Convocation marks official beginning of 2010 school year

Dressed in colorful academic regalia, the faculty of Southwestern Adventist University marched into the Keene Seventh-day Adventist Church for the annual Convocation ceremony during assembly on Thursday, September 2. The Southwestern Trumpet Quintet played “Trumpet Voluntary” to mark the beginning of the processional, and a new academic year.

Ben McArthur, vice president for academic administration, welcomed students to the event by reminding them that convocation recognizes an academic process that dates back more than a millennium to higher education in Italy. The intention of the service is to set the tone for the beginning school year.

Music for the afternoon included processional and recessional by the Southwestern Trumpet Quintet, the congregation singing “Crown Him with Many Crowns,” and the University Singers presenting the Swahili anthem “O Sifuni Mungu.”

Speaker for the Convocation was Dr. Eric Anderson, president of Southwestern Adventist University, who was introduced by Sam Green, a member of the University Board of Trustees. Speaking on “The Folly of Prestige: Kenosis, Glory and Education,” Anderson compared and contrasted Southwestern Adventist University with other similarly sized colleges that presented themselves to the world with all the apparent trappings of prestige and success.

“There are many ways to judge a college,” said Anderson. “And by some of those standards Southwestern Adventist University is not very impressive. The truth is that Southwestern is not richly endowed or widely known. To be brutally honest, a person does not gain prestige or status by enrolling here—or by working here.

“Too many schools have confused themselves on what is desirable or possible or appropriate, and ended up neglecting essential matters as their leaders ride off in pursuit of imaginary objectives and impossible dreams. Adventist education must focus on what we really are, instead of building on appearances, or longing for greater prestige. Without fooling ourselves about our wealth or eminence, we should act to preserve and strengthen what has been accomplished here in this small college on the plains of Texas.”

Anderson went on to cite how, for more than a century, Southwestern’s greatness has been in its record of changed lives. “Southwestern has had the audacity to aim at ‘the harmonious development of the physical, mental, and spiritual powers,’ to seek to prepare students not just for a job, but for life, even eternal life.”

“Certainly if we follow God’s leading, we will be blessed beyond our greatest imagination,” he said at the close of his presentation. “And ‘blessed’ is a better word than ‘prestigious.’”

A video of the convocation is now available here.

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  1. Faith Chancy
    September 22, 17:29 Reply
    Hi, I was wondering if there is a video of this ceremony available anywhere?

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