I just returned from our quarterly Board meeting at Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, TN, where we learned of some exciting developments I think you will find encouraging. At a time when so many congregations are struggling with declining membership and other challenges, it’s refreshing to hear about some of the good news happening with our young people. Here are some of the highlights:
Friday began with a reception for the Lady Lions softball team, which has had an amazing year. We had the opportunity to meet these beautiful Christian young ladies and their coaches, Todd Humphrey and Kaylyn Graham. The reception was followed by the Board’s morning devotional, which featured our newest member, Greg Massey, as speaker. Of special interest to me, Greg is both a lawyer and a preacher! He is from Chattanooga, Tennessee, and did a fine job in speaking at the devotional.
My committee is the Spiritual and Student Development Committee, which had a good meeting at 8:40 a.m. TJ Kirk, the Dean of Students, presented an encouraging report. We heard about efforts to improve the chapel experience and make it more spiritually meaningful. Chapel this year features the theme, “One with the Spirit,” and has included Bible faculty answering questions on challenging Bible subjects. There were two baptisms from Farrow Hall already this year, and plans for the Lloyd auditorium renovation include installation of an on-campus baptistry.
Following the committee meeting, Marvina joined me for chapel, as the Board members sat together toward the front. We heard an excellent address by fellow Board member, Terry Crews. Terry has served as the Chief Financial Officer for Monsanto Corporation, and is extremely active in major corporate work.
After chapel we boarded a shuttle bus for the official ribbon cutting for Laurel Cottage. Named after former first lady, Laurel Sewell, Laurel Cottage is a beautifully decorated and newly renovated home, which provides comfortable overnight accommodations for campus guests. Decorated to honor the legacy of the Presidents’ wives, the cottage is now officially open.
Following lunch, the general assembly convened, and we heard an encouraging report from President David Shannon,. Nathan Kitchen has been named as the new Director of Information Technology. Mid-South Youth Camp set an all-time record with 1630 campers this year. Paul Gray Hall, originally built in 1929, has been completely renovated and is now home to sixty-six students. 12 new full-time faculty have been added this year. Undergraduate enrollment has set a record of 1850 students, with total enrollment now at 2283 students from 34 states and 25 countries. September of this year featured the groundbreaking for the new dining hall, which will also feature a Chick-fil-A restaurant open to the public. CPA exam performance has soared, with FHU now ranking second in the state overall. As to the FHUNext campaign, the goal of $101,500,000 has been exceeded and we now have $112,264,253. A new parking area of 103 parking spaces is being added across Main Street, which will feature the only Level 3 charging station in the county. The renovations to Lloyd Auditorium are in the architectural stage, and are looking beautiful.
These are some of the encouraging developments on behalf of our young people at Freed- Hardeman during the last quarter. This was a good, quick trip, and it’s great to be home!
– by Robert C. Veil, Jr.