August 30, 2023
East Texas Baptist University held its annual Convocation chapel service on Wednesday, August 30, where students, faculty, and staff gather in Baker Chapel for a time of worship and commitment for the 2023-2024 academic year.
Convocation is a time-honored tradition, of which the University welcomes new students to the campus community and honors all students with a Scriptural dedication to each of the classes. Through Convocation, the University provides students with a greater understanding of the Christ-centered mission of ETBU and God’s purposes for each ETBU Tiger by sharing the values, core commitments, and traditions of the institution.
“This tradition, Convocation, is an opportunity for us as a University family to gather together and say that we're dedicating this year to God,” Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Thomas Sanders said. “We're dedicating our classrooms, our instruction, our work in student engagement, our work in athletics, our work in service around the community, and the work that you do as a student to honor God.”
Director of Academic Success Dr. Bryan Mead introduced the dedication of the classes, a student-led moment during the ceremony where each class receives a special scripture of encouragement to live by throughout the academic year, read over them by one of their peers.
“The Light on the Hill burns day and night, symbolizing enduring guidance, knowledge, and truth,” Dr. Mead said. “We believe that you chose ETBU as a result of God's leadership. It is your openness to that leadership we wish to recognize and affirm, whether you are just beginning or are about to graduate.”
As is tradition during the convocation ceremony, all students recited a commitment together:
“We are the light of the world. Lord, please let our light shine in such a way that others may see our good works and glorify You in heaven and be drawn to Your Son, Jesus. We further pledge to honor and lead our fellow students in the pursuit of academic excellence, knowledge, and wisdom for the glory of You, Lord.”
Dr. Philip E. Dearborn provided the official charge to students at the ceremony. Dr. Dearborn serves as president of the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE). ABHE serves over 150 institutions of biblical higher education across North America, enrolling 65,000 students. Prior to leading ABHE, he served as Provost of Lancaster Bible College, Capital Seminary and Graduate School. He has over 26 years of higher education leadership experience including teaching at the Ph.D. level.
“Students, faculty, and staff, I want everyone to claim the truth of Ephesians 2:10 in the 2023-2024 academic year,” Dr. Dearborn said. “You are God’s masterpiece. He created each and every one of you for this moment in time. Step into your calling with all your strengths, gifts, abilities, talents, words, and weaknesses, and experience all the good things that He has planned for you.”