I love the month of April as spring is in full swing. Our campus grounds are lush green, sprinkled with color as the flowers have burst into full bloom. It is also the time of year when our campus is teeming with wonderful alumni. While admiring the bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush, and buttercups, it is also a real treat for me to listen to alumni share their cherished stories of when they were students.
I had the privilege of spending some time with Lili Gil Valletta and hearing first-hand of how she came to school here without knowing any English. She successfully completed the ESL program then went on to receive her bachelor’s degree. Now, she is rubbing shoulders with the political leaders in Washington and featured on Fox News, MSNBC, etc. Lili was a guest speaker at our one-day Fruition Lab which focused on Faith and Entrepreneurship. She is a recognized cultural intelligence expert, World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, and an award-winning entrepreneur.
During homecoming Joyce Shaw from the class of 1959 was awarded the volunteer of the year award as she continuously volunteers for the local schools, the University, her church, and the community. She has been a blessing to so many, but is quick to add she gets more from giving than receiving.
We honored from the class of 1984, Dr. Brian Sicher, a podiatrist from Amarillo, as Alum of the Year. Despite his busy practice, he finds time each year to lead out in surgical mission trips to Guatemala and Mexico.
In talking with our alumni, I notice common threads in each of their stories. They express appreciation for their years as students at Southwestern Adventist University as they recall life-changing experiences with faculty, staff, and students. Regardless of their age they find joy in serving others. Often, they express how their faith has enriched their lives.
Now, as the bluebonnets begin to fade and our alumni return to their homes, I am reminded of the meaning behind the historic entrance to our campus, the Mizpah Gate; may God keep watch between our alumni and our University while we are away from one another. I am so proud of our alumni and the impact they are having on others.
This article is an opinion piece written by President Shaw for the Cleburne Times Review.