Dear Louisiana College family:
My first day as president has arrived, and I can think of only a few events in my life that reflect the impact this next adventure God has before me. Coming to saving faith in Jesus, meeting and marrying Cathy, having children and grandchildren all were momentous and meaningful occasions. Becoming the 9th president of Louisiana College, however, is the beginning of another chapter in this life that has prepared me for the challenges and victories the future has for every stakeholder of Louisiana College.
The role of president opens a new destination for me, but behind me are the familiar paths of a collegiate community and academic accomplishment, all of which are God’s blessings. I am humbled. I am blessed.
In light of recent history, perhaps some may wonder why I accepted the helm of the college. In responding to the unanimous vote of our trustees I also yielded to God’s call upon my life. This gives me peace about the past and assurance for the future. Another confidence builder in what lies ahead is Louisiana College’s remarkable student body. I have met scores of our students personally. And in their bright eyes and engaging smiles I sense the weight of responsibility every one of us has for their preparation.
My intent, therefore, is to ensure that Louisiana College remains student-centric. I believe that any deviation from that reality is a detour from our roles. Faculty, staff and administration must help attract, educate and graduate those who will lead tomorrow’s world, and will serve with a disciplined mind and a dedicated heart. These broad goals are attained by the objectives I fondly refer to as the three Rs. Though readin’, writin’ and ’rithmetic described one era of education in America, today such basics must be enhanced and undergirded on the college level by these words: relevant, relational and rigorous.
Relevant means that our graduates will leave the college with degrees they can market and skills they can ply. These concrete aspects must be accompanied by the abstracts of critical thinking and problem solving. Such are the tools for success in the 21st century.
Relational entails personal and professional interests we already express toward our students. Read the words of Heather Baglio, Nursing major: “Louisiana College is an amazing and life altering place strictly off of the people who surround you on this campus. These people, along with God’s direction are what have shaped me into the young woman I have become today. From students, to leaders of organizations, and professors — they all care genuinely about you and will do anything to help you.”
Rigor is the quality of strict precision, and of being extremely thorough, exhaustive, or accurate. Anything less than these parameters constitutes a sub-par educational experience. Louisiana College’s curriculum must be as challenging as the issues that face the world today, and produce alumni who can find solutions and conquer the problems that are coming tomorrow, too.
Let none of us think that our course is simple or our pathway is easy. We have work to do, and Louisiana College needs more than dedicated leaders and committed students. To have the level of success our Lord expects of us requires the help of every church, every pastor, every parent, every alumnus, every donor, and every prospective student, as well as the capable servants who comprise our Louisiana Baptist Convention staff. These are the stakeholders we will rely upon as we craft and implement our 5-year strategic plan, LC2020.
Because all truth is God’s truth, there is no room for anti-intellectualism at Louisiana College, and LC2020’s guiding principles will reflect our intentional integration of faith and learning. As we strike the appropriate balance between academic scholarship and spiritual devotion, we will see how learning shaped and formed by faith produces living shaped and formed by faith. Louisiana College takes our Lord’s Great Commission and Great Commandment seriously, and will empower students to link their professional and personal passions with God’s ultimate purpose for their lives (Col. 3:17). Our daily priority is to prepare graduates and transform lives for the work of God’s kingdom in whatever career paths our students may pursue.
My challenge to our entire Louisiana College family is not simply to continue in your prayers for us, but to come stand with us purposefully. Bring your hearts and your hands to help make what we have noted in this letter a continually improving reality. My commitment to Louisiana College’s stakeholders is to attempt and to achieve again the career and collegiate milestones of my past for the sake of LC’s future, and for that of our students.
We cannot get there without you. Neither can we achieve our goals without God’s help. Pray with us that God will complete the good work he started on the Hill in Pineville back in 1906, and that he will continue to bless us for decades to come.
Keep Pressing On!