University celebrates 169th birthday

Eight score and nine years ago, our fathers established a college that would lay the foundation for Christian higher education in Texas.
On Feb. 6, faculty, staff and students gathered to celebrate the 169th Charter Day of that university.

With Student Foundation members standing behind them, President Randy O'Rear and first lady Julie O'Rear blow out the candles on the university's birthday cake. The party in the SUB celebrated the 169th year of being a school. Elizabeth Varville/The Bells

With Student Foundation members standing behind them, President Randy O’Rear and first lady Julie O’Rear blow out the candles on the university’s birthday cake. The party in the SUB celebrated the 169th year of being a school. Elizabeth Varville/The Bells

The event began with a ceremony hosted by the Student Foundation organization. President Dr. Randy O’Rear led attendees in a prayer of thanksgiving at the grave of Judge R.E.B. Baylor, one of the school’s pioneers. O’Rear then accompanied senior nursing major and Student Foundation President Amy Kester in laying flowers on the founder’s grave.
For senior international business major Daniela Loera, Charter Day is a great opportunity to remember the past.
“I think it’s cool to celebrate the birthday of a university that’s been here longer than most,” Loera said. “It’s something to celebrate when you have a university that’s so rich in its heritage.”
After the ceremony, campus attendees headed to the SUB for a birthday party hosted by the Campus Activities Board.
To kick off the event, CAB assistant director Jeff Sutton led the entire room in singing “Happy Birthday” as freshman nursing major Courtney Craig lit the candles on a special cake. The O’Rears blew out the candles denoting “169” years.
Freshman nursing major Ashleigh Jamrok joined CAB her first semester and signed up to help plan the party.
This year’s celebrations included a festive photo booth, wish cards for personalized messages and cupcakes frosted in school colors. Jamrok said she could not be happier with how the event turned out.
“We went shopping for all the decorations. We came up with the ideas for the photo booth,” she said. She was excited to celebrate and encouraged others to join in the fun. “I even invited professors.”
Many faculty and staff members came to honor the anniversary with the president and students.
“It’s always important to celebrate the rich history and legacy,” O’Rear said.
He acknowledged that the founders of the university were visionary, forward thinkers who sacrificed much to achieve the goal of Christian higher education.
The university’s first lady enjoys the significance of Charter Day.
“We wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for our founding fathers,” Julie O’Rear said. “Their sacrifices that they made so many years ago have enabled us to have such a wonderful university today.”
While the history of the school is significant, this year’s celebration included several new milestones for the university. As a member of Student Foundation, Loera is witness to the growth.
“I think this birthday is significant because this year in general has been a lot of firsts for UMHB, having a new stadium and upcoming SUB and a new nursing building,” Loera said. “In this year … a lot of new things came and are making our campus a lot better. There’s a lot to celebrate.”

Author: Halley Harrell

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