In today’s From the Colleges: University of Mobile inaugurates fourth president; Louisiana College scholarships honor Lewis, Schaeffer; OBU men & women repeat as track champs; Boyce senior wins Maravich award.
University of Mobile inaugurates Smith as 4th president
Timothy L. Smith
MOBILE, Ala. — The University of Mobile will inaugurate Timothy L. Smith as its fourth president March 24.
Among speakers at the inauguration will be U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Ala.; Frank S. Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee; and Bobby Dubois, associate executive director of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions. The ceremony will be held at Cottage Hill Baptist Church in Mobile.
Smith, who served previously as provost of Anderson (S.C) University, was named University of Mobile president in April 2016 and has led the university to adopt a mission of “higher education for a higher purpose.” A licensed nurse anesthetist, Smith also has led the university to open the Center for Excellence in Healthcare Practice, with simulation labs and augmented reality technology.
Prior to his service at Anderson, Smith was dean of Union University’s school of nursing. Before that, he served as director of the nurse anesthesia program at the University of Tennessee.
Smith holds two doctor of philosophy degrees, one from the University of Tennessee in nursing and the other in leadership from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he serves as an adjunct professor.
The University of Mobile is affiliated with the Alabama Baptist State Convention.
LC scholarships honor Lewis, Schaeffer
PINEVILLE, La. — Louisiana College has announced scholarships named for Christian apologists C.S. Lewis and Francis Schaeffer and geared toward equipping students to engage culture in Jesus’ name.
“We look forward to helping students become salt and light in a culture that so desperately needs both as we partner with churches in engaging the culture and advancing the Kingdom of God,” LC President Rick Brewer said in a March 14 news release.
The C.S. Lewis Scholarship, among other benefits, will award selected freshmen $8,500 annually and allow them to participate in a cohort that will study the life and writings of Lewis, a 20th-century literary scholar who held academic posts at both Oxford and Cambridge Universities.
“These academic innovations are Louisiana College’s rewards to high school students who excelled academically and who aspire to continue the level of Christian impact upon the culture that C.S. Lewis had,” Brewer said. In both his “intellectual acumen” and “Christian influence,” Lewis reflects LC’s “goal of preparing graduates and transforming lives.”
The Francis A Schaeffer Christian Worldview Scholarship awards qualifying students $2,500 per year for four years. A key component of qualifying for the Schaeffer Scholarship is completion of the 12-lesson church-based study “Thinking Like a Christian: Understanding and Living a Biblical Worldview.”
Schaeffer scholars will participate in mission projects and lead youth discipleship events over their four years at LC.
Louisiana College is affiliated with the Louisiana Baptist Convention.
OBU men & women repeat as indoor track champs
SHAWNEE, Okla. — The Oklahoma Baptist University men’s and women’s track teams each placed first for the second consecutive year at the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) Indoor Track and Field National Championships in Houghton, N.Y.
The OBU women dominated the field, more than doubling the point total of second-place Dallas Baptist University. The men edged runner-up Bethel College by a 154.5-142.5 margin.
The meet saw 18 Lady Bison earn a total of 27 All-America honors. The women’s team has won a national championship for eight consecutive years and holds 11 total national championships, with eight coming indoors.
“The championships are won in the fall when [the athletes] show tremendous work ethic,” said OBU track and field coach Ford Mastin. “You can tell if they’re going to win in the spring back in October if they do the little things at a high level.
“The girls did almost exactly what we thought they would heading into the meet,” Mastin said. “They just took care of business.”
The OBU men captured their sixth national championship, with 19 athletes earning All-America honors in 25 events.
“It was a really great team effort,” Mastin said of the men’s championship. “We had several things go right for us over the two days. We had a lot of really great performances from some of our guys that we needed to step up. It is great to win.”
OBU is affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.
Boyce senior wins Maravich award
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A Boyce College senior who never played organized basketball before donning a Bulldogs uniform took home the National Christian College Athletic Association’s top award for Division II athletes, the organization announced March 8. Ben Akers, a senior forward from Danville, Ky., is the first Boyce player to win the Pete Maravich Memorial Award, given annually to the most outstanding student-athlete in NCCAA men’s basketball.
“Ben has been a great example of the fact that hard work pays off,” said Boyce coach Blake Rogers. “Ben never played organized basketball before coming to Boyce, but he has developed to be one of the best 3-point shooters in our league and has consistently led the nation in 3-pointers made.”
According to the NCCAA website, winners of the Maravich award must show excellence in skills, academics and Christian service. Winning the Maravich award caps Akers’ record-setting career with the Bulldogs, one which had humble beginnings.
During his freshman season, Akers played only 12 minutes a game and was hesitant to shoot. While he finished his career as team captain and one of the leading 3-point shooters in the country, it almost didn’t happen.
“It was an interesting transition playing for Boyce,” Akers said. “I played tennis in high school and was not used to the team aspects of sports. I almost did not try out for the team because I did not want to sit on the bench all the time.”
When coaches pushed him to work on his basketball skills after his freshman season, Akers developed as a premier shooter. Rogers, who has been Akers coach all four seasons, says he hopes other Boyce players emulate Akers’ work ethic.
This season, Akers averaged 15.5 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. He finished with the third-best free throw percentage in the NCCAA at 84.2 percent, and his 44.5 percent 3-point shooting percentage was eighth in the country.
For his career, Akers scored 1,569 points and grabbed 670 rebounds for an average of 13.4 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. Akers has been named to two All-Region first teams and the 2015 honorable mention All-America team.
Akers currently holds a 3.0 GPA in his youth ministry program and says he believes his time with the Bulldogs has prepared him for ministry as a youth pastor.
“The work I put in during my first year set a pattern I can follow for the rest of my life,” Akers said. “I understood that everything I did, whether shooting 3-pointers or leading a Bible study, had to be done with the best of my abilities to glorify God.”
The NCCAA award is named after Hall of Fame basketball player Pete Maravich. After his NBA career, “Pistol Pete” Maravich professed faith in Christ. The Maravich award is sponsored by Gary Beck, manager of the Gary Beck Foundation and a former NCCAA All-American student-athlete.
Boyce College, the undergraduate school of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, began its NCCAA-affiliated basketball program in 2006.
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