NGU Celebrates 125 Anniversary and Community at Red Carpet Gala
The North Greenville University community gathered on October 26 at the Poinsett Club in downtown Greenville for a Red Carpet Gala to celebrate not only the 125 anniversary, but also the community that has nurtured the institution these decades. The university recognized donors who have shown exemplary service, commitment, and a lifetime of giving to NGU.
“We recognize donors that have supported us in the past year, but we hope that the conversations around the tables, the music that will be showcased, and the words that I will share will help to introduce the university to some of you,” said NGU President Dr. Gene C. Fant, Jr. “As well as to remind others of you about the joy that we all share as a part of this wonderful family of faith.”
The evening was filled with musical performances from the Cline School of Music faculty and students. And student artwork from the Art Department were also on display.
The following awards were presented at the event:
Bon Secours/St. Francis Health Healthcare System was presented the Foundation/Corporation Award. This award is given to an organization whose support and influence have served to enhance the heritage and uphold NGU’s mission. NGU’s Graduate School of Health Science PA Medicine program is in its second year of operation. The program’s Clinical Skills Academic Center was made possible by a generous gift from Bon Secours/St. Francis Healthcare System which is named in their honor at the Greer Campus. Erik Whaley accepted the award on behalf of Bon Secours/St. Francis Health System.
The Tip of the Sword Award recognizes those who have made a significant contribution to NGU through their financial support, dedication, and passion regarding Crusader Athletics was presented to Bea Dillard, from Spartanburg. She honored her deceased husband, Ray, with a monetary gift to the new baseball stadium. Dillard wants to ensure the next generation of athletes have the opportunity to receive a college education in Christ-centered environment.
The Faculty/Staff Heritage Award was presented to Weston Warren, retired member of the university faculty. This award is presented to a current or retired member of the university family whose gifts embody the spirit of North Greenville. Warren, or “Prof” as he is affectionately known on campus, taught Spanish and French at NGU from 1993 to 2013.
In South Carolina, he taught at Southern Wesleyan University, Liberty High School, and NGU. As part of his teaching experience at NGU, Warren began taking students to Honduras on mission trips. A study abroad program began where students spend five weeks studying the Spanish language in Honduras and working on mission projects to witness to the Honduran people.
W. Lee Capell, from Prosperity, received the Board Leadership Award presented to a university trustee whose support of NGU serves as an example to others. Capell, a graduate of the University of South Carolina and owner of ABS Environmental, spent nine years in the Navy flying F-14s where he had 250 carrier landings, and flew 27 combat missions in support of Operation Desert Storm. He just completed his first term with the NGU Board of Trustees in 2016 and also served on the NGU Presidential Search Committee. He is a member of Riverland Hills Baptist Church in Columbia where he serves as a deacon and Sunday school teacher in the children’s department. He is married to the former Gail Batchelor and they have two children: Will and Kitt.
A new recognition this year, the Leo Vernon Powell Legacy Award, was awarded to two faithful NGU supporters. This award recognizes individuals who have made a significant impact on NGU through their leadership, inspiration, service, and financial support to NGU and its mission. The awards were given posthumously to Ruth Ashmore, wife of Russell C. Ashmore, Jr. from Taylors, and Dr. David Hayes, a 1988 North Greenville graduate and husband of Debbie Hayes from Monroe, NC.
Ashmore, known to all as Mama Ruth, had the life goal of making sure anyone who came in touch with her would be well fed before leaving her sight. She was a member of Taylors First Baptist Church for 56 years and received the WYFF4 Jefferson Award for community service in 2000. In addition to other philanthropic interests, the Ashmores have been long-time faithful North Greenville supporters, both financially and through selfless service. She has four children, 12 grandchildren, and 16 great-grandchildren. She went to be with her Lord and Savior on October 14, 2016, just after celebrating her 65th wedding anniversary on October 13, 2016. At her death, a generous financial contribution was bequeathed to NGU’s Christian Ministry Scholarship Fund to support scholarships for students entering the ministry.
Hayes, who grew up in the Blue Ridge community of Greenville County, earned his associate’s degree from North Greenville in 1988. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Charleston Southern University, a master’s degree from Southwestern Theological Seminary, and his Doctor of Ministry degree from Erskine Theological Seminary. He held youth ministry and pastorate positions in Texas, South Carolina, and North Carolina. He was a faithful financial supporter of NGU. In addition, he also served as Director of Development at NGU from 2002-2005. Hayes went to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on January 26, 2016. His daughter, Lydia Grace, is a sophomore at NGU.
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