BELTON, Texas—The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (UMHB) celebrated the beginning of the school year and welcomed approximately 800 new freshmen to campus during its 178th Fall Convocation service on Aug. 9.
This year, nearly 3,500 students aged 16 to 76 are attending classes at UMHB. In opening remarks, UMHB President Dr. Randy O’Rear said that Convocation has been observed since 1845, when the college began in Independence. That year, there were just 24 students attending classes.
“Students, you are here for a reason, and we hope that you will use this time to grow closer to God, earn a great education, and explore the remarkable purpose God has for your life,” O’Rear said.
After UMHB faculty proceeded into the Frank and Sue Mayborn Campus Center arena, there was a parade of flags representing each of the 30 countries and territories around the globe and 40 states around the nation from which UMHB students have journeyed to campus this year.
In his address to the packed arena, Dr. Adam Winn, Associate Professor in the College of Christian Studies, shared an inspirational message about becoming God’s new creation.
“In the New Testament, we are told that because of our faith in Jesus and the gift of God’s spirit within us, we are a new creation. What does that mean? It means that in us, through God’s spirit, we are where heaven and earth touch,” Winn said. “Our purpose is to be reconnected to the God who made us. Our purpose is to be a new creation. Our heart’s desire will be found when we are reconnected to the God who made us. Here at UMHB, we want to help you understand how your discipline, field of study, or program fits with the larger purpose of being a new creation.”
Dr. Winn is an Associate Professor in the College of Christian Studies and holds a Ph.D. in New Testament Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary. He has authored a number of books as well as academic articles on the New Testament. He is an active member of both the Society of Biblical Literature and the Society for New Testament Studies. In addition to his academic work, Dr. Winn is deeply committed to serving the local church through preaching and teaching. He is currently serving as interim Co-Teaching Pastor at Lost Pines Cowboy Church. His passion is helping people to better understand Christian scriptures in light of the ancient contexts in which they were written.
To end the ceremony, Dr. Emily Prevost, Associate Provost for Academic Engagement, offered a blessing written by Dr. Carol Holcomb, Christian Studies professor. The blessing encouraged UMHB students to have a quiet mind, listening ears, clear vision, and a teachable spirit this academic year and beyond.