Bates were named All-Americans by ABCA/Rawlings and were second-team All-American selections. Combs also garnered a spot on the D3Baseball.com All-America third-team. Bates made ETBU Tiger Baseball history when he was selected by the Los Angeles Angels in the 38th round of the MLB draft, becoming just the second ETBU Tiger to be drafted by an MLB club. ■

SAVE THE DATES! Hosted by President J. Blair Blackburn and First Lady Michelle Blackburn Contact the University Advancement Office for more information and a detailed itinerary: travelingtigers@etbu.edu âœŻ 903-923-2071

Splendors of Italy Tour May 19-27, 2017

See the many splendors of Italy, including Rome, Tuscany, Venice, and more on this professionally guided tour. $1,668 per person, based on double occupancy $400 single supplement Airfare additional Deadline is 2/17/17

Faculty and Staff I won’t forget the Hispanic student who told me that he had never liked to read. He had also never felt like a book had anything to say to him. After reading Don Quixote, everything changed. That book made him love reading. He went out and bought his own copy that was published in Spanish and English so that he could read it in both languages. That was the first book he ever bought that was not a textbook. I would like to see all my students have that kind of experience with a text.

HILLTOP: How do you integrate faith and learning in your classroom?

Dr. David Splawn

Chair, Languages & Literature


r. David Splawn has served two years as the Chair of the Department of Languages & Literature in the English Department at ETBU. He also serves as sponsor for Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honor society. Through this organization, students have the opportunity to publish their creative work and critical essays in the Sigma Tau Delta journals, The Sigma Tau Delta Review, and The Rectangle. Dr. Splawn took some time to answer some questions for Hilltop about his love of teaching and the difference he is making in students’ lives.

HILLTOP: What do you enjoy about the teaching profession? And how do you know you are making a difference in the lives of others? I enjoy the challenge of finding ways to make students care about things that they may not know they need to care about.



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I show my students how the “One” story of human life on planet earth has been recorded through the pages of all of the many stories that have ever been written. In that “One” story you will inevitably find the story of God and how humans have responded to Him, ran from Him, doubted Him, looked for Him, cursed Him, disobeyed Him, and found a number of different ways to pursue all the wrong things instead of Him. This concept is foundational to my literature and film courses. It is something we visit and revisit in a variety of ways throughout a semester.

HILLTOP: Who is your favorite author and why? Can I choose a film auteur, instead of an author in the traditional sense? If so, Clint Eastwood. He makes movies that are both loved by audiences and good examples of filmmaking skill for teaching in class. Few filmmakers have delved into telling the variety of stories that Eastwood has, with as much skill and power as he has. If not, James Joyce. That needs no explanation, right?

Ph.D. English – Texas Tech University M.A. English – University of East Anglia M.A. Intercultural Ministry – Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary B.A. Religion – Wayland Baptist University

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Construction of Marshall Hall, 1915-1916


On October 22, 2016, ETBU will celebrate Founders Day during Homecoming as the two dates coincide. The University will also mark the 100th anniversary of the opening of historic Marshall Hall in 1916. 26


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SCHEDULE OF EVENTS Homecoming 2016: A Tribute to Texas

Founders Day The College of Marshall was the dream of William T. Tardy, pastor of First Baptist Church in Marshall. His dream became a reality on October 22, 1912, when the charter as a Christian institution and junior college was established. Thurman C. Gardner of Tennessee became the first president of the college situated on Van Zandt Hill in northwest Marshall. The College of Marshall was renamed East Texas Baptist College in 1944 and became East Texas Baptist University in 1984. Founders Day is always a special time in the life of the University to reflect back on our Christian foundation and to look forward to God’s future blessings. We are hoping ETBU alumni, former faculty, friends of the University, and other special guests will join us for a grand celebration as we mark Homecoming and Founders Day, along with the 100th birthday of Marshall Hall.

Marshall Hall Turns 100 Years Old Construction began on Marshall Hall in the hot summer days of 1915 and was completed in 1916 at a cost of $80,000. The trustees conveyed the property deed for the College of Marshall to the Educational Board of the Baptist General Convention of Texas in November 1912, the same year as its charter. Fundraising campaigns yielded local contributions, and the Baptist General Convention of Texas provided additional funds to complete the original facilities, including dormitory space. After establishing the classical Georgian style four-story educational and office space, the first class of freshmen was registered in 1917 under President Henry Eugene Watters. Nine teaching faculty began their work, and by 1918 approximately 300 students were enrolled in classes at Marshall Hall to study a variety of subject areas including Bible, Mathematics, Agriculture, Journalism, English, Typewriting, Physics, Chemistry, Bookkeeping, Piano, and History among other courses. As part of the Homecoming and Founders Day celebration this year, the University will display the contents of the time capsule placed in the original cornerstone of Marshall Hall 100 years ago! â–

Friday, October 21 8:00 a.m.

