O’Rear to be president
Sep30

O’Rear to be president

Dressed in purple and gold, Randy O’Rear stood on the pitcher’s mound, prepared to lead the Cru baseball team to another victory. As a student athlete, he never imagined in 20 years he would lead the school in a different way. But from the center of the field to the president of the university, O’Rear has never been a stranger to UMHB. “It is not unusual for the board of trustees to do a succession rather than a search for a new president when they already have someone on campus they believe in and has proven to be successful,” said university President Dr. Jerry Bawcom who steps down June 1 as president and becomes chancellor. He believes O’Rear is the right choice. “It would be a significant loss for the leadership of this institution if we didn’t take advantage of Dr. O’Rear’s knowledge, experience and his already existing relationships with others.” Bawcom said O’Rear has successfully contributed much to the school, including increased enrollment and progressive physical campus improvements. “Dr. O’Rear’s greatest accomplishment has been leading the institution in strategic planning and institutional visioning,” Bawcom said. “He knows and understands the mission of the university. As an alumnus, nobody could love the institution more than he and his family do.” O’Rear will be the first UMHB president who is also an alum. He graduated with a bachelor’s in business administration in 1988 and an MBA in 1997. He received a doctorate in higher education management from Baylor University in 2004. O’Rear believes his past will help him lead the school as president. He said, “I think having experienced the quality of our faculty and staff as a student makes me appreciate all that the university is about even more. I was blessed to experience this school as a student and what it was like to truly have committed faculty in the classroom.” O’Rear’s Crusader roots run deep as well as his desire to see the school accomplish great things. “I wake up every day and can’t wait to come to work to try to make a difference,” he said. “I am blessed to serve here.” O’Rear’s plans include expanding what has already been built. “Dr. Bawcom has guided the university to a really high level of excellence, and my goal is to work with the faculty and staffand continue to pursue higher and higher levels of that.” As president, he hopes to establish solid internal and external relations. “We have a strategic five-year plan that goes out through 2010, and it has been a good road,” O’Rear said. “I will work with faculty and staff, and we’ll craft a...

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Hurricane Ike causes devastation
Sep30

Hurricane Ike causes devastation

While Hurricane Ike did not hit Bell County with much more than storm clouds, many university students worried about friends and family who live in the storm’s path throughout other parts of the state. Freshman elementary education major Emily Cherrier is from Texas City, Texas. Her family decided not to evacuate. “I was extremely worried because Texas City was right in the middle of the projected path,” she said. Cherrier’s family went to her grandfather’s house because of its past success with strong storms. She said, “They also boarded up all the windows, bought lots of water and food, filled the tub with water, brought in all the pets and prayed.” For a while, Cherrier was not very concerned about the hurricane. “When my mom told me they were putting valuables up high and boarding up the windows, I realized it was serious,” she said. “They didn’t want me to worry, so they tried to down play the situation, but I could tell they were more concerned than they were letting me see.” She tried to do normal activities on the day Hurricane Ike hit, like campus run and cheering with the Couch Cru at the UMHB football game against Southern Nazarene University, but she found the day was still stressful. Cherrier said, “My first Crusader football game was definitely a nail-biter, not because of a close score or anything, but because the entire time all I could think of was my family bunkered down and preparing for a storm. I felt like I should have been there with them. That night was very restless. I’ve never felt so helpless.” During and after the storm hit her hometown, Cherrier worried about her family who would be affected. “It was really nerve-wracking for me because I had a hard time getting through to them on my cell phone,” she said. “But when I could get through, at one point my mom told me water was beginning to leak down the walls some, and the wind was very strong. But again, she tried to mask any fear she was having.” Her family’s homes had little damage, but houses nearby were heavily damaged. The main issue was water and electricity. “My family got (utilities) back after about three days, but I know some people did not get electricity again until just (Sept. 23).” Cherrier said her family got through the storm and the aftermath with God’s power. “My family has been so blessed,” she said. “I am so thankful for everyone’s prayers and support. It helped so much— more than anyone will ever know.” Junior social work major Kaitlen Allen is from...

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Making America Home
Sep24

Making America Home

With the echo of gunshots arousing fear into the city of Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, sophomore soccer player Imani Innocent and his cousin run with a crowd of fellow villagers. They don’t know where they are running, but they know they have to keep running. Both are just 8 years old. Goma is located on the border with Rwanda, the area ravaged by genocide between the Hutu and Tutsi that led to the violent deaths of countless people. It was a day in 1996 just like any other. “We were just eating lunch,” he said. “(Then) we heard gun shots. People were shooting. Me and my cousin just took off and left my family behind,” Innocent said. “We just followed the crowd. Everybody was running with babies on their backs and mattresses on their heads.” Innocent and his cousin spent the night next to strangers, not knowing whether their parents were dead or alive. Looking for a Familiar Face “So in the morning, we started looking in everybody’s face … to see if there was anybody that we know, like part of the family, and there was no one,” Innocent said, “So we almost gave up hope.” Soon after, one of their relatives spotted them, and they were reunited with the rest of the family. They made plans to travel the three-day journey to safety in his mother’s village, Masisi. Innocent said, “If you were in a car, they would take you out and kill you and take the car. Genocide from Rwanda was affecting the lives of people in the surrounding countries, such as the Congo. In Masisi, where his grandfather was the pastor of the local church, his family tried to get back to life as normal. “There we started all over again. We had a house,” Innocent said. He started attending school, where students were taught French and Swahili, the language spoken in central and eastern Africa. Unfortunately, peace of this small village near the border of Rwanda was short-lived. Facing Danger Again “We had everything going,” Innocent said, “but it wasn’t long before war broke out again.” This time Innocent says he was “smart enough” to stay with the family. “We all waited at the same place … we went to a bush that was nearby to hide ourselves,” he said. Within moments their ability to remain unseen behind the leaves became a matter of life and death. “My mom said, ‘I don’t trust this place. Let’s move into the bush a little bit. I don’t trust that this can keep them from seeing us.’” The family quietly made their way farther into...

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