Convocation Address Gives Vision for a New School Year


Hardin-Simmons University President Eric Bruntmyer presided over his first convocation Thursday, September 7, 2017. His address encouraged students, faculty, and staff to recognize their value as people made in the image of God.

Dr. Kelvin Kelley, Associate Professor of Theology and Coordinator of Student Diversity Programs, gave the invocation, ending with the famous peace prayer of St. Frances of Assisi.

President Bruntmyer recognized the student body as the university’s largest enrollment since 2012, the freshmen class for being the largest since 2008, and returning students for having a 75% retention rate—the highest in the history of HSU. He also thanked the Board of Trustees, the President’s Administrative Council, and University Chancellor, Dr. Lanny Hall.

Dr. Thomas V. Brisco, Provost and Chief Academic Officer, welcomed special guests including publicly elected officials, law enforcement officers, local ministers, businessmen, and educational representatives. He also introduced academic deans and the HSU faculty and staff.

Dr. Phil Christopher, Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Abilene, read 1 Corinthians 13, the passage which embodies James B. Simmons’ desire for HSU to be Christlieb College, the College of Christ’s Love.

In his introduction, Dr. Brisco praised President Bruntmyer for his dedication to the school for over a year now. He called him qualified, accessible, energetic, visionary, compassionate, and a man of deep faith.

Bruntmyer began his address by passing around a sculpture he made in college. Although he was not an artist, he said that creating a human form taught him much about the character of God.

“God is a creative god,” he said. “We are one of his many creations, but we are the only ones made in his image. His fingerprints are all over us.”

He encouraged the audience to remember that they have incredible value to God and that He gave his son for each of them.

“We’ve been told that we’re either worth nothing, or we’re the center of the universe,” he said. "Both of those are lies. It is only by seeing a true picture of ourselves that we can live the life God intends for us.”

While Bruntmyer recognized that many issues divide the world today, he reminded the audience of Jesus’ simple commandment to his followers: love God and love others.

“Take seriously your value and the value of others,” he said. “God is equipping you with the tools and talents to conquer the problems of this generation.”

Dr. Perry Kay Haley Brown, Dean of the College of Human Sciences and Educational Studies, concluded the service with the benediction, thanking God for His past blessings on Hardin-Simmons and asking for His favor in the future. 


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