Around the State: Gerson speaks at DBU; gifts to ETBU create endowed scholarships

Michael Gerson, former chief speechwriter and assistant to the president, spoke to DBU students, faculty and staff about integrating faith and politics. (DBU Photo / Amanda Penwarden)

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Michael Gerson (2nd from right), former White House aide and speechwriter, is welcomed to Dallas Baptist University by (left to right) Nick Pitts, director of DBU’s Institute for Global Engagement, DBU President Adam C. Wright and Jim Denison, founder of the Denison Forum and senior fellow for global studies at DBU. (DBU Photo / Amanda Penwarden)

Michael Gerson, former White House aide and nationally syndicated columnist for The Washington Post, discussed faith and politics at Dallas Baptist University at the invitation of the school’s Institute for Global Engagement. Until 2006, Gerson served President George W. Bush as chief speechwriter and assistant to the president for policy and strategic planning. “We need a political system that calls us to the common good, not just the triumph of our tribe. We need leaders who value the Imago Dei over the controversy of the day,” Gerson told the DBU crowd. “One of the greatest lessons of life is the ability of compassion and generosity to break down walls of contempt.”

East Texas Baptist University received $200,000 from the James A. “Buddy” Davidson Foundation to initiate an endowed ministry scholarship. The grant is one of the largest foundation grants to ETBU in the last two decades. ETBU also received $100,000 from Johnny Eugene Mosley to create another endowed scholarship to benefit students in financial need who demonstrate strong Christian character and leadership.

Jaclyn Bonner (center), a 2017 Howard Payne University graduate, served as a missionary to Uganda and returned to HPU recently to talk about her experience. She is pictured with graduates of an educational program sponsored by Refuge & Hope International. (Photo courtesy of HPU)

Jaclyn Bonner, a Howard Payne University graduate, returned to the Brownwood campus recently to talk with students about her experiences in Uganda, serving through Texas Baptists’ Go Now Missions program. She worked in Kampala with Refuge & Hope International, a faith-based organization that serves refugees, helping to equip them through English as a Second Language and General Equivalency Degree classes and entrepreneurship courses.

At the Baylor University board of regents’ February meeting, President Linda Livingstone updated regents on development of an academic strategic plan, called “Illuminate,” which will represent the next phase of the Baylor’s Pro Futuris vision over the next five years. The board is expected to receive a detailed report on the final version of the academic strategic plan at its May meeting.

Currie-Strickland Scholars recognized at Howard Payne University are (left to right) Emily Ball of Midlothian, Kaitlyn Bush of Brownwood, Garrett Ford of Monahans and Julie Jo Yarbro of Odessa. They are pictured with Derek Hatch, associate professor of Christian studies at HPU. (HPU Photo/Amy Pitman)

Howard Payne University recognized four students as Currie-Strickland Scholars in Ethics and Theology. They are Emily Ball of Midlothian, Kaitlyn Bush of Brownwood, Garrett Ford of Monahans and Julie Jo Yarbro of Odessa.

The Marshall Police Department led active shooter training for East Texas Baptist University’s student affairs and university security staff. The Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events course, developed by the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center at Texas State University in 2004, provides strategies, guidance and a proven plan for surviving an active shooter event based on three approaches—avoid, deny and defend. ETBU also provided basic active shooter training for all students, faculty and staff.


20th for Wesley Shotwell as pastor at Ash Creek Baptist Church in Azle.


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