East Texas Baptist University honored 88 graduating seniors with an official ETBU Class Ring during the 2018 Ring Blessing on Wednesday, November 14 at 10:00 a.m. in Baker Chapel of the Ornelas Spiritual Life Center. The inaugural ceremony was designed to celebrate the accomplishments of students and connect generations of alumni. As a token of appreciation to graduating seniors, this graduation ring symbolizes the University’s blessing over students as they commence from ETBU to pursue their vocational callings.
“These rings serve as a reminder of what God has called us to do as Christian believers and a University Family,” ETBU President J. Blair Blackburn said. “I am honored to be a part of this new tradition that connects all ETBU graduates from generation to generation. Every student earning his or her bachelor’s degree will receive this symbol as a part of their Christ-centered education at ETBU. The ring represents the culmination of what God has done in your lives during your time at the institution and how He is working through ETBU. We challenge you to use the ring to reflect the Light of Christ.”
Inspired by Deuteronomy 6, the Class Ring allows ETBU alumni to carry and display the love of Christ. Each ring features the seal of East Texas Baptist, surrounded by the cornerstones of the University – Veritas, Mores, and Scientia, which translate from Latin to Truth, Character, and Knowledge. Inscribed in the ring are significant icons of ETBU and the Christian faith, such as historic Marshall Hall and the Light on the Hill, Max Greiner’s Divine Servant Statue, and the Bible. These symbols are meant to remind alumni of God’s Word and their transformational experience at East Texas Baptist University.
“Upon our graduation this December, we will forever be a part of the Christ-centered legacy of ETBU. We stand as an ambassador for Christ and our Alma Mater,” ETBU senior Victoria Gutierrez shared. “At ETBU, I found a personal relationship with Christ. My faith became my own, and I have become a stronger young woman than I ever thought I could be. I look forward to using my ring as a prompt to initiate conversations and build relationships. It is amazing how something so small could hold such significance. I am grateful for a physical reminder that, as Tigers, we are all connected for one purpose.”
Texas Baptists (BGCT) Urban Missions and Partnerships Director Tom Howe served as the keynote speaker for the ceremony. Howe, a minister for over 27 years in Texas and Alabama churches, is a 1993 alumnus of ETBU. Howe holds a Master of Divinity from Samford University and a Doctor of Ministry from Southwestern Seminary as well. During the Ring Blessing, he reminded students of God’s promise in Jeremiah 29:11.
“God has a calling on your life,” Howe said. “While some of you may believe that God does not care about you or that you are disqualified from service, let me assure you that God has a plan and purpose for you. As the next generation’s emerging leaders, you are going to make a difference in the world. Do not side-step or ignore your God-given calling. Be a part of His Kingdom work.”