Professor’s art inspires, raises money for organization
Oct21

Professor’s art inspires, raises money for organization

No one would have guessed the boy playing in the mud during recess would go to grad school, become an art professor and sell some of his ceramic creations for upwards of $65 each. “Mud and boys go together,” Professor of art Dr. Philip Dunham, said. “(I) immediately fell in love with mud.” Dunham has been at the university for the past 22 years. He teaches ceramics I and II, 3D design and sculpture. “There is a parallel perception in my teaching to address a number of problems that focus on formal and psychological issues while stimulating the students to consider and clarify tactics of learning on their own.” During the past 10 years, Dunham has been working to perfect a method for creating unique ceramic crosses. Each cross has intricate swirls or flowers. Once the clay has been formed and becomes “bone dry,” it undergoes the firing process that turns the clay into stone. Dunham said, “When you fire, if you don’t use your technique properly, things can go wrong.” Five pieces Dunham donated were auctioned during family weekend. The $245 raised went to the Crusader Parent Organization, which purchases items such as the big screen TVs in the Mabee Student Center for the use of students. Administrative assistant of Student Affairs Joy Childress said, “To me, (the crosses) make me think of how God is with us. We’re all cracked clay in His hands, and He can take something that is cracked and make something unique and beautiful out of it.” The most common problems in the process are when air bubbles are captured within the clay, or when the clay is too thick or too wet when it is fired. “It will explode … and you will lose your pieces,” Dunham said. When he began making ceramic crosses, he was trying to better his own skills. Because the firing process is particularly risky, he had to learn to take chances. “The technique I had to study on several different types of approaches … in order to see what my percentage of danger would be in firing.” Students in Dunham’s ceramics class agree that the technique takes time to develop. Senior psychology major Meghan Bray said, “So far, my favorite piece to do is the cross. It’s so hard, but it still looks kind of cool … when it’s not sitting next to Dr. Dunham’s.” Sometimes molding the clay takes patience. “It’s very frustrating when you have an image in your head, and you can’t make your clay look like that image,” Bray said. “I imagine that it’s very frustrating when your sculptures blow up in the...

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Couple tag-teams in Chapel
Oct21

Couple tag-teams in Chapel

By Joshua Thiering Students’ attentions were wrangled and corralled when Candice Meyers, a Christian country singer and former Miss Kansas, and her husband, Rope, a world champion steer wrestler, spoke to students recently during chapel services. Candice Meyers sang and interjected personal words of wisdom to the students. Her first song was dedicated to the “World Changers.” “Have a little faith. You can move a mountain,” she sang. Rope Meyers, whose father was also a world champion steer wrestler, spoke about his history of roping when he was a young adult. He also jokingly dispensed a little marriage advice saying, “When you get married, you find that you lose half of your vocabulary, because your wife has the other half.” Using the illustration of Jesus as a river flowing forth, he emphasized that Christians should have a bottomless faith. “God needs you at a place where you are not ankle deep … you need to move to that place where there is no bottom, where you cannot stand.” With a name like Rope, one could say Meyers was destined to become a cowboy. He said, “It is on my birth certificate: Rope Meyers. My sister’s name is Tie and brother’s name is Cash. They named us that way because you rope the calf, you tie the calf, and you win the cash.” He added, “My dad was a world champion steer wrestler when I grew up. So I wanted to do the same thing. Every little kid wants to play cowboys and Indians. I just got to do it with a real horse.” Where Meyers draws inspiration from his father, Candice Meyers finds inspiration from her favorite country music artist, Martina McBride, and her heroes from her hometown who have walked with God successfully for a long time. “I look at them, and they are 40 years married, their children are raised and grown and they are just as passionate about God as they ever were,” Candice said. Senior history education major Amanda Jane Foss said of the hour—long performance, “I liked that she explained the meaning of her songs, and the significance that they had in her own life.” She also enjoyed listening to Rope’s talk. Foss said, “I really liked that Rope talked about it being a long journey, of just walking day by day, moment by moment with Jesus—that you might walk a thousand steps and only be ankle deep, and keep going and walk another thousand steps until you get to that place where Christ is in control of every aspect of your life.” Other students were a bit more critical. “I thought she wasn’t...

