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“Miles to Marshall” 2019 Homecoming Weekend brings Tiger Family to the Hill

October 26, 2019

Despite rainy weather, the cooler temperatures could not put a damper on the warmth of the Tiger Spirit during East Texas Baptist University’s Homecoming festivities this weekend. ETBU hosted alumni from the College of Marshall (COM), East Texas Baptist College (ETBC), and East Texas Baptist University (ETBU) on the Hill for a celebration of past and present traditions during Homecoming weekend on Friday, October 25 through Saturday, October 26.

“When this University began in 1912, it was the hope and the goal of the president to be a light on a hill, not just for the city of Marshall, not just for East Texas, but a light of Christ’s love for the world,” ETBU Vice President for Advancement Scott Bryant said. “We are proud to be an institution that lifts up the name of Christ and proclaims the truth of the Gospel to all who are here, and we are thankful to have this Homecoming weekend to welcome back and recognize our alumni who represent the same values. ETBU alumni are serving and making a significant impact in a wide variety of careers all over the world, fulfilling the Great Commission.”

Since the program’s inception in 2010, a total of 89 members have been presented with ETBU’s traditional Golden Blazers as a symbol of leadership, spiritual authority, and God’s blessing. These ambassadors have provided $10,000 of financial support and countless volunteer hours to their alma mater. The 2019 Golden Blazers are Dorothy Keasler (’58), Denie Kendrick (’58), and Charles and Ora Nell Peden (’55, ’54). 

“For more than 100 years, the ETBU community has celebrated the tradition of Homecoming as a time of reunion, the celebration of memories, a festival of heritage, and a joyous occasion where friends and family reunite on the Hill,” ETBU President J. Blair Blackburn said during the 2019 Homecoming chapel service. “The Golden Blazers, Alumni Award recipients, and Golden Lightkeepers exemplify the mission of ETBU by investing their lives and resources to enrich the experience at the University for our students. As students walk across the stage at graduation and become alumni of this institution, we pray you go from the Hill and follow the paths of those who are receiving awards here today.”

During the Homecoming chapel service, the winners of the 2019 Alumni Awards were also announced. Dr. David Riddle (’68) received the J. Wesley Smith Achievement Award, Dale Perkins, Sr. was honored with the W.T. Tardy Service Award, Judge Brad Morin (’84) was awarded the Alumni Achievement Award, Ken Chinn (’81) was honored with the Unsung Hero Award, Dr. Nia Madison (’00) accepted the Young Alumnus Award, and Dr. Robert Spencer was chosen for the Blue and Gold Award.

“I am deeply humbled to receive this award and this recognition,” Chinn said. “I am grateful that East Texas Baptist University encourages students to have a relationship with Christ, which is the most important thing. Not only have this relationship with Christ, but to go out into the world and make a difference.”

Alumnus Paul Tapp (’69) received the Golden Lightkeeper Award. The award is bestowed upon alumni who graduated 50 years ago or more and demonstrate continuing achievement in their vocation, church, and community. Mr. Tapp was presented with a commemorative award to honor his support and exemplification of the mission of ETBU. In addition, 14 members of the Class of 1969 were recognized at the Golden Lightkeeper Luncheon following chapel.

“Teachers and professors, teach all of your students as lightkeepers. For they all are, already a city set on a Hill that cannot and will not be hidden,” Tapp said. “For over 14 years, it was my privilege to cast a spotlight on many other alumni who have distinguished this school with uncommon service to mankind. The ETBU galaxy is bright with the warmth and light of our alumni.”

Tigers enjoyed activities such as the Perkins Family and Friends Reunion Concert, Tiger Pep Rally and Fireworks, Tiger Family Carnival and Tailgating, Decade Reunions, and the Tiger Football game. The 2019 Homecoming Court was announced during the halftime of the football game against Howard Payne University. The court included Freshman Duke and Duchess, Brendan Smith and Baylie Bradley; Sophomore Duke and Duchess, Jake Miller and Abigail Bath; Junior Duke and Duchess, Richard Clair and Emilee McCoy; and Senior Duke and Duchess, Lucas Pritchett and Joy Tama. ETBU seniors Lane Craig and Morgan Arst were named 2019 ETBU Homecoming King and Queen.

“It is so exciting to be crowned Homecoming King,” Craig said. “As a native of Marshall, it’s so cool to represent ETBU and Marshall in this way. I think the professors at ETBU have set wonderful examples of what it means not only to pursue higher education, but also what it looks like to represent Christ. From the people on staff, to my friends and family, so many people have helped me grow in my faith and prepare me for graduation in December.”

The King and Queen were nominated for their representations of a Christian leader, scholar, and servant. Craig is a Christian Ministry major who has served in numerous organizations and leadership positions during his time at ETBU including service in Baptist Student Ministry, Kid’s Club, Tiger Camp, Rec-Team, and Men’s Ministry.  He has been an active volunteer in the community through BGCBP, First Priority of America, Mission Marshall and at Travis Elementary and Price T. Young Elementary.  He has served in churches as a student ministry volunteer and student intern. Arst is an Accounting major from Marshall, Texas. She is involved in Student Athletic Leadership Training (SALT), played Tiger Softball for three years where she also served as Director of Operations, was involved in the Student Athletic Advisory Committee, and worked for Campus Services for two years.

“I am so honored to represent the senior class as Homecoming Queen,” Arst said. “My favorite thing about ETBU is the community and friendships I’ve made; they are all Christ-centered, and everyone pushes each other to be better. Even though I’m graduating in December, I’m so glad I get to stick around for another year as I pursue my master’s degree. I feel so overwhelmed and really loved by my classmates and friends.”

The Tiger Football team finished a successful Homecoming weekend with a 41-35 win over Howard Payne University and will face the Southwestern University Pirates next week on November 2 in Georgetown, Texas.