Around the State: HPU displays Nativity sets; HBU receives $20 million

A porcelain Nativity scene from China, based on the Japanese art of origami, is on display at the Howard Payne University library. The set is part of a collection donated by Merrill and Elaine Luman of Columbus. (HPU Photo)

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Nativity sets from around the world are on display at Howard Payne University’s Walker Memorial Library. They can be viewed by the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The library will be closed from Dec. 19 until January 1. The collection, donated by Merrill and Elaine Luman of Columbus, includes about 75 Nativity sets from 30 countries. Each set is unique in design—including some made of gold or silver and others carved out of wood or molded from clay. Many sets were designed by well-known artists whose cultures are reflected in their distinct depictions of the infant Jesus and his family. The Lumans received their first Nativity in 1968 as a gift celebrating the birth of their youngest son. Their appreciation for the Nativity sets paired well with their love of travel. “We wanted to make sure that, when we are gone, they are in a place where people can enjoy them as much as we have enjoyed them,” Luman said. “If this helps more people to know about the birth of Jesus, or just to think about the birth of our Savior, that makes it very important to us.”

Houston Baptist University received a $20 million donation from Jim and Sherry Smith—the largest gift in the school’s history. The donation will be applied to the construction of classroom space and laboratory facilities for HBU’s College of Science and Mathematics, College of Engineering, and School of Nursing and Allied Health. Jim Smith served as a member of the HBU board of trustees from 1990 to 1999, and he currently serves as an advisory trustee. Sherry Smith is a lifetime member of The Guild, a group of women who support graduate scholarships in education and theology. Both have served on the HBU President’s Leadership Council, and they were among the first donors to fund an endowed chair at HBU, the John Bisagno Chair of Christian Origins in the School of Christian Thought. Jim Smith’s father, Orrien Smith, was among the 25 men who each made a personal donation to purchase the land for Houston Baptist College in 1958.

Baptist Health Foundation of San Antonio presented its Spirit of Health Award to Ray Still, pastor of Oakwood Baptist Church in New Braunfels. In 2008, Still led the effort to establish New Braunfels Christian Ministries and its Volunteers in Medicine clinic. The clinic provides quality medical and dental care at no cost to uninsured residents of New Braunfels and Comal County.  Still also led efforts that resulted in healthy snacks and meals being provided daily to more than 250 under-resourced students from l2 elementary schools through the Kids’ Club program, and he has championed the Kids’ Club garden that provides fresh produce for Kids’ Club meals, students’ families and Volunteers in Medicine patients. He also initiated the creation of the Harvest Food Pantry to provide healthy groceries to families of school-aged children.

Dallas Baptist University presented its 2018 Ruth Awards to (left to right) Kim Singleton, Jacque Delkus and Patty Lovvorn. (DBU Photo / Kirsten McKimmey)

Dallas Baptist University presented its 2018 Ruth Awards to Jacque Delkus, Patty Lovvorn and Kim Singleton during a luncheon on the DBU campus. DBU presents the Ruth Awards to women who exemplify devotion to God, family, the community and Christian education on DBU’s campus. The awards were presented to each of the recipients by their husbands—Pete Delkus, chief meteorologist at WFAA-TV;  Mark Lovvorn, chairman and CEO of Providence Bancshares Corporation and chairman of Providence Bank of Texas; and Gary Singleton, senior pastor of The Heights Baptist Church in Richardson.

Shawna Roy has been named senior executive director for Buckner Children and Family Services of Southeast Texas, effective Jan. 1. In her new role, Roy will oversee nonprofit Buckner International’s preservation programs in Houston, Beaumont and Conroe, including Buckner Family Pathways and Buckner Family Hope Centers. Roy, a graduate of Southern New Hampshire University, has more than 13 years of experience in nonprofit management.  Her mother, Sylvia Bolling, founded the Aldine YOUTH Ministry in 1990. In 2012, Aldine YOUTH Ministry joined Buckner to form the Buckner Family Hope Center of Houston at Aldine, where Roy previously served as director. Roy most recently was the director of the Buckner Family Hope Center of Houston at Reed Road and the interim executive director of Houston. She also served previously as a director for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston.

Livingstone 200
Linda Livingstone

Linda Livingstone, president of Baylor University, was elected to the board of directors of the American Council on Education, a coordinating body for the nation’s colleges and universities. She will serve a three-year term beginning in March 2019. The council represents nearly 1,700 college and university presidents and the executives at related associations, and it is the only major higher education association to represent all types of accredited, degree-granting institutions in the United States: two-year and four-year, public and private. Its members represent two out of every three students in all accredited, degree-granting institutions.




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