NGU News

NGU Board Affirms Core Statements, Approves Spring Graduation Candidates

Posted on: March 3, 2023
By Billy Cannada,

Tigerville, SC (March 3, 2023) Affirming the university’s Statement on Human Flourishing, approving 286 candidates for spring graduation, and joining for a prayer and dedication ceremony at the site of a major campus renovation project highlighted the spring meeting of North Greenville University’s board of trustees on NGU’s Tigerville campus Thursday, March 2.

The meeting began with a devotion from Dr. Cary Sanders, executive director of JUMPSTART, a Christian nonprofit assisting current and former prisoners with re-entry to society. At the age of 17, Sanders committed an armed robbery which landed him in prison for nine years. He turned to Christ early in his incarceration and had the opportunity to pursue a college education at North Greenville after his release. He earned a bachelor’s degree in 2017, and a Doctor of Ministry degree in the fall of 2022.

In his update to the board, NGU President Dr. Gene C. Fant, Jr., said the university had a “tremendous start” to the spring semester.

“There are many incredible things going on,” he said. “It is amazing to see the spirit among the students. We are hearing about what is happening students’ lives or their work in local churches. It really is a humbling experience to hear these reports.”

Noting that in 2025 NGU Football will join the university’s other 19 sports in Conference Carolinas, Dr. Fant said the conference’s announced expansion to 15 schools will be a major benefit to NGU student-athletes. The conference will begin geographical division play in the 2023-24 academic year.

“This will help all of the university’s athletic teams,” the president said. “It is going to reduce student-athlete travel by as much as 20 percent starting next fall. That is huge.”

The board unanimously voiced support for two NGU guiding documents: the university’s Statement on Human Flourishing, adopted by the NGU board in June 2020, underscoring the institution’s deep-rooted commitment to a biblical worldview; and the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, the most recently approved version of a document designed to serve as Southern Baptists’ “statement of faith and message to set forth certain teachings which we believe.”

Trustees were updated on academic program activities during the meeting, including the appointment of Jordan Hairr as founding dean of the university’s College of Allied Health, which will launch on June 1, 2023. Hairr moves from his post as program director for NGU’s Physician Assistant program. He will be succeeded by current NGU faculty member Kaye Rickman, who has been appointed as program director for PA Medicine. Additionally, Dr. Cathleen Ciesielski, a current member of the PA Medicine faculty, was recently appointed program coordinator for biomedical sciences. Ciesielski will develop and provide administrative oversight to NGU’s new master of arts degree in biomedical sciences.

Trustees also were updated on various administrative areas of the university. With three months remaining in the academic year, NGU has received more than $4.9 million in contributions, a 9.4 percent increase over 2022. The university has seen an enrollment increase in the spring semester, and anticipates another increase for the fall 2023 semester.

Dr. Brian Spearman, trustees chair and pastor of the First Baptist Church of Marietta, presided at the meeting of the 25-member board. He opened the plenary session by reading from Philippians 3:1-17, encouraging fellow board members and university administrators to “press on” to the work God had called them to complete.

Spearman closed the meeting with a challenge to trustees and administrators to fulfill their calling to serve others.

“That’s what Christ calls us to be,” he said. “I encourage you to press on, to be a servant wherever you are. … Can you imagine what can happen if each one of us truly took the call that Christ has given us?”

Following the meeting, board members participated in a “Prayer and Dedication Ceremony” in front of the university’s Donnan Administration Building, which is undergoing a $9.7 million renovation to become the home of NGU’s College of Business and Entrepreneurship. Approximately 100 people participated in the ceremony, which including writing Bible verses or short messages on a steel beam which will be used in the construction project.

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