FALL 2022 TEN YEARS IN WEST POINT Celebrating a decade on our campus —with a new mascot! p. 10 NEVER GIVE UP One student’s journey from the brink of death to Point University p. 18 CHANGING THE GAME Point’s female leaders in the athletic department p. 14
His future begins with you.
—Corey ’22 CHILD AND YOUTH DEVELOPMENT MAJOR | FAYETTE, ALABAMA
Be a part of helping students like Corey become the next generation of Christian leaders. Visit point.edu/give to make your gift!
“I chose Point because I wanted to play basketball, but I stayed because of the community I found here. The faculty and staff truly care about me, my well-being and my development as a well-rounded person. Because of our team’s volunteer work in the community, I’m much more comfortable meeting new people and getting to know them. My time at Point has modeled what genuine service looks like, and it’s something I want to continue doing throughout the rest of my life.”
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4 From the President 5 University News ON THE COVER The new Skyhawk mascot, photographed by Michael Plank ’92. Learn more at point.edu/mascot ON THIS PAGE A campus boundary sign, photographed during the University’s first year in West Point — ten years ago! For more memories of that year, turn to page 10. 10 TEN YEARS AGO THIS FALL 12 ARE YOU LISTENING? Eddie Clark asks us to examine our listening to God. 14 CHANGING THE GAME Fifty years after Title IX changed women’s sports, Point’s athletic department is led by women. 18 NEVER GIVE UP Christian Cosme ’20, ’23 and his extraordinary journey to Point. billy howard photography
By His grace, Dean C. Collins ’79 President
Point University’s mission is to educate students for Christ-centered service and leadership throughout the world. Point University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate, baccalaureate and master’s degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, at http://www.sacscoc.org, or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Point University.
Of course, life at Point University is not just about sports. I think you will benefit from one of our professors and veteran educators as he offers advice about listening to the Lord. You will also be inspired by alumnus Christian Cosme and his determination to live well and even victoriously through tragedy.
FROM THE PRESIDENT
507 West 10th Street West Point, GA 706-385-100031833
I hope you’ll enjoy this issue celebrating our first decade in West Point, Georgia. And even better, put Homecoming weekend on your calendar for October 21-22 and plan on visiting us later this fall!
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Even in this hectic season, we want to pause and remember an unprecedented experience we had a decade ago, when we made our historic move from East Point to West Point. In this is sue, you’ll find a photo collage from that transformative moment. The photo of me above was actually taken during that first year in our new hometown. The rest of this issue will celebrate all we’ve accomplished since then!
POINT MAGAZINE Volume 61, Number 1 Fall 2022 EDITOR/ DESIGNER Sarah G. Huxford ASSISTANT EDITOR Amber Rasmussen CONTRIBUTORS Kassi Butcher Mae Snyder ’23
© 2022 Point University
Point Magazine exists to tell Point University’s stories. It is intended to serve as a vehicle for connecting the University’s alumni and friends. For the first 49 volumes of its existence, Point Magazine was known as The Gold & Blue. The magazine is published by the Communications Office, which retains the right to determine the editorial content and presentation of information contained herein.
Articles or opinion pieces contributed by guest writers do not necessarily reflect the official views or policy of Point University and its board of trustees. Point Magazine welcomes reader responses to its Point Magazine
nyone who lives in the Deep South knows that fall doesn’t bring much temperature change until late November — but every college campus knows it is fall by the activity level on campus! At Point University, we are experiencing both the heat and the busy ness of the fall semester with all of its activities.
As you read, you’ll get to know a few of the women who are leading our athletic department. As you’ve seen from the cover, we are adding a new “team member” in athletics this fall — our first Skyhawk mascot! (You can help us name it by visiting point.edu/mascot, by the way.)
FALL 2022 | 5 mae snyder ’23 UNIVERSITY NEWS SNAPSHOT Point COVID-19disruptedceremoniescommencementandawardedUniversity130degreesinMay!Alumnifromtheclassesof20202021,whosewerebythepandemic,werewelcomedbacktoofficiallycrossthestage.Duringtheceremony,theUniversityalsoawardeditsfirstbachelor’sdegreesinspecialeducation.Moredetailsavailableat point.edu/news
Point Professor Appointed to State Board
Garibaldi Honored with Teaching Award
Moffatt, who is professor of counseling psychology at Point, is also a licensed coun selor, a published author, a columnist for newspapers and Counseling Today, and a fre quent public speaker. He served for nearly ten years as a regular lecturer at the FBI Academy, a profiler with the Atlanta Cold Case Squad, and consultant to numerous airlines, businesses and schools.
To read the latest Point news, visit our website at point.edu/news
“I’m honored to have been selected by Gov ernor Kemp to serve on the composite board, but even more so, I’m honored by the shower of support and encouragement I’ve received from my clinical colleagues in the field,” said Moffatt. “That means as much to me as recognition from theForgovernor.”moreinformation about Point’s College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and its programs, visit point.edu/academics.
