On Tuesday, August 30, Hardin-Simmons University held its annual Convocation to recognize the new academic year. This year’s keynote speaker was Dr. George Newman, Professor Emeritus of Biology from HSU.
“Dr. George Newman is considered by many to be a renaissance man,” shared University President Eric Bruntmyer. “Throughout his life, there have been and continue to be many areas of interest in which he successfully engages. From teaching wildlife biology to coaching tennis, from grassland management to ranching, from ornithology to regional government, and from church deacon to university trustee.”
Dr. Newman chose to speak about the importance of influences in our lives. Beginning with his wife, he shared the story of how they met, claiming her as the number one influence in his life as they strive to know the Lord together.
Additionally, he shared that a big influence in his life was Dr. Frederick R. Gehlbach, a former professor of Dr. Newman’s when he was a student at Baylor University. Dr. Gehlbach stressed the importance of preserving prairie lands and connected Dr. Newman with career-building research in the Guadalupe Mountains. These lessons from Dr. Gehlbach have impacted Dr. Newman’s life since.
“Many times, we look back, and it’s not until 20 or 30 years later that we see how someone has influenced our life,” Dr. Newman shared. Gesturing to the faculty seated behind him, he encouraged students to be aware of the influence and examples their professors may provide throughout their time at Hardin-Simmons.
Finally, Dr. Newman mentioned his church family as another significant influence in his life, expressing his gratitude for their support as he viewed his church pastor and friends seated in the front few rows.
“These folks have been friends of ours for more than 50 years. We met these folks in the church, and we’re all about the same age. We raised babies together, unfortunately, we lost some together and were there for each other. Some have lost spouses, and we were there for each other,” he stated warmly. “I don’t know how people live life without friends.”
Dr. Newman closed with encouragement for students at HSU to find a group that will be there for them. With good influences in our lives and friends by our side, we will have the support we need to carry on throughout life’s most exciting and trying times.