Registration Ornelas Student Center

10:00 a.m.

Alumni Awards Chapel Golden Blazer and Golden Lightkeeper Ceremony Baker Chapel Ornelas Spiritual Life Center

11:30 a.m.

Homecoming Award Recipient Luncheon Woods/Cornish Great Rooms Ornelas Student Center

For Homecoming Award, Golden Blazer, and Golden Lightkeeper recipients, and their families

2:00 p.m.

Tiger Table Games: Bridge/Dominoes/Billiards Huffman Activities Area Ornelas Student Center

7:00 p.m.

Blue Revue: A Fine Arts Event Recital Hall Jenna Guest Music Building

8:30 p.m.

Late Night Pancake Breakfast Bennett Student Commons

10:00 p.m.

Tiger Pep Rally The Quad


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ETBU Sports Highlights

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS Saturday, October 22 8:00 a.m.

Registration Ornelas Student Center

9:00 a.m.

Homecoming Parade Downtown Marshall

10:00 a.m.

Faith of Our Fathers Display Huffman Activities Area Ornelas Student Center

10:00 a.m.

1960s Decade Reunion: 1966 Honor Class Hogue Room Ornelas Student Center

1970s Decade Reunion: 1976 Honor Class Woods Great Room Ornelas Student Center

1980s/1990s Decade Reunion: 1991 Honor Class Cornish Great Room Ornelas Student Center

11:15 a.m.

Foundations of Our Faith East lawn of Marshall Hall

1:00 p.m.

Tiger Family Carnival (lasts until 4:00 p.m.) The Grove Everyone Welcome!

4:00 p.m.

Tiger Alley Tailgating The Grove

6:00 p.m.

ETBU vs. Howard Payne University Ornelas Football Stadium



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1960s Decade Reunion: 1966 Honor Class

1970s Decade Reunion: 1976 Honor Class



1980s/1990s Decade Reunion: 1991 Honor Class

See you at The Grove for the Tiger Family Carnival!


10:00 a.m. • Saturday, October 22 Hogue Room, Ornelas Student Center


10:00 a.m. • Saturday, October 22 Cornish Great Room, Ornelas Student Center


10:00 a.m. • Saturday, October 22 Woods Great Room, Ornelas Student Center


1:00 p.m. • Saturday, October 22 Hilltop

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AWARD WINNERS ETBU Sports Highlights

2016 GOLDEN BLAZERS: Roger Chapman (’43) John and Alice Hatch (’67, ’70) Rutledge McClaran (’61) Wallace Watkins (’63) 2010 GOLDEN BLAZERS Amon Baker (’51) Joynelle Baker (’53) George Bennett (’43) B.G. Bockman (’49) Frank H. Brooks (’55) Shirley Brooks (’55) Barbara Brunt (’60) J. Frank Brunt (’59) Pamela Coursey (’83) Mary Jean Craig (’48) Catherine Crawford (’74) Norma Jean Folmar (’57) Mary Fortenberry (’50) Elizabeth Gill (’49) Lois Grammer (’51) R. Gene Grammer (’51) Harlan Hall (’54) Gerald Hamilton (’83)

L. Annette Harrison (’51) Miekle Hoffman (’50) Joe Hogue (’56) Gladys Hudson (’47) Barbara Huffman (’59) Robert Hurtte (’51) Sheila Hurtte (’51) Charles Kennedy (’68) Rayford Lewis (’64) Susan Livingston (’64) Joe Lovelace (’42) Ethel Minyard (’57) Glenda Nelson (’60) Earle Oldham (’52) Charles Slaten (’50) Doyle Taylor (’61) Earl Taylor (’61) Margaret Unkel (’54) Helen Williamson (’43)


and Christina Anderson


2011 GOLDEN BLAZERS Janell Atkinson (’59) Anita Everett (’57) Bill Everett (’57) Charles Fry (’50) Alicia Grohman (’76) Tyrell Grohman (’76) James O. Rogers (’52) Jim Teague (’68) 2012 GOLDEN BLAZERS Dane Fowlkes (’82) Lucyann Hopkins (’67) Paul Tapp (’69) Carolyn Wilkinson (’67) 2013 GOLDEN BLAZERS Ned Calvert (’95) Tim Cline (’90)

