University Will Honor Tradition With Inaugural Celebration
On Friday, April 13 at 10 a.m., North Greenville University will officially inaugurate Gene C. Fant, Jr. as its eighth president. A ceremony featuring some of the university’s longstanding traditions will take place in Turner Chapel.
The inauguration ceremony will bring together trustees, faculty, students, staff and alumni, as well as members from other colleges and universities, who will march in an academic procession according to their school’s founding date.
Members of the Offices of the President and Development and other campus leaders have been planning the celebration which comes during NGU’s observance of its 125th anniversary, offering the community a special opportunity to look back at how the university has evolved.
"This is a wonderful opportunity to convene the community to welcome a new president," Board of Trustees and Presidential Search Committee Chair Bill Tyler said. "The inauguration celebrates NGU’s history and looks forward to a bright future."
The ceremony will include a welcome from South Carolina Lieutenant Governor Kevin L. Bryant, NGU Student Government Association President Kady Floyd, and John White, co-founder and president of Lifeshape. In addition, greetings will be heard from Toney Parks, senior pastor of Mt. Sinai Baptist Church in Greenville; John Basie, provost of Erskine College and Seminary; and Gary Hollingsworth, executive director, treasurer of the South Carolina Baptist Convention.
The ceremonial charge will be given by Dr. David Dockery, president of Trinity International University.
As incoming president, Fant will wear both the traditional presidential gown and the NGU president’s medallion, which serves as a symbol of office and features the university seal.
The inaugural Bible is a 1909 John R. Sampey Heart of the Old Testament printed by the Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. It is from the book collection of Dr. Murphree C. Donnan, the last principal of the North Greenville Baptist Academy and first president of North Greenville Junior College (1928-1962).
This Bible represents the foundation upon which North Greenville stands. Over the course of its existence, the North Greenville community has grown to embody a faithful, generous, and evangelical commitment to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and the truthfulness of Holy Scriptures. The North Greenville connection is one of kinship and shared values – all of which are shaped by the pattern of Christian truth. Tyler, Dockery, and Dr. Aubrey Lucas, president emeritus of the University of Southern Mississippi, will present the Bible and conduct the investiture.
“The work that has gone into planning the eighth president's inauguration honors the traditions and legacy of the university,” said Tyler. “We have dedicated our time to ensuring this event represents our rich history and campus community."
From the regalia that will be worn at the ceremony to the Bible that will be presented, the inauguration is designed to remind the community of the history they come from since the university was established in 1892.
“Each president has made an indelible contribution to the university,” said Tyler. “The inauguration also means passing the baton to an individual who has inherited 125 years of history. When you studied the people who have inhabited that office, there are many profiles in courage. This is yet another chapter.”
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