Peter Garibaldi, instructor in business, is the recipient of this year’s Vulcan Teaching Excellence Award. The award annually honors an outstanding faculty member who demonstrates strong ac ademic skills in the classroom and provides leadership and support in the other areas of campus life. The recipients are faculty who assist the institutions in nurturing an ac ademic climate which fosters teaching and who provide leadership to enhance the campus community.
Share your tweets, Facebook posts and Instagram photos with the Point community! Tag your posts with #pointuniversity or #togetherwefly @lexiarter: signed and sealed ������ #collegeathlete#pointuniversity#skyhawk @pointuswimming: West Point Lake Dragon Boat Race ���� #togetherwefly Dan Garrett: Great to reunite these two outstanding Point University grads. Jalen Gardner, youth pastor at Canvas Church in Cumming, brought volunteers to help with the egg hunt. Kadaymen Johnson is one of our great Christian City house parents, and always has a smile. Fun day! @cfa_montgomeryville: We have a announcementspecialthat has our students jumping for joy! Free tuition is now available to our team!! ��♥ Point University’s partnership with us offers you the opportunity to earn your college degree tuition-free! # georgia governor ’ s office ; social media photos courtesy of users WHAT'S TRENDING
of Social and Behavioral Sciences.”
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“Dr. Moffatt’s appointment to the Georgia Composite Board is a great honor and a fitting recognition of his service and professional exper tise,” said Dr. Stephen Waers ’07, chief academic officer. “Point University is grateful to have such a well-respected leader as the dean of the College
Dr. Greg Moffatt ’88, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Point University, has been named to the Board of Professional Counselors, Social Workers, and Marriage and Family Therapists for the State of Georgia. The board licenses mental health professionals who work throughout the state. Moffatt was recently sworn in by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp.
“We are excited to be able to offer this opportunity to our team members,” said Sells. “We are committed to investing in the futures of our team members, and we believe this is a great way to do it.”
Ribbon cutting of Point University Dining Hall
To find more information about Point University’s program, visit point.edu/partnerships
“Our team is thrilled to be a part of this historic moment in Point’s story,” added Wood.
Introduction of the first online program
josh sells ’01 ; infographic by amber rasmussen
student housing 2019 Completion of Band Building renovation 2013
Juan Domingo ’18, left, and Josh Sells ’04, right, with Jarvis James ’26, who is enrolled in the new program at Point.
Launch of Point
Main campus moves from East Point to West Point
Josh Sells ’04, who operates the Commerce Avenue Chick-fil-A location in nearby LaGrange, Georgia, was eager to become part of the program.
Launch of Band
The program has been a tremendous success thus far, with nearly 1,000 students already engaged in the enrollment process.
“By choosing to join our subscription model, business owners can provide their employees the opportunity to earn a college degree with little to no student debt,” said President Dean Collins ’79. “In today’s higher education economy, that is an enormous benefit to employees.”
The strategic partnerships team is actively pursuing connections with other restaurant owners and with business leaders in other industries.
Naming of the J Smith Lanier Academic Center and the Scott Fine Arts Center
of graduate programs Expansion
T E N Y E A R S I N Point
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2015 Added men's and women's swimming
POINT LAUNCHES SUBSCRIPTION PROGRAM FOR BUSINESS OWNERS
his year, the Uni versity launched a new program allowing business owners to pay a single fee allowing their employees to take online courses at Point tuition-free.Theprogram was developed after lengthy conversations with a group of local restaurant owners. The group want ed to find a way to recruit and retain educationemployees,high-qualitywhileofferingthemanopportunitytocompletetheircollegeintheonlineprogram.Eachbusinessownerenrolled in the subscription program pays an annual fee to cover tuition for all of their employees. Students can pursue certificate pro grams, undergraduate degrees or gradu ate degrees. Students are asked to apply for any federal or state tuition grants or scholarships for which they may be eligi ble, and they are asked to pay for their own“Thisbooks.alliance is a completely new approach to business partnerships and educational benefits,” said Tiffany Wood, vice president of strategic initiatives and partnerships. “It allows business own ers to change employees’ lives and have even greater impact in their communi ties. It also allows Point to expand our impact and serve students we may not have had access to otherwise.”
Added men's and women's golf, tennis and cheerleading
For many students, the day they graduate college is one of the most exciting times of their lives. The world is full of seemingly endless possibilities. But for some students, college graduation and the post-college years can be intimidating as they are thrust into the unfamiliar professional world.
“We’re really excited for the future of the career center here at Point,” said Durrell.
