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ETBU retirees marvel at new facilities

By Hannah DeClerk Marshall News Messenger
July 15, 2011 at 2:06 a.m.


East Texas Baptist University proudly shared its $12.2 million worth of campus renovations to a group of over 20 retirees Wednesday afternoon.

The ETBU retiree luncheon, held in the Woods Great Room of the Ornelas Student Center, was a chance for the institution's former employees to catch up with old friends, and this year - admire all of the campus transformations.

"These are exciting times, and we have exciting things happening at ETBU," shared ETBU President Dr. Samuel "Dub" Oliver to the group of retirees. "A lot of you, this is the first time in our brand new student center."

Oliver explained that along with the brand new 32,000 square foot Ornelas Student Center, the institution in also in the process of renovating the Bennett Student Commons.

"Together, these two total 63,000 square feet," said Oliver.

Oliver announced the institution will begin construction on a 6,000 square foot Tiger Training Center for the ETBU football team to workout.

He said the institution has recently hired two new deans, as well as a new university chaplain.

"We have a new masters in education program, which has more students enrolled than expected," said Oliver.

He said in the future they are looking to add three of four new masters degree programs.

Both men's and women's tennis will be brought back to the institution starting in the Fall 2011, according to Oliver.

"We are just really excited, we have a lot of great things happening on campus," said Oliver.

Former ETBU President Bob Riley, was proud of the newest additions to the campus and said "it is always good to see progress made, and how much the institution continues to grow and develop into the future.

His wife, Gayle Riley , said she was "overwhelmed by the beautiful details in the new building, as well as the campus."

"God has continued to bless ETBU," said Ms. Riley. "I truly enjoy seeing what is happening here."

Former Director of Public Relations, Don Harper, who had not been on the campus since the new student center was built, described it as "hard to believe."

"It is overwhelming," said Harper. "This is such a great selling point. Interested students can now come here and think, this is a first rate campus."

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