President Ana Patterson welcomed this year’s incoming freshmen at Southwestern Adventist University’s annual Mizpah Gate Ceremony. It was held at the Keene Church in Keene, Texas, on August 16, 2022. Explaining the history behind the ceremony in her remarks, she shared that 129 years ago, the campus was encircled by fencing to keep out livestock. Access to campus was only possible through turnstiles at the north and south sides of campus. Today, Southwestern Adventist University’s iconic Mizpah Gate, built of brick and petrified wood, has replaced the old south turnstile and is its official entrance.
The name, Mizpah, is taken from a biblical prayer in Genesis 31:49 that asks for the Lord to watch between us while we are absent from each other. Present Patterson said, “Parents, as your son or daughter walks through the Mizpah gate, it symbolizes that they are leaving home; that they are beginning a new chapter in their lives.”
During the ceremony, Associate Professor of Communications R. Brett Hadley said, “The Bible is a great book . . . and when we act on it, power happens, because that’s what God promises. Nothing will be more powerful than the promises of God,” he emphasized, “because those are the things that have the most power,” as he motivated students to pull their Bibles off the shelf this year.
Student Association President Christian Tarbox greeted students and presented Jeremiah 29:11, “You have been called to a future and a hope,” he said. “That future and hope is a belonging, a purpose, and an identity—all these things you will find here at Southwestern Adventist University,” he promised.
President Patterson held up the University’s mission, to inspire knowledge, faith, and service through Christ-centered education and added, “At Southwestern Adventist University, we value God’s Word and continually seek to be guided by His wisdom.”
Dr. Donner Berkner, vice president for academic administration, prayed a prayer of dedication over the new class. Afterward, the freshmen and their families stepped onto a red carpet and walked like celebrities through the Mizpah Gate and across campus. Faculty and staff lined up on the side of the red carpet, waving University flags as they cheered, greeted, and welcomed each student and their families. Classes began Monday, August 22, 2022.
Check out Mizpah Ceremony pictures here!