To help bridge this gap, Skyhawk Career Services will accept donated business attire for both men and women. The clothes will be cleaned regularly, and the Career Closet will operate on the honor system. Students can borrow the clothes when they need them, either for an interview, internship or any event that requires business casual attire, and they can return the clothing items to the Career Closet when they no longer require them.
“One of the biggest issues we see is that students don’t recognize how the classes they’re taking will translate into their future jobs. We want to help them see that connection,” explainedAllowingDurrell.students to learn from those individuals who are already working in the field is another priority for Sky hawk Career Services. The information students learn in the
To help guide students through this transition and prepare them for successful, fulfilling careers, many institutions offer a career services center to students. These centers help students learn to write cover letters and resumes, prepare for inter views, and find internships and employment after graduation.
“We have incredibly intelligent students struggling to find employment after graduating because they don’t know how much work and experience is required to get that job,” explained Durrell. Many fields require hands-on experi ence, including for entry-level positions. Even the process of applying for jobs requires skill and determination, which few students realize.
To find more information about Skyhawk Career Services, including resume tips and the dates of upcoming career fairs, visit point.edu/careercenter
After a period of transition, Point relaunched its career cen ter, rebranded as Skyhawk Career Services, in spring 2022. The center is preparing for its first full academic year on campus, led by the new director of career services, Dr. Jacoba Durrell.
Durrell’s vision and goals for Skyhawk Career Services ex tend far beyond the next academic year, but her primary goal is to establish career services within each individual academic program offered at Point.
The Career Closet is the first of many initiatives Durrell will implement to grow Skyhawk Career Services, but she says the first step is making students aware of their presence on campus.
CAREER CENTER REOPENS WITH NEW LEADERSHIP
One new initiative launched by Skyhawk Career Services is the Career Closet, which provides students with business casual clothes, free of charge, to borrow for business opportunities.
Durrell believes that Skyhawk Career Services serves a vital role at Point by bridging the gaps between where students currently are and where they want to be. One of the biggest obstacles students face today is not recognizing the tools nec essary to obtain a job after graduating college.
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by amber rasmussen
By customizing the career services experience to each individual program, Durrell and her team can offer more specialized assistance for students, whether they are searching for internships, networking opportunities or post-graduation employment. Instead of hosting large, general career fairs for all students, career services can invite two or three profession als in a specific field to campus to speak to students studying within that field.
classroom is incredibly valuable, but real-life experience is a completely different form of learning.
“Many of our students have to work while going to school, but not many of them are using their money to purchase profession al clothes that they’ll wear for one interview,” said Durrell.
Durrell’s long-term goal for Skyhawk Career Services is to develop and produce students who are not only intelligent and knowledgeable in their various fields, but who are confident in what it takes to get a job in their field and can be more confi dent, competitive employees.
The goal of Skyhawk Career Services is that in a world of constant change and instability, students can find peace in knowing that they are well-prepared for what lies ahead in the employment market.
Durrell has a multi-faceted background which contributes to her vision and passion for career services at Point. She spent 15 years with the Auburn Police Department before pivoting to Central Alabama Community College to work in correction al education. She also worked with a work release center in Childersburg, Alabama, to redevelop their correctional educa tion program. After finishing her doctoral degree, Durrell be gan working at Point in February 2022 as professional learning and career services director.
“It takes a lot of work,” said Durrell. “You have to be really determined and persistent, even just to get one interview. It doesn’t happen automatically.”
“Awareness is the biggest priority. We want students to know that we’re here, and we want to help,” said Durrell.
“We want to invite people who are paving the way for our current students, so they can share their knowledge with stu dents and help them be more successful,” said Durrell.
“In the past, students had to come to the career center,” said Durrell. “Now, we want the career center to come to them.”
michael plank ’92/ chattahoochee creative
After announcing the University’s relocation to West Point in February 2011, the University opened for its first academic year on the new cam pus in August 2012. This year, we’re celebrating the ten-year anniversary of that important time in Point’s his tory. Join us at Homecoming, October 21-22, for the big celebration!
Before the start of classes in August 2012, community members hosted a cookout for students, faculty and staff at the Valley Sportsplex.
Everyone was a “new” student on an unfamiliar campus in fall 2012! Both first-time and returning students had to learn now to navigate Point’s new
At the first Homecoming in West Point, in October 2012, students and alumni celebrated at a football tailgate event.
10 | POINT MAGAZINE HEADLINES
Also that August, President Collins signed an articulation agreement with leaders from nearby Southern Union State Community College.
The Valley Field House provid ed workout space for Point’s stu dent-athletes as the University added intercollegiate sports.
The main lobby of the Academic Center has a cross fountain as the
central feature — a visible reminder of Point’s commitment to taking the cross everywhere.
The former West Point-Pepperell head quarters, known around town as the 507 Building, was renovated to provide classroom, office and study space. It is now known as the Lanier Academic Center, in honor of longtime supporter and trustee J. Smith Lanier II.