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University encourages different denominations
Oct21

University encourages different denominations

This institution prides itself on its Christian values and emphasizes the impact that students can make on the world as young adults. The campus is labeled as “Baptist,” but the university embraces thousands of students of diverse backgrounds. The student handbook says that the university prepares students to make a global, positive impact on the world through its “Baptist vision.” Is the Baptist vision that the university instills in each student welcoming to students of other denominations and religions? Sophomore organismal biology major Mike Kroll is Jewish and said that the people on campus have been very accepting and welcoming of his different beliefs. Kroll’s stand-up comedy routine includes Jewish humor, but he is a regular performer and fan favorite at Open Mic Night. His comedy routine and sense of humor have allowed him to have a positive outlook toward people who are critical of his faith. He said, “It keeps me strong in the face of animosity, even though I have not faced too many hard things on campus.” Kroll urges students to “get involved in the other religions, even if it is just a basic knowledge, so that you can strengthen your own faith. It helps you improve as a person.” Sophomore cell biology major Annjelica Madali is Catholic and has encountered discrimination at times because of her beliefs. “Some people are really nice about it and then, of course, there are some that are completely ignorant of the fact that other religions do exist,” she said. Madali also believes that a diverse religion base on campus is beneficial to the student body. She said, “It’s extremely important to have different religions on campus, so that people can learn to not be so close-minded to different ideas and beliefs.” Senior education major Amanda Foss has attended several different types of churches. “I don’t think people think of me any differently knowing that I am or was one denomination or the other,” she said. “I like all three denominations that I have been a part of and love worshiping at all of the different kinds of services.” For the most part, the view on campus is one of acceptance and finding the things each faith shares. Foss said, “I really think we all need to focus on what we have in common among all the different denominations of Christians, rather than focusing on all the differences.” To many students on campus, faith is the cornerstone of who they are and what they do. “My faith affects all of my life. It’s the foundation of who I am, and it impacts the way I try to live my life...

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World War II vets bring insight
Oct21

World War II vets bring insight

In the living room of Troy, Texas resident, Frank Thompson, junior history and political science major Olivia Gustin and senior history major Naomi Johnson recorded the stories of a World War II veteran. Unlike the tales of noble soldiers who went for days without food or water while pulling comrades to safety, Thompson told his story of what each brave soldier did every day. Gustin and Johnson are part of history/political science chair Dr. David Chrisman’s History Inquiry class. Members interviewed vets for the Veterans History Project sponsored by the Library of Congress. “It’s really nice because these are the stories that aren’t being told,” Gustin said. “This is the mass of the military. This is what got us through World War II are guys like him who did their job … ” Thompson was drafted from Texas A&M’s Corps into the Army’s 172nd Infantry Company H and served from February 1943 to September 1945. He fought in the Southern Pacific on the front lines and then returned to Texas to continue farming. Thompson said, “I was glad to give it (his story). I guess if I never give it, nobody will ever know about it.” The interview started for students in the classroom but it quickly grew into pure interest of first-hand experience. Johnson said, “I think what was interesting was a small-town boy from Texas being thrown into a worldwide phenomenon and seeing how he dealt with it.” One of the issues was coping with his brother’s death while he was still fighting in the southern Pacific. The reality of war hit Thompson in a few ways that surprised his interviewers. Johnson said, “There were times where it was very intense. We would ask him questions, anything to do with the combat that he was in. He would put his head down, and we would have to give him about 30 seconds to compose himself because the memories … were still so intense.” The outlook on the war also surprised Gustin and Johnson. “I think the thing that struck me the most, and where I actually expected the opposite, was in how he spoke about the war,” Gustin said. “I think history likes to paint World War II as some sort of patriotic rousing of the country, and that they were all behind it, and that they were all wanting to engage. But (Thompson) said if there hadn’t been a draft, they wouldn’t have gone.” His outlook created a similarity between Thompson and the people he fought. Johnson said, “He didn’t see them as an animalistic enemy. He saw them as boys who were on the front...

