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ETBU honors University donors during annual Legacy of 1912 Society Luncheon

November 8, 2023

On Wednesday, November 8, East Texas Baptist University welcomed an assembly of ETBU retirees, Legacy of 1912 Society Members, and Endowed Scholarship Donors to the campus for the annual Legacy of 1912 Society Luncheon.

"Celebrating the Legacy of 1912 Society and ETBU retirees during this luncheon is always a highlight of the academic year for me,” Vice President for Advancement and Administrative Affairs Scott Bryant said to those in attendance. “I have the privilege of engaging with our alumni on a regular basis and often hear about how their time on the Hill was profoundly impacted by the generosity of donors and friends of the University. The Christ-centered education our students receive is made possible by those of you in this room and countless others who invest in the mission we as an institution hold dear. Many of these students wouldn't be here without support from our donors, and for that, we express our sincere appreciation."

The Legacy of 1912 Society is comprised of alumni and friends who, through thoughtful estate planning and other forms of planned giving, ensure that resources will be available to support ETBU far into the future.

“God's call extends to every individual, regardless of age,” ETBU President J. Blair Blackburn said. “It's not about one person; it's about the entire community of God's people coming together to serve Him on this Hill. Our University relies on individuals like you, who can both pray and generously contribute from the blessings bestowed upon you by God to execute the mission that He has entrusted to East Texas Baptist University. Today, we celebrate the faithful individuals who have gone before us and those who will follow while we continue to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus and conduct the Kingdom work we are called to as a Christ-centered institution.”

During the celebratory luncheon, ETBU Assistant Professor of Education Jennifer Gillaspie (’02) reflected on her time as an undergraduate student and her subsequent career in the field of education.

“I think about the legacy and the honor that it is to be a scholarship recipient at ETBU,” Gillaspie said. “As a professor in the School of Education, I have some amazing students who have the light of Jesus, and they're going to get to share that with our public schools. Without their scholarships, it's very likely that they would not have been able to attend ETBU, so thank you on their behalf.”  

ETBU class of ’94 and Director of Alumni Relations Cari Johnson moderated a panel of ETBU student scholars made up of Avery Abshier, junior Christian ministry major; Abraham Contreras, senior Christian ministry and mental health major; and Nakayla Holloway, senior psychology major. During the panel discussions, each student expressed appreciation for donor-supported initiatives that opened the doors for them to pursue an education at ETBU.

“Scholarships have made it possible for me to attend ETBU, but they also allow me to thrive while I'm here,” Avery Abshier, Christian ministry major, said. “It has made me aware of God's provision in my life. I prayed for the opportunity to come to ETBU, and the Lord made it possible through the generosity of others. Because others have been obedient to the Lord and His call on their lives, I have been able to learn and serve on The Hill.”