Thefacilities.Academic Center’s courtyard, later named for Denver and Helen Sizemore, quickly proved to be a pop ular gathering space for students.
Another renovated facility, which pro vided classroom and rehearsal space for music students, was later named for the Bill and Martha Scott family, dedi cated local supporters of the University and the Point fine arts program.
Later that academic year, Betty Jo McKinney — wife of the late Prof. Roy McKinney — visited campus for the grand opening of the Dining Hall and new McKinney’s Coffeehouse location. She created the stained glass artwork hanging above the counter.
CELEBRATING TEN YEARS IN WEST POINT
ARE YOU LISTENING?
As I go about my daily activities with multiple opportunities to listen to others, the following question from God formulates in my mind with greater frequency as the years go by: “Eddie, are you listening to me?” While I have no problems talking to God throughout the day, I certainly could spend more time in listening to what God is saying to me, and then responding to His direction.
DISCERNING HOW GOD IS SPEAKING TO US
I must confess that listening to God will always take me out of my comfort zone, my agenda, my choices of what I can do for God. Listening to God will challenge me to do things like encouraging and forgiving others, sharing the love of Jesus with strangers and enemies, opening my home and my heart to people who are hurting, and even teaching at a university and writing an article for a magazine! Listening to Him will open me up to multiple opportunities to strengthen my faith and trust that God is always in control, Jesus is Lord and the Holy Spirit is my guide.
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BY EDDIE CLARK
an you hear me now? How many times have you asked that question during a phone call or in a Zoom session? Are you listening to me? How many times has that question been asked to or by your spouse, a significant other, children, grand children, other family members, friends, coworkers and in customer service? For many people, if we hear someone, it means there is sufficient volume for sound, and we are receiving information or a message. However, our focus is usually on building our response to their message by correcting false information or giving unsolicited advice.
I don’t always like what I hear when listen ing to God, I don’t always agree with Him, and I
In contrast to hearing a message, the act of listening is a journey to understand the speaker, not only through words, but also through emo tion, volume, intonation, facial expressions, body language and phrasing. The ultimate goal of listening is to acknowledge the speaker, their mes sage, summarize the content of the message to verify that you understood the speaker correctly, and to reflect on the message before providing a response in words or action. In listening, we seek to understand, not to be understood. During 41 years of serving students, families and colleagues as an educator, I have learned that after listening
to someone, my response must be focused on the speaker and not just my own expertise, experi ence, rationales or advice.
Why is it easier to listen to other people than to listen to God? Is it because I only listen to people who tell me what I want to hear? If I don’t like what peo ple say, I can walk away, hang up the phone, ignore or delete a text, or end a meeting. Listening to God involves actively engaging in His presence, trusting Him, and longing for that relationship. In a noisy world of daily life, unexpected challenges, constant changes, loss, temptations, chaos, prayers yet to be answered, unbridled emotions and mounting anxiety, let me ask a few questions for you to ponder.
How bright is the lamp at your feet?
I challenge you to read the two passages below slowly and out loud as you listen to God speaking in your life. The first passage comes from a book titled Psalms Now, by Leslie Brandt. The second has been a favorite Bible passage of mine to pray sinceThechildhood.Lordismy
When I feel empty and alone, He fills the aching vacuum with His power My security is in His promise to be near to me always, and in the knowledge that He will never let me go.
can produce many reasons why I don’t think His direction is appropriate for me. However, I have never regretted listening and responding to God’s direction, even when the result was not what I expected, wanted or prayed for in earnest.
Are you listening?
Eddie Clark is director of disability services and asso ciate professor of education at Point.
When depression darkens my soul, He touches me with eternal joy
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”
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“I pledge allegiance to the Bible, God’s Holy Word. I will make it a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path, and I will hide its Word in my heart that I might not sin against God – and might listen with anticipation as he speaks directly to me.”
However, my favorite part of Bible School was the opening ceremony, when we said pledges of allegiance to the American flag, the Christian flag and the Bible. Most often, I was chosen to hold one of the flags and present it during the appro priate pledge. While I only got to do it one or two times, my favorite job was to hold the Bible. I can still recite that pledge we said over 50 years ago: “I pledge allegiance to the Bible, God’s Holy Word. I will make it a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path, and I will hide its Word in my heart, that I might not sin against God.”
When the burden is heavy He is there to lean upon
There is no need that He cannot fulfill Whether His course for me points To the mountaintops of glorious ecstasy Or to the valleys of human suffering, He is by my side.
When I tread the dark streets of danger, And even when I flirt with death itself, He will not leave me.
What path is illuminated for your next steps?
What is God saying to you?
