Nine faculty members retire as spring semester draws to an end
May06

Nine faculty members retire as spring semester draws to an end

THE BELLS — As the end of the semester draws near, students anticipate completing finals and turning the page on another year of college. Students are not the only ones facing change. Several members of the university’s faculty and staff are closing one chapter and beginning a new one as they retire from their positions at the school. Nine people are retiring during the 2013-2014 season. Their departments range from physical plant, business and the colleges of education and Christian studies. As their days at the university come to an end, many of these men and women are packing their offices and reminiscing about their careers. In the College of Humanities, Associate Professor Vicky Kendig has spent 13 years coordinating the journalism program and advising the campus newspaper. Since her arrival in 2001, Kendig has witnessed the growth of the journalism program. She experienced historic events from the Fort Hood shootings to the explosion in West. “(9/ 11) was our baptism by fire,” Kendig recalls. “The staff that year was so bonded to each other, it was just amazing, after going through that.” The Bells staff has received an estimated 450 awards under Kendig’s guidance. “It’s not to my credit, but to the students,” Kendig said. “I look around at all of these things, all of these memories, and it’s just awesome.” Another long-time staff member approaching retirement is Resident Director Julia Walker. A member of the residence life staff, Walker spent 24 years working in a variety of campus housing locations. She began as RD in Johnson Hall in 1990 and ventured to the apartments over the years, working closely with the physical plant and residence life departments. “My life has been very easy because of all these wonderful people I get to work with,” Walker said. “I can’t imagine working with a greater group of people.” While each job at the school has unique aspects and concerns, the common element is the ability to work with students. Professors, advisers and staff members have the opportunity to shape lives and build relationships with the students they encounter through their jobs. “The RAs—That has been the greatest joy,”  Walker said. “I get to see the great people become greater because they’re learning and they’re growing, and I think that’s the best part of this job.” The university has a great appreciation for retiring members of the community. Associate Vice President for Human Resources, Susan Owens, stated that retirees are offered benefits, and her department encourages former employees to remain actively involved with events and gatherings around campus. Kendig and Walker both plan to keep in touch with the university...

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Cru Knights: a Gatsby-approved party
Feb25

Cru Knights: a Gatsby-approved party

Lights. Camera. Cru Knights. The legendary man pageant is one of the highlights of the spring semester. Each year, male students from across campus come together to represent an organization or group. They dance, make videos, strut and compete to win the title of Mr. Crusader Knights. This year, 23 men hit the stage under the direction of junior computer graphics design major Lauren Theodore. The goal was to put on a show that would transport audiences back in time and showcase the hard work each contestant put into the performance. For this year’s theme, the directors selected Roaring Twenties. Each advertisement and decoration featured Art Deco elements, and all the glittering gold and extravagance resembled a party Jay Gatsby himself would be proud to host. The set, designed by junior exercise sport science major Shannon McGorty, wowed audiences and cast members alike. Sophomore public relations major Katie Valenzuela helped run social media on the promotions team. She was excited to find ways to make the theme come to life for the audience. “We were like ‘Hey, come dressed in your best Roaring Twenties Great Gatsby outfit,’” Valenzuela said. “We (wanted) to transport these people into a different place and really create an awesome show for them, so for the audience to be able to be part of the production is something really neat.” Juniors Braxton Tucker and Taylor O’Rear emceed the event, transitioning between dances and videos with 20s-styled jokes and one-liners. “Please silence all cell phones because they don’t even exist yet,” Tucker quipped on opening night. The competition began Friday with parody videos submitted by each contestant. Their assignment was to spoof a viral YouTube or music video. New spins were put on old favorites ranging from “Charlie Bit Me” to the Sonic commercials with those two guys in a car, and a few music videos in between. After each cluster of parodies, one set of men would perform their group dance on stage. The contestants ended the night with a large group dance. Saturday evening was filled with struts, interviews and plenty of dancing. Former Mr. Cru Knights and alumnus Tanner Clarke was featured in a number before crowning this year’s champion later in the evening. “I’m really blessed to do this from a different perspective. Getting to pour into these guys every single day, doing devotionals at practices, really helped me to be part of their lives even though I wasn’t a student anymore,” Clarke said. “Giving away at this point is a blessing for me because I get to pass on what I had as a student to somebody else.” After an interview...

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University celebrates 169th birthday
Feb11

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. 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...