Major General (Ret.) Vernon B. Lewis (’49-’52, ’12) Katherine Moore Spears (’77) 2014 GOLDEN BLAZERS Morris Brock (’54) E. Leon Carter (’80) Billy Foote (’60-65, ’09) Jana Sims (’96) Mike Templeton (’64) 2015 GOLDEN BLAZERS James Best (‘55) Robert Duvall (‘63) Bonnie Hester (‘49) Joe Jones (‘52) Dr. Ben Raimer (‘69)




LaDarius Carter (’10)

Karen (Powell) Wiley (’82)

Sam Baxter



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Charles Snyder (’59)

Earl Taylor (’61)

Roddy Stinson (’61)

2016 Homecoming Registration Form Name_________________________________________________________________________ Class Year_______________ Spouse’s Name__________________________________________________________________ Spouse’s Class Year________ Mailing Address_________________________________________________________________________________________ City__________________________________________________________ State____________ Zip_____________________ Home Number_____________________________________ Cell Number___________________________________________ Email________________________________________________________________________________________________ COSTS: Friday October 21, 2016 Blue Revue

No. of Tickets_____________ at $5/ticket: $_____________

Late Night Pancake Breakfast

No. of Tickets_____________ at $5/ticket: $_____________

Saturday, October 22, 2016 1960s Decade Reunion: 1966 Honor Class

No. of Tickets____________ at $10/ticket: $_____________

1970s Decade Reunion: 1976 Honor Class

No. of Tickets____________ at $10/ticket: $_____________

1980s/1990s Decade Reunion: 1991 Honor Class

No. of Tickets____________ at $10/ticket: $_____________

GRAND TOTAL: $_____________

___ Yes! We plan to eat lunch in the ETBU Dining Hall. (Cost is $7.75 per person at the door)

No. of people_____________________

Registration Due by October 10, 2016. You may register and pay online at etbu.edu/hc2016 or submit registration form and payment by mail to: East Texas Baptist University Alumni Office One Tiger Drive Marshall, TX 75670 PAYMENT OPTIONS: PAYMENT: n Check Enclosed

n Cash Enclosed





CARD #:___________________________________________ EXPIRATION DATE: ________ / ________ CARD SECURITY CODE: ______________ NAME ON CARD:________________________________________________________________________ BILLING ZIP CODE: __________________ SIGNATURE:______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Please make your check payable to: East Texas Baptist University Hilltop

Summer 2016


Student Profile


Senior Girl Call-Out...The Tradition Continues


enior Girl Call-Out is a beautiful ceremony honoring senior women who best reflect the Christ-centered values of the University. This time-honored event returned for its 69th year on Friday, April 15, 2016, on the front lawn of Marshall Hall to honor the 2015-2016 Senior Girl Call-Out Gabrielle Besch of Bonham. Twenty-three senior girls participated this year along with their “little sisters” who are underclassmen chosen by the seniors. Charlotte Keifer of Cypress was the little sister of Besche. First Lady Michelle Blackburn presented Besch with an engraved crystal vase filled with yellow roses of Texas. Besch is an Elementary Education major with a specialization in English/Language Arts. Her

parents are Jared and Jennifer Besch, and she is a member of First Baptist Church in Bonham where she has volunteered in Vacation Bible School and a nursing home ministry. She has also served as a Disciple Now youth and children’s leader. Miss Sallie Duncan initiated Senior Girl Call-Out in 1947 during her role as Dean of Women. The script for the elegantly simple ceremony, written by former librarian Dr. Mary K. Armstrong, has remained the same for 69 years. According to tradition, the ETBU faculty and staff honor one young woman as the Senior Girl Call-Out who is “courteous, kind, loves scholarship, appreciates beauty, and shows evidence in her daily living of spiritual perception and reverence.” ■

Senior Girl Call-Out Participants Jordan Anderson of Marshall, her little sister Mackenzie Fioto of Frisco; Jessie Boone of Dickinson, her little sister Hannah Beggs of Hawkins; Lynze Boriski of Winsboro, her little sister Kayla Gaston of Marshall; Shelby Campbell of Channelview, her little sister Katelyn Sowell of Channelview; Amber Carver of Lufkin, her little sister Lauren Lee of Chireno; Morgan Garrett of Coushatta, La., her little sister Taylee Alexander of Rowlett; Jayce Greer of Chester, her little sister Mallory Kauffman of Sugarland; Alicen Guedry of Beaumont, her little sister Madelyn Smith of McKinney; Anna Gutierrez of Humble, her little sister Vicky Gutierrez of McAllen; Ashley Johnson of Troup, her little sister Amanda McAllister of Frisco; Danielle Kenebrew of Lufkin, her little sister Arlette Henderson of Houston; Sasha Kotowych of Humble, her little sister Erin Miller of Lumberton; Erica McAllister of Frisco, her little sister Stephanie Asher of Houston; Clarissa Montoya of Wylie, her little sister Jaci Telles of Nederland; Crystal Rimes of Marshall, her little sister Ebony Abrone of Marshall; Samantha Rios of Joshua, her little sister Maria Franco of Longview; Lydia Sanchez of Marshall, her little sister Elizabeth Coti of Longview; Rachel Sirman of Keithville, La., her little sister Caroline Hayman of Houston; Stevi Slaughter of Longview, her little sister Caitlin Alverson of Katy; Lauren Elizabeth Stevens of Cochrane, Alberta, Canada, her little sister Paige Stevens, Cochrane, Alberta, Canada; Caitlin Still of Rowlett, her little sister Rebekah Still of Rowlett; Morgan Walters of Longview, her little sister Bailey Weinzapfel of Rowlett.