He is ever present with me. He is close beside me
Reflecting on God’s question about listening causes my mind to wander back to my earliest memories of growing as a Christian after accept ing Jesus as my Savior and Lord — back to Vaca tion Bible School, when it lasted for a whole week, Sunday to Sunday. I loved the Bible stories, Bible drills, Scripture memorization, crafts, recreation time and those crème-filled cookies accompanied by that small cardboard carton of orange drink.
That pledge started me on my own journey of listening to God — not just because I was taught to do that by my parents, my Sunday school teachers, or my pastor, but because I wanted to listen to Him. For me, listening not only involved praying and hearing sermons, but also studying God’s word, memorizing His word, and learning the truths, promises, commands, stories and encour agement found in the Bible. Every time I opened the Bible, I always pictured this bright lantern illuminating my path, but only a few steps at a time. Listening, trusting and following the lighted path has led me to where I am today.
When the pain is severe He is near to comfort
Do you think that hiding these passages in our hearts could help open our ears to not only hear God, but to really listen as He speaks directly to us? If I could add a phrase to the end of my VBS pledge to the Bible, I would write the following:
— — — —
michael plank ’92/ chattahoochee creative
latest data from Zippia, more than 6,119 assistant athletic directors are currently employed in the United States, with 26 percent of all assistant athletic directors being women. This number has increased from only 21 percent in 2017. Jennings says that as the number of women in leadership roles continues to rise, she hopes it will inspire young women to grow as leaders and believe in equity in leadership.
Jennings grew up around athletics and began playing sports, specifically T-ball and basketball, at age five. She played softball and basketball through her senior year of high school and continued her basketball career at Berry College. She graduat ed from Berry in 2014 with a bachelor of science degree in kinesiology and completed a master of science degree in kinesiology-biomechanics from Auburn University in 2016. Through her experi ences at Berry and Auburn, she became passionate about a career in athletics.
As a leader in the athletic department, Jen nings’s goal for the 2022-23 academic year is to pursue excellence alongside the rest of the depart ment, seeking to provide opportunities for Point’s student-athletes to grow, not only as athletes, but also in academics and faith.
“While at Berry, I worked under the associate director of athletics and helped oversee day-to-day operations of the athletic and recreation facilities. This position allowed me to experience first-hand that I had a passion for working in athletics,” Jen nings says. “I served as a graduate assistant for ath letics at Auburn and worked within game day opera tions and gained behind-the-scenes experience of what it takes to host home football and basketball games. This experience allowed me to confirm fur ther my passion for working in athletics.”
Taylor Jennings Assistant Athletic Director
a new era of female leadership in point athletics
aylor Jennings joined Point University athletics in 2019 as director of compliance.
In fall 2021, Jennings earned the title of Se nior Woman Leader, an NAIA designation for the highest-ranking woman in an athletic department or conference office. This summer, she was named the department’s assistant athletic director.
This summer marked the 50th anniversary of title ix, legislation that ensured opportunities for women to compete in athletics. on these pages, you’ll meet some of the women — themselves former studentathletes — who are leading the skyhawks off the field and the court.
michael plank ’92/ chattahoochee creative
BY KASSI BUTCHER
FALL 2022 | 15 GAME — — — — — — — — — — — — —
“I think it’s important for women to be in lead ership roles,” she says. “It provides a more diverse representation of women’s interests, experience and perspective when making critical decisions.”
Athletics was not Jennings’s first choice in her career path, as she had initially planned to be a physical therapist. But God had a different plan for her life — a plan that now has her serving as second in command for the Point Athletic Depart ment. Her upbringing in sports contributed to her passion for working in the collegiate sports world. Through her years of playing, she developed skills
“My interest was sparked by two gentlemen that worked in the Athletic Compliance Office at Auburn,” White says. “I had three semesters left in my master’s program when I finished playing volleyball. They had a graduate assistant position available and thought I would be a good fit. I tend to gravitate toward challenges, so being in a deci
“Alignment is an important component of my life,” says White. “I love that Point is a Christ-cen tered institution of higher learning that believes in the importance of servant leadership.”
“I’ve been blessed with phenomenal mentors throughout my career,” she says. “I intentionally diversify my mentors — age, race, background, ed ucational experience, et cetera. There’s no value in seeking guidance from people that think like me or have the same path. My mentors and professional development opportunities prepared me for this opportunity, and I’m eternally grateful.”
Having strong mentors and having the oppor tunity to be a mentor has been important to White when it comes to both growing as a leader and growing future leaders in athletics.
jaunelle white vice president of intercollegiate athletics
White is no stranger when it comes to striving for excellence. The Lawrence, Kansas, native grew up playing sports, as both of her parents were coaches. Her parents were her role models, but she knew she didn’t want to become a coach.
In White’s first week in office, she introduced the department to her five pillars of success: com mitment to excellence, educating and graduating student-athletes, community engagement, fiscal responsibility and have fun/win championships. Among her five pillars, White shared that a com mitment to excellence is one of the most important standards she expects her department to go by.