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CASL brings student leaders to campus
Jan29

CASL brings student leaders to campus

THE BELLS — If there’s one word that pumps up student leaders across campus, it’s CASL. The Christian Association of Student Leaders conference is an annual event that brings students from different universities together to think-tank and encourage one another. “(CASL) is first and foremost a leadership conference. It’s a place where you go and you learn how to be a good leader through your organization and back on your campus,” senior Christian studies major Katelyn Killian said. “I think its second purpose is to share ideas and just talk and brainstorm. It’s a good source for new ideas and new thoughts.” Killian joined 15 others on the CASL Steering Committee. The conference rotates among campuses on a seven-year track. This year, it was the Cru’s turn to host. Faculty and students attended from seven different universities, putting attendance at 275. Despite the surprise of snow, the conference was a success. Director of Student Organizations Tiffany Wurdemann saw the weather as an opportunity to solidify the meaning of the conference. “I think the biggest thing with that is, it’s a leadership program,” she said. “So anything that happens, it’s like a live workshop of ‘well, what are we going to do?’” Mon’Sher Spencer, a staff member from Houston Baptist University, is a CASL veteran. This was her sixth year to bring students to the conference. “The big thing I want them to know is that, one, they’re not alone, and that they don’t have to do everything themselves,” she said. “The best thing of being a leader is being able to empower others to lead as well. I want them to see ways that they can impact the students that they lead to lead … they’re actually passing it forward.” Senior psychology major Jason Aleman was a member of the hospitality committee. One popular element was a ball pit. “We have balls with questions on them so they can get in and get to know someone they don’t know, ask questions and play in the ball pit,” Aleman said. A major aspect of CASL are the round tables, where people break into their different organizations to discuss ideas and issues. Senior mathematics major Ryan Frusha helped organize the talks. “We really tried to pick good quality leaders who are fun but also focused, good leaders on campus that can maintain a good atmosphere,” he said. Sophomore chemistry major Elliott Taylor and sophomore elementary education major Lauren Daugherty were first-time CASL attendees from Mississippi College. They found the round tables helpful for their jobs as resident assistants. “I enjoyed hearing what other RAs had to say about certain things. That...

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BSM hosts disaster relief orientation session
Nov06

BSM hosts disaster relief orientation session

If a tornado ripped through the middle of campus and blew the roof off the buildings, what would you do? On Nov. 1, the Baptist Student Ministry hosted an event to help prepare students for disaster scenarios and what they can do to help relieve such situations. Senior nursing major Stephanie Garza learned about the disaster training opportunity through MyCampus. Though her nursing career will play a big part in her future, she decided attending the disaster relief training would help her prepare for unexpected circumstances now. “On the side of actually having a nursing job, I want to help the community out if there’s ever a natural disaster like a tornado,” Garza said. Garza joined 14 other students and local residents for the Disaster Relief Yellow Cap Orientation, the first level of response training through the Texas Baptist Men organization. For $10, volunteers completed orientation and received Disaster Response certified badges, which enable them to assist at future crises. The session was led by Chuck Christian, leader of the food team for the Central Texas Disaster Relief Team. “We acquired a feeding unit from south Texas and brought it to Belton,” he said. “The purpose of that unit (is to) go on call-out, to go provide hot meals for first responders and for the people that have been affected by the disaster.” Christian and his unit were some of the responders at the April explosion in West. He believes responding to disasters provides the opportunity to be “Jesus with skin” to those affected by tragedy. Orientation included the history of the Disaster Relief ministry and the traits of being a volunteer. Some who attended the training session had ties to the explosion in West. Others wanted to be better equipped to help others in future incidents. Arnold ‘Peewee’ and Carolyn Insall are two such people with a heart for ministering during disasters. Both chaplain-certified team members, they shared stories from their first experience of disaster response during a 10-day flood relief trip to El Paso. “The second day it got bad,” Peewee said. “You’re not used to seeing all the devastation.” Despite the sorrow, the Insalls discovered that serving those in need is the most rewarding part of being disaster responders. “The people we touched, touched us more,” Carolyn said. “It’s such a wonderful feeling.” Thanks to the Texas Baptist Men Disaster Relief staff and the BSM, students and volunteers have an opportunity to help when the need arises. “When’s the last time you ever planned a hurricane? Or a tornado? You never know what to expect,” Christian said. He encourages those who completed Yellow Cap Orientation to...

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