Imagery of Regent people and campus

School of Divinity Marks 25th Anniversary

| November 1, 2007

Mrs. Laura Shiflett, sponsor of the Shiflett Endowed Scholarship, receiving her Founder Award from Dean Michael Palmer.

For the 300 people who attended the recent celebration marking the 25th anniversary of Regent University's school of Divinity, it was an evening filled with poignant memories, humor and reflection—reflection on the 25 extraordinary years since the School of Divinity began on September 8, 1982. And as it is with many gatherings of old friends and colleagues, there were great stories from the early days.

Following warm welcomes from Dr. Randall Pannell, acting vice president for academic affairs, and Dr. Michael Palmer, dean of the School of Divinity, the Calvary Revival Church Worship Team provided several uplifting songs that added to the celebratory air filling the university library atrium. Calvary's senior pastor, Bishop B. Courtney McBath, also played an important role that evening. McBath, who received his master's degree from Regent in 1998, received one of four alumni awards.

"I am somewhat overwhelmed with the people I'm standing here with tonight," McBath said, noting his fellow alumni who also received awards. They were Vanja Bule '06 (Divinity), director of the "Emek Beraka" Camps of the Evangelical Church of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Rev. Llewellyn Belcourt '98 (Divinity) of World Harvest Ministries in Indonesia, and Brenda Davis '95 (Communication & the Arts and Divinity), editor of SpiritLed Woman magazine.

"I am also overwhelmed with this honor," Davis said. "The events of this weekend have reminded me of my deeply personal connection to Regent University and to the vision that founded and continues to govern it."

That ongoing mission was evident in other awards presented to faculty, staff and several local churches. Rev. Nate Atwood, senior pastor of Kempsville Presbyterian Church, Rev. Gary Allen, national director of ministerial enrichment for the Assemblies of God, and Rev. Dan Backens, senior pastor of New Life Providence Church, accepted awards on behalf of their churches, each commenting about the significance of their relationships with the School of Divinity and their gratitude for being recognized.

Phrases like "men and women with impressive credentials" and "superb teachers" were used when the faculty and staff awards were presented. Honored were Dr. Jerry Horner, the founding dean of the School of Divinity; Dr. H. Vinson Synan, dean emeritus and professor of church history; Dr. J. Rodman Williams, professor emeritus (in absentia); Dr. John Rea, professor emeritus (in absentia); Dr. John Ruthven, professor emeritus; Mrs. Rose Holman (on behalf of Dr. Charles Holman, professor of New Testament); Ms. Margaret Fletcher and Mrs. Mary McFadden, School of Divinity secretaries. During his remarks, Board of Trustees member Tim Robertson paid tribute to these and others for pouring themselves into the lives of their students.

Founder awards were given to Mrs. Holman, Dr. Synan, Bishop McBath, Pastor Benny Hinn of Benny Hinn World Outreach Ministries, Bishop Samuel L. Green, Jr., Church of God in Christ, Bishop for the Second Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction of Virginia, and to Mrs. Laura Shiflett, sponsor, Shiflett Endowed Scholarship.

In speaking about the endowment she created to honor her late husband, Shiflett explained why she likes Regent. "It prepares your heart, mind and spirit," she said, "as well as the practical things we need to know about people. I thank God for Regent University." The Shiflett Scholarship was awarded to Father Timothy Cremeens, currently pursuing his Ph.D. in the School of Divinity.

The evening closed with David Proffitt, Regent's director of corporate development, offering a heartfelt and powerful rendition of "Be Thou My Vision," his rich tenor voice soaring across the room.

As Dean Palmer offered the benediction, he told the audience in the simplest of terms how the School of Divinity has been able to thrive and grow since that September day 25 years ago: "All along the way we've seen God's blessings," he said.


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