While at Auburn, White realized that she want ed to work in athletics.
“The genuineness of students, faculty and staff is something I have enjoyed about Point,” she adds. “There is a sense of community that I haven’t encountered previously.”
“I believe I’ve been impactful by making myself available for mentorship opportunities and pulling up a seat or two at the proverbial table,” White says. “It’s also important to me to lead by example. My advice is to stop waiting to check every box on the application. You know whether you’re ready for an opportunity. Step out on faith and let God do the rest!”
White says what stood out to her the most about Point was the institution’s Christ-centered values.
She attended Auburn University from 19962002 and excelled on the volleyball court; she was named freshman of the year in 1997 and was a four-time All-SEC honoree. She currently holds records in kills (1,848), total blocks (57), and block average (1.31). She was awarded the Leah Rawls Atkins Award her senior year, the highest award a female Auburn student-athlete can receive. She earned her undergraduate degree in business administration in 2000 and earned her master’s degree in education in 2002.
Before joining Point, White was honored with the Women Leaders Nike Executive of the Year Award at the Division I level. The award is present ed to members of the Women Leaders organization who have made significant contributions as se nior-level administrators of intercollegiate athletics.
sion-making position came naturally.”
16 | POINT MAGAZINE michael plank ’92/ chattahoochee creative
White brought nearly 20 years of athletic ad ministrative experience, including at NCAA Divi sion I institutions, to Point last fall. She is an active member of Women Leaders in College Sports, the premier leadership organization that provides women working in college sports opportunities to develop, connect and advance.
BY KASSI BUTCHER
Her experience and track record of success have opened opportunities for the athletic depart ment to build on the foundation that was already in place and reach new heights.
t’s been nearly a year since Jaunelle White took the reins of Point Universi ty’s Athletic Department and ushered in a new era of leadership. In her first year at the department’s helm, White has overseen three programs earning NAIA National Tournament appearances, one earning an Appalachian Athletic Conference Champi onship, three student-athletes being named All-Americans, and student-athletes receiving nearly 100 All-Conference Awards.
Butcher’s passion for sports is what has led her into her role at Point, but she is not naive to the significance of her position, especially as a woman.
BY AMBER RASMUSSEN
“I honestly felt like I would lose a part of myself if I gave up sports,” says Butcher.
“The students are more than just athletes. They have a lot going on, and I love that I get to be some one who supports and encourages them,” she says.
In 2020, Butcher decided she wanted to pursue the path of college athletics rather than professional baseball, so she accepted the sports information director
“I didn’t set out to be an example of women in sports leadership; I just love sports,” she says. “But now I see how important it is, and I want to focus on being an example and mentor to the other young women who are also passionate about athletics.”
FALL 2022 | 17 michael plank ’92/ chattahoochee creative
When Butcher graduated high school, she was offered the opportunity to play softball at Milli gan University. She had a successful career there, with her team qualifying for nationals twice in her four seasons. Butcher graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English, but she knew she was not ready to give up athletics after college.
Butcher became interested in the sports information field when she dis covered she could combine her love for writing with her passion for athletics. Af ter graduating from Milligan, she accept ed a position as the sports information assistant at the university. She also began interning for a minor-league baseball team in Johnson City, Tennessee. Despite many of the challenges of being the only woman in the male-dominated world of professional baseball, Butcher succeeded in building strong relationships with her coworkers and was able to grow in her professional skills during her internship.
position at Point. In the last two years, Butcher has been able to hone her skills in writing, graphic design and social media year,creation.contentDuringtheacademicButcheralsomanagesmorethan30studentworkers,withwhomsheisableto
or some, sports are considered a hobby — a fun way to pass the time. For others, sports are a passion, a way of life, a lifeline. Sports are not a simple game, but a metaphor for life and the world. Point University’s sports information director, Kassi Butcher, belongs firmly in the sec ondButchercategory.began playing softball at age four. Of course, she had no idea then how that simple decision by her parents would form the trajectory of her life. Butcher grew up in a sports-oriented home. Her mother was a stellar athlete in high school and served as the president of their local recreational sports league during Butcher’s child hood. Because of this, Butcher was especially com fortable with women in athletic leadership roles.
“It wasn’t strange to me to see a woman in that role,” says Butcher. “I think other people thought she needed to take a step back, though. My mom being involved in athletics seemed normal to me.”
kassi butcher sports information Director
18 | POINT MAGAZINE HOW ONE POINT STUDENT’S DETERMINATION BROUGHT HIM FROM THE BRINK OF DEATH TO HIS COLLEGE GRADUATION BY AMBER RASMUSSEN
THE BIBLE IS FULL OF MIRACLES.
