At the first sound of bagpipes, Lipscomb University kicks off another school year.
On Tuesday, Aug. 28, students, faculty and staff from Lipscomb Academy and Lipscomb University along with the Lipscomb Board of Trustees, gathered in Allen Arena for the President’s Convocation, which officially began the institution’s 128th year.
Per tradition, Scottish musical group Nashville Pipes and Drums accompanied the processional of faculty into the arena. The annual event, held at the beginning of each academic year, is a time to prepare for the challenges and accomplishments of the year to come.
This year, President L. Randolph Lowry referred to the ceremony as “graduation backwards.”
“Here we are at the beginning, dressed up, ready to go, engaged in a great enterprise and a great mission, anticipating another time at the end of the year where people walk across the stage... but it’s a time now to be at the beginning,” Lowry said.
Lowry reflected on last school year, recollecting the solar eclipse, the transition from Pepsi to Coca-cola products, and the accomplishments of the university’s athletic teams.
“And so we enter this year, really after having a tremendous year last year. And each year now builds on the one before it,” said Lowry.
Fulbright Scholar and Lipscomb alumna Courtney Stewart gave the Academic Charge, sharing her transformation after a year spent in Northern Spain teaching English.
“After comparing my time in Spain with my own four years at Lipscomb, I realized that both provided an incredible opportunity for transformation,” said Stewart. “We want to leave this place looking different from when we started.”
Stewart challenged both students and faculty to pursue difficult opportunities, relationships and acknowledge imperfections, as this is when transformation occurs.
Stewart ended her address with a charge to students,
“I hope we invest in unexpected relationships and try things that scare us. I hope we love well, even when we don’t feel loved. I hope we fail, and I hope we succeed,” she said. “And I hope that one year from now, we may look back to today and say ‘my how I’d like to meet that person.’”
Special musical guest Michael W. Smith made a surprise appearance during the ceremony.
Smith led worship and extended an invite to a free event at Bridgestone Arena on August 30 titled Surrounded, a night to Worship, Pray and be Awakened.
The goal of this event is to utilize the power of fellowship and prayer in healing the broken world.
President Lowry said in response to this, “When times are really difficult, God’s people come together in different ways.”
In closing, Lowry and members of the Presidential Ambassadors Council led the audience in a recitation of the institution’s “core beliefs.” This activity encouraged the Lipscomb body to begin the academic year united in a community of faith.