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Help Grow ETBU Enrollment and Refer a Future Tiger

May the Light on the Hill Never Die

Contact the Admissions Office at 903-923-2000 or 800-804-ETBU or visit www.etbu.edu/refer for a student referral form.

Donor Feature Blessed to Be a Blessing


s. Esther Ando is the youngest of eight children born to Japanese immigrants who came to the United States in the early 1900s. Her family believes Baptist missionaries were instrumental in helping them come to America. Ando’s mother, Nami Uno Ando, became very involved with a Baptist Women’s Group while living in Almeda, Texas. Kumahachi Ando and Nami Uno Ando initially came to the United States to escape turmoil in Japan and seek a better life. They planned to save enough money to return to Japan one day. However, they became engrained into American society, established strong roots in the Almeda community, and Texas became home. Ando was born in Hitchcock, Texas, in 1924. God blessed her with good parents, she explained, recalling fond memories of her one sister, Irene, and six older brothers growing up together. Looking back, she realizes her family protected her from the turbulence swirling around Japanese Americans in World War II. When the war began Ando had just graduated from high school. She remembers how frightened she was when the FBI and other officials came to their farm in Almeda in 1942 to interrogate her parents. Ando’s father was taken outside for questioning, but one of the agents sensed her fright and told her not to worry. The entire Ando family considered themselves Americans first, Japanese second, so it was difficult for them to understand the animosity from other Americans. Seven of the eight children were born in America. Ando never visited Japan,

but her mother was very traditional and stressed the importance of honoring family and building a strong legacy. Three of her brothers served in the United States military, and her oldest and youngest brothers attended Texas A&M University. Although the youngest son was an American, he lost his commission but was then drafted into the military service where he gladly served throughout his entire career. He even worked at a high level at the Central Intelligence Agency until his retirement.

Esther Ando never imagined how God would bring her to ETBU. Now she has decided to bless others.



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Ando’s mother raised all of her children in the Baptist church. The church, along with her sister, encouraged Ando to attend the College of Marshall as a place where she would find fellowship with other Christians and be protected from the growing hostility against people of Japanese heritage. Ando enrolled in 1942 shortly after World War II began.

She worked different jobs on campus to help with her tuition, including serving in the cafeteria. She was very studious but also made time to volunteer for the public library and the Alley Theatre because of her love for the arts. She often told her family that the College prepared her well for her future and that the faculty and students “protected her from the harshness of the war and never made her feel unwanted.” She graduated from ETBC in 1946 with two bachelor’s degrees in Math and Chemistry and served as a lab assistant to Dr. E. Frank Stinson throughout her studies, earning 27 cents an hour! After graduation, Dr. Stinson helped her get a job teaching math and chemistry as a valued professor for a few years before later joining Shell Oil Company. She worked for Shell until her retirement in 1987. Today she is the sole surviving member among her siblings and has 10 nieces and nephews. She recalls that the ETBC Family was such a wonderful part of her past and provided what she needed to prepare her for life. Therefore, she said, she “felt compelled to help others who may be struggling for whatever reason to get a good education.” In 2016 Esther Ando established the Esther Ando Endowed Scholarship benefitting Japanese American students who wish to study at ETBU. Knowing how her parents instilled in her the traditions of her Japanese heritage, she feels this gift will honor their memory. ■

2016 Spring Commencement ETBU Awards 149 Degrees During Spring Commencement Spring welcomed our 2016 ETBU graduates to Commencement, closing one chapter and marking the next phase in following God’s call on their lives.


