April 26, 2019
East Texas Baptist University recognized Dr. John Sargent as the 2019 J. Ward Walker Lecturer on Wednesday, April 24. Each year, the ETBU Integration of Faith and Learning Committee acknowledges a faculty or staff member as the J. Ward Walker Honoree to lead the lecture series. During the University’s chapel service, Dr. Sargent reminded the ETBU community that Christians have the power to change the world.
“I am humbled and honored to receive the J. Ward Walker Award for this year. I want to thank the people I work alongside, the students that have blessed my life in many ways, and the administration that give me a chance to minister here through my teaching,” Dr. Sargent said. “I start with thanksgiving because I’ve noticed that it is impossible to be grateful and unhappy at the same time. Think about Paul, who spent most of his life in a first-century prison, but still found a way to evangelize. What makes you happy? I try to get across to students that a relationship with Jesus Christ will always bring joy, and if we are right with Him, we can change the world with the Gospel.”
Dr. Sargent has served as the Dean of the School of Education since 2016 and Professor of Teacher Education from 2003. Prior to his 16-year tenure at ETBU, Dr. Sargent taught for nine years in the public schools of Texas and Louisiana. He also served as a career aviator in the United States Air Force for 20 years before his education career. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts, Master of Science in Management from the State University of New York at Binghamton, and Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Louisiana Tech University. Dr. Sargent is a committed Christian educator, who believes in the power of God's Word to mold and transform lives and seeks to instill those values into his students.
“In my faith-filled life, ETBU has allowed me to respond to the call of God in a personal way,” Dr. Sargent continued. “Teaching at ETBU and serving the students here provides me with a tremendous opportunity to not only share my personal faith but also mentor students on their journey with Jesus Christ. Once a week, we incorporate a reading from Scripture in all of my classes and relate the passages to our own life and the world of education in general. Teaching at ETBU in the School of Education provides the means to change the world in a practical and spiritual sense.”
Complementing his service on the Hill, Dr. Sargent is a deacon at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Marshall. Preparation for this ministry required formal multi-year education and training. The responsibilities include baptizing, performing marriages, conducting funerals, distributing Communion, and preaching. Dr. Sargent performs all of these ministries in and for the local community, and he volunteers as a chaplain at Christus Good Shepard Medical Center in Marshall.
One of the members of the ETBU community, who nominated Dr. Sargent stated, “When I think of integration of faith, learning, and service, I think of Dr. John Sargent.”
Dr. J. Ward Walker served in the 1990s as ETBU Vice President for Spiritual Life. Dr. Walker actively exemplified and supported the integration of faith and learning as a central pursuit for all who are involved in Christ-centered higher education. Recipients of the award named in his memory are selected based on their exemplary and consistent engagement of faith with scholarship, teaching, or administrative service.
“All of the members of the committee, including Reid Adams, Wendy Torres, Laci McRee, Brandon Renfro, David Griffin, Scott Stevens, and Emily Prevost join me in offering Dr. Sargent our congratulations as the award recipient,” ETBU Professor of Religion and Chair of the Integration of Faith and Learning Committee Warren Johnson said. “I thank the members of the committee for their faithful commitment to the task of promoting the integration of faith and learning at ETBU, including their dedication to the task of identifying members of our community who demonstrate the qualities of Christian scholarly discipleship, following the example of J. Ward Walker as he imitated Christ.”