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ETBU students arrive at their Home on the Hill for the Fall 2023 semester

August 16, 2023

The 2023-2024 academic year is off to an exciting start at East Texas Baptist University. After a summer spent working, traveling, and serving, students arrived to the Hill at ETBU for August Mini-Term classes, Move-In Day, Tiger Camp, and the official start of the Fall 2023 semester on August 14.

"It is exciting to see a new year begin and anticipate what God has in store for our University," ETBU President J. Blair Blackburn said. "I am grateful for the faithful work of our ETBU Family that equips students in their intellectual development and spiritual formation. I am praying that our campus community will stand firmly for the Lord and experience the presence of Jesus as we pursue His purposes for our lives and ETBU."

As is tradition, faculty, staff, and students lined up outside campus residence halls on move-in day to assist incoming freshmen and new transfer students in carrying moving boxes, mini-fridges, and housing essentials to their dorm rooms. For years, this warm welcome has continued in hopes that the process remains seamless and stress-free for new students and their families. While some students and families are joining the ETBU for the first time, other parents returned to their alma mater to drop off next generations of Tigers.

"Our daughter Kyleigh’s choosing to attend ETBU and moving her onto campus has been a very surreal and exciting experience for us," ETBU parent and alumna Shanna Pate (' 01) said. "So much has changed about the campus; however, at the same time, it still feels very much the same, reminding us of what was ‘home’ for us for several years over 20 years ago. We are so excited for our daughter to experience the atmosphere that ETBU provides while studying to be what God is calling her to in years to come."

After settling into their new college homes for the semester, first-year Tigers had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with all that ETBU has to offer during Tiger Camp, the annual welcome week for students. A fun-filled tradition at the institution, Tiger Camp is designed to connect students with campus life and their new living and learning community through outdoor games, fellowship, and informational sessions.

"Tiger Camp is full of fun events like the Coffeehouse Concert and Block Party, academic trainings with students’ Learning and Leading instructors, and time spent in worship during Lampsato Lighting ceremony,” Director of Student Life Laura Coursey said. "It’s an opportunity for new Tigers to be fully-immersed in the ETBU experience before classes begin. This year during the Tigers Serve event, Tiger Camp students had the opportunity to serve at dozens of organizations around Marshall that make up the heart and soul of the community.”

Reverend James Webb, Chair of ETBU Board of Trustees and Pastor of St. Violet Baptist Church in Tyler,  challenged the campus community to be “Tiger Strong” and lean on faith from Ephesians 6:10 throughout the semester during the first chapel service of the new academic year.

"If we are going to have a great semester, if you're going to be able to navigate the ends and outs and the ups and downs of being back on campus, you need to remember to be strong in the Lord,” Rev. Webb said. "I want you to understand that your presence on this campus is not by accident or coincidence; it's because the Lord led you here."