First day at AU kicks off with prayer, speeches

Thu, 2007-09-06 12:20 -- univcomm
September 6, 2007

Anderson University sophomore Jordan Mathis didn’t have the time Tuesday morning to stop and chat. That’s because it was the first day of classes, and he was in a hurry to get there.

“It’s great to be back; I’m excited,” said Mathis, 19, as he walked briskly across campus. “I love it here.”

The entire campus was buzzing — alarm clocks could be heard emanating from dorm rooms — with activity Tuesday morning, as students headed to class for the first time this academic year.

The day was kicked off at Reardon Auditorium at 10 a.m. as all students gathered for the year’s first chapel service.

The faculty paraded through the auditorium dressed in traditional ceremonial academic garb, past thousands of students who filled the building to capacity.

The university’s alma mater was sung by all; and student government president Jes Smith, met with applause, read Scripture from Ephesians 3:14-21. Campus Pastor Kimberly Majeski led the auditorium in prayer. Majeski thanked God for all the new faces in the auditorium, and the new day ahead of them.

University President James L. Edwards gave the crowd a fire-brand inspirational speech touching on topics of spirituality, and talking about famous alumni who had “found the front door” to the culture.

“I hope what we do will keep that beautiful spirit alive among us,” said Edwards. “I hope as your mind wanders to your good life you’ll find places to hook in to challenge and opportunity.”

Edwards also made mention of senior Keren E.B. Flores, a 21-year-old Anderson University student who died Aug. 12 two days after being involved in a car accident. Edwards noted that a memorial service will be held in her honor at 5 p.m. Thursday at Reardon Auditorium.

University Registrar Arthur Leak led students in closing prayer before they shuffled off to their first classes.

“We thank God for another year, and another semester,” said Leak. “We ask God to bless this campus, the students, and the faculty and staff.”

Transfer student Ross Cloud, speaking after the chapel, said he was excited for the first day of classes — buoyed by the love he felt from fellow students, and for his faith.

“All the students are really cool, and I feel like this is a great place for me to strengthen my faith,” said Cloud, 20, a sophomore, formerly an Indiana University student. “I’m really excited about coming to Anderson University.”

–Neal McNamara is a reporter for The Herald Bulletin in Anderson. Story republished with permission.

Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2008, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the fourth consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 60 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing and theology.