he earning of your degree is certainly a remarkable achievement. But the journey of lifelong learning and discovery does not end with the awarding of your degrees,” said President J. Blair Blackburn to the newest alumni of ETBU. “Today’s commencement, Graduates, is just that. You will commence from here, from this Hill, to pursue the calling that God has on the rest of your life.” The University held Spring Commencement in two sessions on Saturday, May 7, 2016, in Baker Chapel within the Ornelas Spiritual Life Center. President Blackburn presided over the ceremonies as a total of 149 students received degrees, including 132 bachelor’s degrees and 17 master’s degrees. The morning ceremony included graduates of the Fred M. Hale School of Business, School of Communication and Performing Arts, School of Natural and Social Sciences, and School of Nursing. The afternoon ceremony included graduates of the School of Education, School of Christian Studies, School of Humanities, and the Frank S. Groner School of Professional Studies. One of the highlights in the morning ceremony included summa cum laude graduate Joe Meadows receiving the Presidential Award from Dr. Blackburn. Meadows is a native of Mountain Home, Arkansas, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry with Distinction. His honors project

was titled “An Investigation into Air Sample Testing Using a Miniature Atmospheric Chamber and Gas ChromatographyMass Spectrometry.” The President’s Award is given to a graduating senior judged by the faculty in regards to scholastic ability and development, personal character, integrity, attitude, as well as one’s involvement in activities reflecting the values of ETBU.

“The biggest challenge for college graduates is not finding a job but finding themselves.”



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RENÉ MACIEL: PRESIDENT, BAPTIST UNIVERSITY OF THE AMERICAS AND BAPTIST GENERAL CONVENTION OF TEXAS Dr. John Sargent, Dean of the School of Education, was presented Professor with Distinction honors for the 20152016 academic year. Dr. Sargent has served as a Professor of Education for 13 years at ETBU. In honoring the professor,


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President Blackburn shared with the capacity crowd what one student wrote about Dr. Sargent on his faculty evaluation. “Dr. Sargent is an amazing teacher. Not only does he care about your education but genuinely takes the time to get to know you. I wanted all my classes with him. His incorporation of faith and education is great. I knew I could trust him and talk to him about anything.” ETBU also awarded two honorary doctorate degrees during Spring Commencement. ETBU alumni E. Leon Carter, a partner in the Dallas law firm of Carter Scholer Arnett Hamada and Mockler, PLLC, was honored along with ETBU Trustee and longtime ETBU supporter D.M. Edwards of Tyler who is the founding CEO and chairman of Edwards Investments. Carter played basketball for ETBC from 1977-1980 and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Pre-law. He received his law degree from Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University and was admitted to the Bar in 1986. Carter is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, the International Society of Barristers, the Litigation Counsel of America, and the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. He was recently listed in The 38


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Best Lawyers in America in six areas: Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Labor and Employment Litigation, First Amendment Litigation, Intellectual Property Litigation, and Patent Litigation. ETBU awarded Carter as a Distinguished Alumnus in 2010 and featured him in the previous edition of Hilltop. Edwards has been a faithful supporter of education in East Texas throughout his life. He has served on the Board of Trustees at ETBU for 20 years, including his role as chairperson. Edwards attended Tyler public schools and was a cum laude graduate of Tyler Junior College. He is also a graduate of the Hankamer School of Business at Baylor University, receiving a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with double majors in Marketing and Management and a minor in Finance. Edwards’ father, the late Dr. Welby C. Edwards, was also an ETBU Trustee. Edwards, along with his parents, helped established the School of Nursing in 1989 at the University. Edwards has a heart for Baptist work throughout Texas and currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Timberline Baptist Encampment and Conference Center in Lindale and several

Baptist General Convention of Texas committees. Baptist University of the Americas and Baptist General Convention of Texas President René Maciel delivered the commencement charge to all the graduates. Maciel was elected BGCT President during the annual meeting held last November in Frisco. BUA is the only university in the country specially committed to training cross-cultural Christian leaders to serve in the Hispanic culture. ETBU and BUA signed an articulation agreement on May 7 to provide BUA graduates with master’s degree scholarships at ETBU. Maciel shared, “The struggle is not finding a job or getting into graduate school; the struggle is finding yourself.” He then cautioned, “The world will try to mold you and shape you into someone else” before adding how important it is to remember God in times of questioning. “Take a good look in in the mirror because you have a likeness of your heavenly Father,” he encouraged. Afterwards, the graduates walked through the traditional congratulatory line of ETBU faculty as they made their way to a reception next to historic Marshall Hall where family and friends awaited them to celebrate this milestone achievement. ■ Hilltop