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New citizen adopts rights

Claudia Nuñez, secretary for President Dr. Jerry Bawcom, became a citizen during the university’s first naturalization ceremony recently. Bawcom said, “I think it was very patriotic of her, and I am happy for her and her family.” The Honorable Walter S. Smith Jr., chief district judge, presided as 349 other people received  citizenship Aug. 12. Nuñez was honored to have been a part of the historic campus event. “It was absolutely wonderful,” she said. “The university truly made it very special, not only for me, but to everyone present on that day. People kept telling me how beautiful the university was and  how warm and friendly. I feel very honored, humbled and proud. Proud to be an American.” Nuñez, who was originally born in Columbia, came to the U.S. in 1986 for political reasons. Though she still has many relatives in Columbia, her immediate family members are all American citizens. “My mother lives in Illinois and my sister in Tennessee,” she said. “My grandmother, many of my uncles, aunts, and cousins are still in Colombia, but a few live in Florida.” Nuñez wasted no time to begin taking advantage of her rights as a citizen. She said her first act as an American citizen was to register to vote. Immigration law will be an important issue for her future vote. “I have very strong feelings about the immigration process,” she said. “There is a lot that needs to be reformed and changed. We must do it with love and compassion towards those who are truly seeking a better life not only for themselves, but for their families.” Having finally completed the entire immigration process, Nuñez had this advice to give. “To those who aren’t citizens,” she said, “start early, do not wait, do not procrastinate. To those students who are born here, appreciate the rights that you have. You truly do not know how lucky you are to be born in a country that gives you many rights and freedom. Love, honor and protect your country, be grateful for your liberty and serve your country. Serve her well.” Sophomore English major Sarah Nuñez, Claudia Nuñez’ daughter, commented on her mother’s momentous day. “It was nice to see my mom become a citizen,” she said. “She’s wanted it for a long time, so I was glad to be a part of it. She’s very happy and full of pride for her new...

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Students’ time of service rewarded
Sep30

Students’ time of service rewarded

Seniors Tatenda Tavaziva and Ryan Trask reaped the benefits of their service and hard work in both the community and campus when they received the Heavin Servant Leadership award during the annual fall convocation. The accolade is based on servitude to either the campus or community, and recipients are put in the spotlight in order to serve as an example to the rest of the student body. Senior accounting major and student body president Tatenda Tavaziva received one of the awards and decided to donate $500 to Helping Hands. He said, “It is very humbling …. I could think of 20-30 people who deserve the award before me.” Tavaziva has served the community and campus by being active in First Baptist Church, Belton; leading Focus for the month of September and actively supporting the many sports teams at the university. “I really don’t think I deserve the award,” he said, “but I am excited to get it. I wish my parents were here to see it, but they are 14,000 miles away .… I feel like I have something to prove.” Senior Christian studies major Ryan Trask received the other award and designated $500 to be donated to Com-passion Inter-national, which strives to aid people affected by poverty among the world’s poorest countries. “I chose Com-passion because I really believe in the work that they do with impoverished children in the world. Com-passion does a great job of educating people (so) that they can make a significant impact in the life of a child for a very small price.” Trask served the community through Canyon Creek Baptist Church as a youth intern and has been heavily involved in campus activities, including Welcome Week and Revival. He said, “It is incredibly humbling to be a recipient of this award.” Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Steve Theodore thinks highly of both Tavaziva and Trask, saying, “Here are a couple of people who are doing it right. Watch them.” The selection process for the recipients of the Heavin Servant Leadership award includes both faculty and student nominations and the representation of a “servant’s heart” in each person. The honor is sponsored by a permanent endowment from Gary and Diane Heavin of Waco, owners of Curves. The award is intended to emphasize the importance of philanthropy, ministry and community service among UMHB students. “It is all about serving others.” Theodore expects great things from both students and knows that classmates look to them as role models and inspiration. He said, “Given what I know about them and their hearts, I would expect to see them continue to...

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