In that moment, everyone in the dream room rushed to his side, but nothing anyone was doing would work to save him.
In Exodus, God divides the Red Sea so the Israelites can escape Pharaoh on dry ground. In the book of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are preserved from the dangers of the fiery furnace and Daniel is saved from being ravaged by lions. Then, later on in the New Testament, Jesus performs so many miracles that His disciple John says, “if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written” (John 21:25, NRSV). Even after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension into heaven, the apostles continued performing miracles everywhere they went as they spread the good news of Jesus Christ.
Christian Cosme ’20, ’23 was born in Puerto Rico and grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. In 2020, Cosme earned his associate degree from Point, and he is currently scheduled to graduate with a bachelor of business administration in spring 2023. Cosme’s story of how he arrived at this moment in his life, as a student and athlete, is by no means an ordinary one.
during his coma was also the most vivid. In the dream, his mom took him to his ex-girlfriend’s house; he hadn’t seen her in more than seven years. While there, he explained to his ex that he had been in a bad car accident and thought he was going to die. As he was speaking with her, a hospital bed appeared in the middle of her living room, and suddenly, he was lying in the bed.
“My heart was racing. I knew that this must have been what death feels like,” he says.
Then, a male nurse who was in the room with Cosme walked over to a machine and pressed a
The last dream Cosme remembers having
In 2016, Cosme was in a life-changing car acci dent that severely wounded his body and altered the direction of his life. In the accident, Cosme broke seven ribs, lacerated his liver and lost his left arm. After the accident, he was in a coma for 14 days, during which he experienced incredibly vivid dreams.
“All of my nurses were there,” says Cosme, “and all the sounds of the hospital, of course. All at once, I was filled with this feeling of being panicked, sick and afraid that I was going to die. I could feel death coming for me.”
“I had a dream that I was in the NFL draft,” says Cosme. “Dreams of me in the hospital, pull ing out all the tubes connected to me and just walking out and going to dinner with my friends.”
Despite the biblical evidence for God working in the world through miracles, many people believe God no longer performs miracles. Some think the time for miracles has passed, and from now on, God will only work in practical, logical and scientific ways. While He certainly does do that, He is still God Almighty, and as evidenced in the life of one Point University student, God is surely still performing miracles today.
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“The last six months of my life have been extraordi nary,” he Duringsays.the pandemic, Cosme began playing lacrosse. Over time, he began making videos of himself playing lacrosse and posting them on TikTok and Instagram for fun. All at once, some of his videos started going viral, with thousands of people viewing, liking and commenting on them. Now, Cosme is being invited to meet and spend time with professional lacrosse players; he gets recog
“I started calling myself Cyborg Future after I lost my arm,” says Cosme. “I was told I was going to get a bionic arm, so Cyborg Future came from that.”
Cosme in the hospital after his accident.
“I felt like I was outside of my body,” he explains.
In this space-like place, all of his panicked and worried feelings disappeared, and he immediately felt at peace.
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“I thought it must be a sign from God, because for a while, I had been asking Him to point me in the right direction of where I needed to go and what He wanted me to do. I saw the word ‘point’ and I knew it was from God,” he laughs.Cosme began taking classes online at Point in 2018. He was on track to obtain his associate degree in Christian ministries, but later switched to business administration.
“It took me forever to graduate because of COVID, but I finally did it in 2020,” he says.
It appears as though Cosme’s creativity is only getting started, and it’s been noticed throughout the world.
“I understand now why people say ‘rest in peace’ when someone dies,” he says. “I just felt at peace, just ecstasy. I asked myself, ‘Is this it? Am I going to die? Am I about to meet Jesus?’”
At that moment, as Cosme spoke the name Jesus, he woke up in his hospital bed after two weeks in a coma. Cosme knew without a shadow of a doubt that Jesus had rescued him, so from that moment on, he vowed to live his life devoted to Christ.
“The first six months after the accident were the tough est. No one knows what it’s like to go through losing a limb,” says Cosme.
button. As soon as the button was pressed, Cosme was transported to what seemed to him at the time like space. It was empty, and he was all alone.
The 2020 commencement ceremony was all virtual due to the pandemic, but Cosme was finally able to walk in the April 2022 ceremony and receive his diploma. After completing the bachelor’s in business administration, he plans to pursue a master’s degree through Point’s gradu ate“Pointprogram.has been the key for me walking with Christ,” says Cosme. When he promised to live for Jesus after waking up from his coma, he had the dedication, but not the knowledge to share his faith. Point provided him the opportunity to learn about his faith and who Jesus is. Now he is able to share that knowledge and love everywhere he goes, even in the most unlikely places and ways.