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Alumni Feature ETBU Alum Competes on American Ninja Warrior


vercoming obstacles has become a sport for East Texas Baptist University alum Jared Greer. A two-time contestant on NBC’s popular television series American Ninja Warrior, Greer uses his gifts to conquer spinning logs and bungee roads—and proclaim the name of Jesus! “My heart and my passion is for youth ministry,” Greer explained. “I love building relationships with students, and sports has always been a part of that. American Ninja Warrior has broadened my platform to share the Gospel. It’s been an incredible blessing.” American Ninja Warrior is a popular sports competition designed to challenge athletes in extremely difficult obstacle courses. Before Greer was showcasing his agility on national television, he felt called to ministry. “I surrendered to the ministry after hearing a message on Isaiah 6:8 when I was sixteen years old,” Greer said. After he came to ETBU, Greer said he talked to the football and basketball coach who gave him an opportunity to walk-on. The week Greer was going to try out for the basketball team, an opportunity arose to begin his career in youth ministry at a church. After praying about it, he decided not to pursue basketball and to apply for the church position instead. Greer served as the youth pastor at Hillcrest Baptist Church in Marshall and First Baptist Church in Tatum while at ETBU. It was during his time at FBC Tatum that students first mentioned American Ninja Warrior to Greer, and he applied years later when he became the youth pastor at Northrich Baptist Church in Garland. “Several students had mentioned American Ninja Warrior to me because I am always jumping

over chairs or doing crazy things in the youth room,” Greer explained. “Finally, I stepped out in faith, and I was selected for the show. I couldn’t believe it.” Greer was selected out of 50,000 applicants to compete on two seasons. Even though he didn’t have great success on the show, being a part of the Ninja community has opened new doors for Greer to share Christ. This summer Greer traveled around the state to various youth groups, giving students the opportunity to go through an obstacle course he built and hear Greer present the Gospel. In his first visit to a youth group in North Texas, over 170 students attended and three accepted Christ. “Youth ministry is what I love to do, but being a part of American

“Ultimately, I want students and families to see there is no obstacle they can’t overcome through Jesus.” JARED GREER, ’09



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Ninja Warrior has opened new doors for me to serve the local church,” Greer shared. “Ultimately, I want students and families to see there is no obstacle they can’t overcome through Jesus.” Greer and his wife, Sally, have two young boys, Micah and Bennett, and are currently serving at First Baptist Church in Grandview, Texas. ■


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Forever Missed.

Tre Harrison (#96) and D.J. McClintock (#12)



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Never Forgotten.


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Honoring the Memory of Two Tigers


hen the ETBU Tigers take the football field in the fall of 2016, the entire University Family will miss two special young men who will not be joining their brothers this season. Two players, selected by the team and coaches, will wear #12 for Darrian “D.J.” McClintock, 20, and #96 for Norvontre “Tre” Harrison, 19, in memory of two freshmen football players who drowned April 28 while swimming at an off-campus pond on private land called the “clay pits” in east Marshall. Other Tiger athletic teams will display these numbers on their uniforms as well to honor these two young lives lost too soon. Upon hearing the news, the President’s Cabinet put into place a ministry support team to provide prayer and spiritual guidance to the grief-stricken families and students. Late that evening, students, faculty, staff, and members of the Marshall community gathered on the east lawn of Marshall Hall for a candlelight vigil. The next morning in Baker Chapel, the University held a prayer service, displaying the two players’ football jerseys. Harrison graduated from C.E. Byrd High School in Shreveport, Louisiana. He was studying criminal justice and was a youth minister at New Greenwood Baptist Church in Greenwood, Louisiana. McClintock was from Spring, Texas,



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and graduated from Spring High School. He played wide receiver for the Tigers and mentored students at Carver Elementary School in Marshall. ETBU Head Football Coach Scotty Walden remembers both students being such a light when they walked into the room that people naturally gravitated to them. “He continued, Tre was relentless in everything he did, from academics to football to his spiritual walk. He was the definition of an overcomer. On every single snap Tre played with a lot emotion and passion. He was one of the hardest working kids I know. D.J. always had the best smile that could light up a room. He was an extremely hard worker with a neverquit attitude. He came to work every day, and no matter how practice went, he was always positive. D.J. was enthusiastic about life and never took a day for granted.” Coach Walden spoke with both young men earlier in the week before the accident about their faith. “You could tell both guys were well in their walk with Christ, but yet they still wanted to strive to build an even closer bond to God.͟This season is for them. There will not be a football program in the country that will work harder or love each other more.” These two young men will be forever missed at ETBU but never forgotten. ■

