East Texas Baptist University held its annual 2019 Fall Convocation chapel service on Sept. 6.

Faculty, staff, students and governance leaders gathered for Convocation to celebrate the official start of the new academic year. During the service, the University recognized Judge David L. Anderson with an Honorary Doctorate degree.

“Convocation is a formal gathering of faculty, staff, students, and governance leaders, which recognizes and celebrates the official start of the new year here on the Hill,” ETBU President J. Blair Blackburn said. “At ETBU, we honor this annual tradition as both an ecclesiastical and academic ceremonial assembly.

“Through worship and praise, commitment of prayer, and the proclamation of God’s word, we dedicate this year to teaching His truth and reflecting the light of Christ’s love to a world desperate for hope and peace.”

During Convocation, ETBU presented David L. Anderson with an Honorary Doctorate degree to commemorate his remarkable career. Judge Anderson served the East Texas community as Judge for Panola County from 2003 until his retirement in 2014.

Committed to a career of service, he was involved in his community and church in many ways including serving as a certified EMT, a Reserve Deputy for Shelby County, and a volunteer firefighter for the Carthage Fire Department.

“Judge Anderson faithfully served as a member and past Chair of the Board of Trustees at East Texas Baptist University, following the role model of his parents, who were generous benefactors to ETBU,” Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Thomas Sanders said. “The Honorary Doctorate is awarded to very few individuals who have distinguished themselves in service to God and humanity. The honor attached to these degrees notably reflects the respect and esteem earned by such people as Judge Anderson.”

Those in attendance received a message from Dr. Nathan Lorick, 2003 ETBU graduate and Executive Director of the Colorado Baptist Convention, who reminded students that a surrendered life will take us to places where our dreams collide with God’s desires.

“ETBU is a light on a Hill, and you out to be so encouraged and excited to pursue your education with other brothers and sisters in Christ,” Lorick said. “If I can challenge you with anything from the Word of God today, it would be this, as you pursue your education, we need doctors, lawyers, business owners, we need teachers and stay at home moms, we need coaches, we need missionaries, we need pastors, we need professors all who are fully surrendered men and women of God.”

Dr. Blackburn recognized the 2019-2020 ETBU Board of Trustees, who are actively involved in the development of new academic programs and majors, and thanked them for their service to the University.

“Today is a day of celebration, and we are thrilled to have so many people here today, who support this institution,” Dr. Blackburn said. “We are grateful to the Board of Trustees for their leadership, service, and support of East Texas Baptist and everything God is doing here today.”

During the service, each class, along with faculty and staff, received a special prayer of blessing and purpose as well as a verse of encouragement to live by throughout the following academic year.

“At Convocation each year, we dedicate the classes. We believe that you chose ETBU as the result of God’s leadership,” Director of Student Success Shelby Jones shared. “It is your openness to that leadership we wish to recognize and affirm — whether you are just beginning or are about to graduate.”

Prior to the official pronouncement of the beginning of the school year by Dr. Blackburn, all students recited a commitment aloud 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.”