Thursday, June 13, 2002

College moving ahead as it marks milestone

Temple Baptist's 30 years of Christian studies

By Kristina Goetz,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        It has been 30 years since Temple Baptist College was founded to give students a place to earn a degree and secure a strong foundation for serving God.

        This weekend, the small campus nestled in Springdale will celebrate three decades of Christian higher education by hosting evangelist Jerry Falwell at a fund-raising event and its commencement ceremony.

[photo] Dr. Joseph Paturi, president of Temple Baptist College in Springdale, sits in the chapel of the college, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary.
(Michael Snyder photo)
| ZOOM |
        “I think (the college is) one of the best-kept secrets in Cincinnati,” said Tom Head, 44, of Ross, who will graduate with 21 other students this weekend. “There's a segment this school can service. It's small. It's personal.”

        More than just a place to educate preachers, administrators say, the liberal arts college of about 140 students also offers majors such as business administration and education, and is based on values Baptists traditionally hold dear.

        “Our desire is to be on the cutting edge of education with a biblical foundation,” said Darrell Horsley, the school's chancellor and pastor of Temple Baptist Church. “Some people would say that's not possible. We believe it is.”

        The anniversary is particularly significant because Temple Baptist, founded in 1972, is on the cusp of a new era in the institution's history, one that will bring greater prestige.

        In November, school officials will go before the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools accrediting board for a designation the college has been working five years to achieve.

        Currently, the Ohio Board of Education certifies graduates of the accredited programs who want to teach in the state's Christian schools. The school already has certification from the Accrediting Commission International, but TRACS accreditation is particularly important because it is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education.

    Temple Baptist College in Springdale will host evangelist Jerry Falwell in a celebration this weekend of the school's 30th anniversary. Rev. Falwell will speak at the school's commencement.
    When: Commencement, 10:30 a.m. Saturday.
    Where: Landmark Baptist Temple auditorium, 1600 Glendale-Milford Road.
    Cost: Free and open to the public.
        If the application is approved, students will soon be able to apply for Pell and other federal grants, and it will be easier to transfer credits.

        “That should broaden our recognition,” said Gail Terrell, dean of academic affairs. “It was always our plan. We're ideally oriented for a metropolitan area.”

        The campus is on eight acres given to the school by the church. Students attend classes in one large building.

        Mr. Head chatted last week with classmates sitting around a large table while he waited to take his theology final.

        There was the usual campus banter. World Cup soccer. Term-paper length. But soon the discussion took a more-serious turn, to theology.

        In public speaking class, students espouse the virtues of a Christian life from a podium in the chapel, where they are required to attend daily services.

        Under the watchful eye of President Dr. Joseph Paturi, who can often be seen in classrooms or in the chapel, each student graduates with a minor in Bible studies and instruction in evangelism.

        The Rev. Mr. Falwell, founder of the now-defunct Moral Majority political action group, has followed the college closely over the years. He said he believes it has the potential to have a tremendous impact on the city.

        “The academics are important, but it needs to be done in a biblical context,” the Rev. Mr. Falwell said. “(At Temple Baptist) they learn not only to make a living, but how to live.”

        It's that biblical focus, students say, that is the reason they chose Temple Baptist.

        Mr. Head, his wife and daughter are examples of the types of students who attend. One family member discovers the institution and others soon follow. Many already have degrees.

        “Mostly, I believe in what the school is trying to do here,” said Mr. Head, who will graduate this weekend along with his wife, Sondra. Both have earned master's degrees in biblical studies.

        And as Ricky Sherrer, 47, of East Walnut Hills steps forward to receive his master's degree in biblical studies, the engineer says he will be better able to teach classes at his church in Avondale, Greater New Hope Baptist Church.

        “I had questions that I couldn't answer,” Mr. Sherrer said. “I found out the proper way to look at Scriptures. It's just confidence when you know you're right.”


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