Accent on Alumni UPDATES 1970s Ronnie Johnson (’71) recently published his first children’s book with his wife, Nancy, of nearly 49 years. The homespun story of Fritz, The Funniest Monkey Ever began as a tale they shared with their children and grandchildren for years. Ronnie has also published five other works. He is a ministerat-large in Colorado and provides estate planning seminars and workshops in churches, colleges, and corporations. 2000s W. Brian Scherff, Jr. (’06) and his wife, Katharine, love seeing daughter Zoë Jane in her Cub Club onesie. Zoë is looking forward to attending ETBU in about 17 more years. (Pictured below) Christy Gipson (’07) defended her dissertation in April and graduated with her Ph.D. in Nursing in May. Jacob Richardson (’07) graduated in December of 2015 from South Texas College of Law. He and his wife, Kelli (Pruitt, ’09), and daughter, Kate, are trusting God to reveal the next step in his career. WEDDINGS AND ANNIVERSARIES 1950s Earle (’52) and Bobbie Oldham celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on June 1,

2016. They have a daughter, Deana, and son-in-law, Vic, with two grandsons: Jordan and his wife, Caddie, and Hunter and his wife, Sarah. They also have a son, E. Dean Oldham, Jr., and daughter-in-law, Rusty, and their children, Jaxon (6) and Remy (3). Dr. Harlan (‘54) and Mary Hall celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on June 3, 2016. Harlan was on staff for 28 years at First Baptist Church of Longview as Minister of Music. Mary served as the church organist and Music Assistant. The Halls have two children, Diane and Dale, and one grandson, Justin. 1960s Dale (’65) and Sandi (Sanders, ’66) Coates celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on February 12, 2016. The Coates have two sons, Craven, who has given them 11 grandchildren with one more on the way, and Clayton, who has given them six grandchildren.

2000s Austin Guidry (’11) and Crystal Luo were married February 6, 2016. The couple resides in the People’s Republic of China, in Chengdu in the Sichuan province. DEATHS 1940s Van Dorn Hooker, Jr., (’40) passed away on June 14, 2015. Van Dorn attended the College of Marshall before volunteering in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 1943-45. He became a Staff Sergeant, 20th Air Force, serving as a radio operator in the China-Burma-India and Asia Pacific Theatres. He was also an architect. 1950s Rev. Lowell Schochler (’52) passed away on April 18, 2016. His wife of 53 years preceded him in death. The Schochlers served as missionaries to Natal, Brazil for 33 years. He is survived by one son, Stanley, daughters Leta (’83) and her husband, Stephen White (’80), and Lori and husband, Truitt Cockrell, Jr., as well as six grandchildren. 1960s Brenda (Bumstead, ‘69) Causey passed away on April 24, 2016. She is survived by her husband, Gary, and two daughters. Brenda’s life calling was teaching, and she taught 2nd-7th grades for 36 years. Memorials can be made in her name to the Class of 1969 Endowment at ETBU. 1970s Dorothy Meadows (’76) passed away on May 15, 2016. After graduating from ETBC, she attended Louisiana State University to obtain a Master of Library Science. Dorothy served as a librarian at East Texas Baptist University for 27 years before moving to Texas State Technical College in 2007. She is remembered for her love of reading and singing. 1980s Kevin Roy (’81) passed away on June 16, 2016, while recovering from a double lung transplant. He was preceded in death by his wife. Kevin served as Associate Pastor at Denman Avenue Baptist Church for 30 years. He is survived by his son and daughter. 2010s Beloved ETBU freshmen Tiger Football players Darrian “D.J.” McClintock, 20, of Spring, Texas, and Norvontre “Tre” Harrison, 19, of Shreveport, Louisiana, passed away April 28, 2016 in Marshall, Texas. ■


Summer 2016


STAY CONNECTED WITH US New jobs, weddings, births, accomplishments, updates— whatever your news, share it with your ETBU Family.

Send to: Alumni Relations East Texas Baptist University One Tiger Drive Marshall, TX 75670 Email: alumni@etbu.edu Or update online: etbu.edu/alumniupdate

Allison Peteet

Assistant Vice President for Advancement and Director of Alumni Relations


Women’s Soccer 2016 GAME SCHEDULE





SEP 1 SEP 3 SEP 8 SEP 10 SEP 15 SEP 17 SEP 21 SEP 24 SEP 30 OCT 1 OCT 6 OCT 8 OCT 14 OCT 15 OCT 21 OCT 22 OCT 28 OCT 29

ETBU ETBU Waxahachie, TX Dallas, TX Brownwood, TX ETBU Conway, AR Longview, TX ETBU ETBU Pineville, LA Jackson, MS ETBU ETBU Austin, TX Belton, TX ETBU ETBU

AUG 23 AUG 27 SEP 1 SEP 3 SEP 8 SEP 10 SEP 13 SEP 17 SEP 21 SEP 24 SEP 30 OCT 1 OCT 6 OCT 8 OCT 14 OCT 15 OCT 21 OCT 22 OCT 28 OCT 29

