FROM THE COLLEGES: Union, Truett-McConnell, Campbellsville, Anderson

Baptist Press
Posted: May 16, 2014 4:52 PM
Union’s Fant named provost at Palm Beach Atlantic

JACKSON, Tenn. -- Gene Fant, Union University’s executive vice president for academic administration, has been named provost of Palm Beach Atlantic University in Florida, effective June 2.

“Gene Fant has become one of the finest ambassadors of Christian higher education to be found anywhere in the country,” Union President David S. Dockery said. “His commitment to authentic Christ-centered higher education, his dedication to the liberal arts, his faithful churchmanship and his loyalty to the core values of Union University have made him a very special leader on the Union campus for more than a decade.”

Fant came to Union in 2002 as chair of the English department and became Union’s dean of the college of arts and sciences in 2006. In 2011 he became vice president for academic administration before being named executive vice president and dean of the faculty in 2012. He co-led the development of the Union 2015 Strategic Plan.

Fant is the author of “The Liberal Arts: A Students’ Guide” and “God as Author: A Biblical Approach to Narrative.” He co-wrote “Expectant Moments: Devotions for Expectant Parents” with his wife Lisa. He has contributed dozens of articles and chapters to magazines and books and is a regular blogger for The Chronicle of Higher Education and First Things.

A graduate of James Madison University, Fant earned his master of arts in English from Old Dominion University, a master of divinity from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and a master of education and Ph.D. from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Prior to coming to Union, Fant was an English professor and department chair at Mississippi College.

The Fants are parents to Ethan and Emily and are members of Englewood Baptist Church in Jackson.

“I am grateful for the many opportunities President Dockery has afforded me for the past 12 years, even as I look forward to serving President William Fleming and the Palm Beach Atlantic University community,” Fant said. “I leave behind wonderful friends and colleagues, but I am excited about joining a vibrant sister institution that is on the doorstep of one of the world’s great cities, Miami.”

Truett-McConnell plans a student rec center

CLEVELAND, Ga. -- Plans for a new student recreation center are underway at Truett-McConnell College in Cleveland, Ga.

Trustees voted unanimously in March to endorse a 14-month capital campaign that began May 1 for the construction of a $13 million, 69,000-square-foot facility.

Emir Caner, Truett-McConnell’s president, said God is raising up “a new generation of believers who are sold out to the Lord Jesus Christ. … Once home to a few hundred students, our college now enrolls more than 1,600 students residentially and online. It is both incumbent and necessary that we radically transform the campus to give us the ability to radically transform as many lives for Christ as God would send to us.”

The facility will be named the George Blaurock Student Recreation Center to reflect “the rich heritage and staunch commitment of the Anabaptist movement and one of its evangelists,” Caner said of the Anabaptist element in church history. “The center’s namesake is none other than the very man who helped begin the modern missionary movement and who, through martyrdom, gave his life for the faith.”

Students have dubbed the center “The Rock.”

The facility “will be an asset for recruitment, a ministry to our students, and will accommodate our growing athletic program that we hope will include football and women’s lacrosse in the not-too-distant future,” Caner said.

The Rock will feature an eight-lane accessible swimming pool, two racquetball courts, three basketball courts, an elevated running track, training equipment and a restaurant.

“We can’t keep the new center all to ourselves,” said Gary Jarnagin, the college’s director of financial development. “So, we plan to offer the rec center’s use to the public on a membership basis.

“Once the funds are in hand, we will begin digging for the Rock by fall 2015, with an estimated 18-month build-out for completion,” Jarnagin said.

J. Robert White, executive director of the Georgia Baptist Convention, told the college’s news service, “Being a healthy communicator of Gospel truth begins with a commitment to wholeness. That’s what I love about Truett-McConnell, forthright commitment to radical transformation of the body, mind and spirit. The new student recreation center will reflect the vibrant environment of Truett-McConnell College, a Georgia Baptist College, that is devoted to the health of every student, every professor and every administrator.”

Clarifying a previous decision to build a new chapel on campus, Jarnagin said those plans are still viable. “The remodeling of our current athletic complex for chapel services, the planned addition of football and lacrosse, as well as our growing student enrollment brought us to conclude that the student recreation center was our most exigent need,” he said.

Trustee chairman Bob Jolly said, “As a pastor in north Georgia, I have witnessed firsthand the blessing Truett-McConnell College is to the local church. Though nestled in the north Georgia mountains, the college is not isolated. It is an integral part of the local community and the region -- a city set on a hill whose light cannot be hidden. Truett-McConnell therefore is aggressively seeking to brighten the community with a new state-of-the-art student recreation center that will reveal the light of the world, Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Savior of all who call on His name.”

Campbellsville launches sport management master’s degree

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. -- For those who have a passion to work in a sports-related field, Campbellsville University will launch a master of arts degree in sport management this fall.

The MASM degree will allow specialization in sport management along with advanced training in such areas as finance, event planning and sport ethics. The Baptist-affiliated Kentucky university competes in 26 varsity sports, from bass fishing to bowling.

Donna Wise, chair of the department of human performance and assistant professor of physical education and athletics, said the MASM will be “a flexible, affordable, accelerated program with professors who are passionate about preparing students for sports management in the 21st century while communicating values of character and integrity from a Christian worldview." Wise said the coursework will teach students “to apply Christian principles, the latest technology, cutting-edge marketing techniques, sound business theory and the fine points of sport management.”

The 30-hour program is a blended format of main campus and online courses, including a 21-hour core and nine hours in a specific area of administration or marketing.

DeWayne Frazier, associate vice president for academic affairs and dean of Campbellsville’s graduate school, said MASM grads will be “ready to compete in the 21st century workforce where sports are embedded in every corner of the culture.”

Wise can be contacted for more information at or 270-789-5261.

Anderson Univ. offers blended B.A./M.Div. degree

ANDERSON, S.C. -- Anderson University is beginning a blended bachelor of arts and master of divinity program that will allow students to save one to two years off the normal time required to earn both degrees.

The master of divinity is the standard theological degree offered by most seminaries and divinity schools in the U.S. It is typically a three-year program, which follows four years of undergraduate study.

Michael Duduit, dean of Anderson University’s college of Christian studies, said the blended B.A./M.Div. “will allow a strong student to apply 30 hours of his or her undergraduate biblical, theological and ministry courses toward the M.Div. program. This will leave them just 45 hours to complete the second degree, saving students time and money in preparing for ministry.”

The university’s trustees approved the Advanced Standing M.Div. during their Feb. 21 meeting, for launch in the fall 2014 semester. The program awaits final approval from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

In addition to the blended B.A./M.Div., Anderson’s college of Christian studies offers a traditional 75-hour M.Div. degree for people who already have an undergraduate degree. AU will continue to offer the 42-hour master of ministry (M.Min.) degree, an accelerated program for those who are already employed and need a streamlined graduate ministry degree.

The Advanced Standing M.Div. is the latest offering in AU’s college of Christian studies, which also offers traditional undergraduate degrees, including concentrations in youth ministry, pastoral ministry, missions, preaching and biblical studies, plus the M.Min. and the doctor of ministry degree.

For additional information on any of the college’s degree programs, email to or call 864-328-1809.

Compiled by Baptist Press editor Art Toalston.

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