Letters from readers: JU president thanks First Baptist
How uplifting to see the spirit of cooperation, creativity and just plain good neighborliness shown by First Baptist Church of Jacksonville last week as it agreed on very short notice to host our Jacksonville University Spring Commencement on Saturday.
As it became clear that inclement weather would combine with one of our largest graduating classes ever to move our ceremony indoors, we faced a new and big challenge: how to ensure that everyone could gather in one place to enjoy a celebration featuring both a former JU president and an Apollo astronaut receiving honorary degrees, the presence of Mayor Alvin Brown and a procession of remarkable graduates.
First Baptist and particularly Senior Executive Pastor John Blount and Executive Pastor of Communications Jeff Stoll were not only agreeable to our late-breaking proposal to use their Main Auditorium, they were proactive with ideas — as flexible as any partner we’ve ever worked with.
In fact, so many people — graduates, their friends and family and members of the community — showed up that they nearly filled the 6,700-seat venue, making this one of the largest JU events of any kind in our university’s 79-year history. We’ve heard nothing but fantastic comments about First Baptist and the event itself.
It was exciting to see two of Jacksonville’s storied institutions getting things done so well together; it spoke volumes to the strong bonds JU has had for so long with this region and will continue to nurture as we grow our programs and reach out.
Thank you again to First Baptist Church and all who pitched in to make this commencement one that will not soon be forgotten.