Cosme has certainly not shied away from telling his story and using his voice to inspire and empower others. In December 2021, he published his first book, The Profes sional Procrastinator: Five Easy Steps to a Well-Balanced Life. In the book, Cosme explains how procrastination can actually boost creativity, and he provides suggestions for how to optimize procrastination for productivity. In 2020, Cosme released his first song, “The Road We Find Ourselves Upon.” He even has his own company, Cyborg Future, LLC.
His road to recovery was long, but Cosme was more than determined. Before his accident, Cosme had played football. After waking up from the coma, his doctors told him that there was no chance he would ever be able to play football again. Cosme responded, “You don’t know how big my heart is, and you don’t know how big my God is.” He began working out again, and soon he was back on the football field with bandages still on his Cosmearms.played four seasons of football before the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the upcoming season. During that time, he was being recruited by a variety of schools, one of which offered him a chance to play football for them, but study and take classes with Point.
“It’s like Jesus’ parable about the mustard seed,” he says. “When you look for Christ, He’s there. When you lean on him, He can do anything.”
Follow Cosme’s story on Instagram @cyborgfuture_
nized in public for his videos and is often asked to sign autographs. While not part of his plan for his future, his lacrosse videos are one of the many ways that God is using him to share the truth about Jesus.
Some would likely view Cosme’s accident as the worst thing that ever happened to him. In the kingdom of God, however, everything is upside down. The first become last and the last become first. In the same way, the worst events in our lives are redeemed and become the very things God uses to shape us and glorify Himself. Cosme’s accident taught him to trust God, and now he gets to use his accident to share God’s great love every day with everyone he meets, whether through literature, art or lacrosse. No matter what, he trusts God, and he makes Him known.
Cosme has an optimistic view of his future. He is in the process of partnering with a California-based startup company called Atom Limbs to be a tester for their new artificial arm, which will be capable of “near-full human range of motion, restore a basic sense of touch, and be mind-controlled.” Through this partnership, Cosme will be one step closer to his long-term goal of helping people by providing them with bionic arms.
“WHEN YOU LOOK FOR CHRIST, HE’S THERE. WHEN YOU LEAN ON HIM, HE CAN DO ANYTHING.”
Cosme says he thinks the biggest takeaway from his story is simply faith.
Cosme, number 49 in the above right photo, has amassed a social media following after sharing videos of himself playing lacrosse.
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3. What do you value in your friends? Loyalty! To stick with me when I am a jerk, and to be loyal enough to pull me to the side and tell me that I am being a jerk.
2. What’s one thing that really makes your day?
Soul Strength: Rhythms for Thriving, by Allan Algram.
5. What’s a favorite Bible verse or passage?
Looking for news about your classmates? Visit us at point.edu/alumni to sign up for our e-newsletter.
7. Who’s one person from Point who made a lasting impact on your life?
6. What is your favorite Point memory?
Dale Hutchins ’86
I could go with Cam Huxford ’78 for obvious reasons, but I am going to go with two other people: Dwight Haymon ’77, because he was the bus captain when I started going to church, and my other
8. “Looking at me, no one would guess...”
That I am a huge Cyndi Lauper and Barry Manilow fan.
9. What are you especially enjoying reading, watching or listening to right now?
I have discovered that when I start my day off with my quiet time with God, I am better equipped for the day.
4. What’s one item on your bucket list?
10. What does Point’s mission of service and leadership for Christ mean to you?
My junior year of high school, I thought I had things all figured out as far as what I wanted to do when I grew up. One year at North Georgia Christian Camp changed all of that, when Cam Huxford ’78 pulled me to the side and encouraged me to begin asking God what his will was for my life. The more I prayed, the more I felt God calling me to ministry; the more I prayed, the more I felt his calling. After months of prayer, I decided to follow that calling.
would be Mike Thompson ’85. He was my roommate for a couple of years, but he has been like an older brother to me since we met.
In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus gives The Great Commission to the 11: “And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’” Point University’s commitment to training up the next generation of disciples is extremely important to the church being equipped to make disciples in an ever-changing world.
22 | POINT MAGAZINE photo courtesy of dale hutchins ’86 10 QUESTIONS WITH ONE ALUM
1. What made you decide to attend Point?
To visit the Holy Land.
Basketball trips in a van can be an adventure.
“But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9 NLT)
Hutchins is lead pastor at Snellville Christian Church in Snellville, Georgia, where he has served since 2019. He and his wife, Victoria, were married in 1988 and have three grown children. Hutchins enjoys people, photography and sports. He is an avid Miami Dolphins, Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves fan!
CONNECTED.STAY WHETHER YOU’RE A NEW GRADUATE OR MANY YEARS REMOVED, IN GEORGIA OR ACROSS THE GLOBE, IN MINISTRY OR IN BUSINESS: WE ARE HERE FOR YOU. Learn how we support our alumni through programs and events at point.edu/alumni. • Career services • Alumni events • Continuing education opportunities
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