(864) 977-7000


Harris Encourages NGU Grads "Not to Settle"

North Greenville University held its spring commencement ceremony on a cool spring morning in Melvin and Dollie Younts Stadium on Thursday, May 5. 

A record crowd of over 4,000 spectators watched a record graduating class of 331 undergraduates and graduates receive their diplomas. Mark Harris, Executive Worship Pastor and Artist in Residence at Gateway Church in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, was the keynote speaker.

 “Life is in constant motion,” Harris said. “We’re all simultaneously both moving away from something and moving toward something. So today for you graduates, you’re moving away from the familiarity of the college classroom and moving into the big new unknown.”

 Harris referenced Isaiah 43:19-20.

“God speaks through the prophet Isaiah. He talks about the new big unknown. ‘For I am about to do something new. See I have already begun. Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness and I will create rivers in the dry wasteland,’ ” Harris read.

“Figuratively speaking, the pathway God makes through the wilderness and the rivers he creates through the dry wasteland literally could be you and me. If we lead the way God calls us to lead, then we will be the path that guides people that are lost in the wilderness, out of the wilderness. We will be the river that brings living water to the thirsty,” he said.

"I challenge you [graduates] today as you approach this new unknown. It takes people that are willing to dare, students who are willing to dream to be a part of that path that leads people out of the wilderness. I challenge you to be a river that brings life and sustenance to those who are in a dry wasteland. Will you step in with determination and faith? Will you be a difference maker or will you just be a settler and blend into the fabric of society,” said Harris.    

Harris told the graduates that they have a choice. He asked if they will choose to be a settler, one who settles for something safe and easy or will they choose to be a Bannister referencing Roger Bannister, the man who was not willing to bury his talent and the first to run a sub-four-minute mile in 1954 at Oxford University.  

He encouraged the graduates to “think big, dream big, and believe big.”       

Harris was a member of the contemporary Christian groups Truth and 4Him, a solo artist since 2006, and worship pastor of the Bay Community Church from 2005 to 2012. 

He has a bachelor's degree from Lee University and married to Jodie Harris. They have two children: Matthew, who is a member of NGU's spring 2016 graduating class and Maddison, who is a sophomore at Grand Canyon University.

In addition, at the conclusion of this address, Harris was presented an honorary Doctor of Christian Leadership by NGU Interim President, Dr. Randall J. Pannell, and Beverly Hawkins, chairperson of the NGU Board of Trustees.


Related Stories


Ignite Conference Sparks New School Year
Pray that many students will respond to the gospel and be encouraged in their faith.  

Beam Honored with E. A. McDowell Award
Dr. Tony Beam acknowledged for his impact on culture through his defense of the faith and biblical worldview.

NGU Orchestra to Present Concert
Program to include NGU ROTC Cadets

NGU to Host Second Annual Faith At Work Business Symposium
Local Christian business professionals share how they integrate Christ-centered values in business.

Concert Choir Tour Dates Announced
This year the choir will sing concerts in South Carolina and Georgia.

Allen Named to Allstate Good Works Team
NGU student, Bryce Allen, was recently named to the 2017 National Association of Basketball Coaches Good Works Team.  

NGU in Top 5 Best Value Christian Colleges & Universities
NGU ranks fifth in Christian Universities Online (CUO) ranking based on net price and return on investment.  

School of Theatre Nominated to Compete in Festival
The cast of "Nora's House" invited to participate in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival 47 in Feb.