Sherman, TX ETBU ETBU ETBU Waxahachie, TX Dallas, TX ETBU Alpine, TX Conway, AR Longview, TX ETBU ETBU Pineville, LA Jackson, MS ETBU ETBU Austin, TX Belton, TX ETBU ETBU

8:00pm 8:00pm 3:00pm 3:00pm 4:00pm 3:00pm 7:30pm 7:30pm 7:30pm 7:30pm 7:30pm 3:30pm 7:30pm 7:30pm 7:30pm 7:30pm 6:30pm 6:30pm

Schreiner University Texas Lutheran SW Assemblies of God Univ. Dallas Christian College Howard Payne University* Rhodes College Hendrix College LeTourneau University* University of Texas at Tyler* University of the Ozarks* Louisiana College* Belhaven University Howard Payne University* University of Texas at Dallas* Concordia University* University of Mary Hardin-Baylor* McMurry University* Hardin-Simmons University*

1:00pm 4:00pm 6:00pm 1:00pm 1:00pm 1:00pm 6:00pm 2:00pm 5:00pm 5:00pm 5:00pm 5:00pm 5:00pm 1:00pm 5:00pm 5:00pm 5:00pm 5:00pm 4:00pm 4:00pm

Austin College (Exhibition) Eastfield College (Exhibition) Schreiner University Texas Lutheran University Southwestern Assemblies of God Dallas Christian College Jarvis Christian Sul Ross State University* Hendrix University LeTourneau University* University of Texas at Tyler* University of the Ozarks* Louisiana College* Belhaven University Howard Payne* University of Texas at Dallas* Concordia University-Texas* University of Mary Hardin-Baylor* McMurry University* Hardin-Simmons University*

Women’s Volleyball 2016 GAME SCHEDULE DATE


SEP 2-3 SEP 2 TBA SEP 2 TBA SEP 3 TBA SEP 3 TBA SEP 9-10 SEP 9 12:30pm SEP 9 3:00pm SEP 10 2:00pm SEP 10 4:00pm SEP 13 7:00pm SEP 23-24 SEP 23 2:30pm SEP 23 7:30pm SEP 24 3:00pm SEP 27 7:00pm SEP 30 7:00pm OCT 4 7:00pm OCT 11 7:00pm OCT 14-15 OCT 14 2:30pm OCT 14 7:30pm OCT 15 3:00pm OCT 18 7:00pm OCT 22 2:00pm OCT 25 7:00pm OCT 29-30 Nov. 6-8 TBA

University of Texas at Dallas Tournament TBA TBA TBA TBA Cal Lutheran Tournament Claremont Mudd-Scripps Pamona Pitzer College Cal Lutheran Wheaton College University of Texas at Tyler* Concordia-Texas Crossover McMurry University* Concordia-Texas Crossover Hardin-Simmons University* University of Texas at Dallas* Belhaven University University of Texas at Tyler* LeTourneau University* Texas-Dallas Crossover Mary-Hardin Baylor* Howard Payne University* Sul Ross State University* University of Texas at Dallas* Belhaven University LeTourneau University* Texas Lutheran Tournament ASC Championship Tournament

LOCATION Richardson, TX Richardson, TX Richardson, TX Richardson, TX Richardson, TX Thousand Oaks, CA Thousand Oaks, CA Thousand Oaks, CA Thousand Oaks, CA Thousand Oaks, CA ETBU Austin, TX Austin, TX Austin, TX Austin, TX Richardson, TX Jackson, MS Tyler, TX ETBU Richardson, TX Richardson, TX Richardson, TX Richardson, TX ETBU ETBU Longview, TX Seguin, TX Home games in bold *Conference match

Non-Profit Org US Postage

PAID Global Mailing Svc

One Tiger Drive Marshall, TX 75670





SEP 3 6:00pm SEP 10 7:00pm SEP 17 7:00pm SEP 24 OCT 1 1:00pm OCT 8 1:00pm OCT 15 1:00pm OCT 22 6:00pm OCT 29 6:00pm NOV 5 1:00pm NOV 12 1:00pm

Texas Lutheran University Seguin, TX Southwest Assemblies of God ETBU Southwestern University ETBU OPEN Belhaven University Jackson, MS McMurry University* Abilene, TX Mary-Hardin Baylor* ETBU Howard Payne University (Homecoming)* ETBU Louisiana College* Pineville, LA Hardin Simmons* Abilene, TX Sul Ross State University (Senior Day)* ETBU

NOV 19

First Round NCAA Division III Playoffs Home games in bold *Conference game

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