Blessed Light–The Campaign for Judson College recently celebrated the kickoff of its Judson Area division campaign with a dinner in Archibald Hall.
Members of the Marion community and Judson Area Campaign volunteers attended the dinner and enjoyed testimonies from campaign volunteers, Judson students, and college administrators, as well as music provided by 2012 alumna Miriam Hart Nicholson.
Hannah Patterson, a senior biology student minoring in chemistry and religious studies, captured the theme of the evening’s event with her words: “The Judson community is a community of believers, of each other, of education, of a bright future, of something bigger than itself.”
Roy Barnett and Catesby Jones, co-chairs of the Judson Area Campaign, emphasized this community and its reach far beyond the “Judson Area”. Said Jones, “I’m inspired by the testimonies of Judson’s young women–of where Judson has taken them, and where it’s going to take them, in their lives.” Barnett reminded guests of their own connections to Judson. “As residents of this area, we are fortunate that we get to experience Judson ‘up close and personal’. We realize what Judson means to our community and to our area. We know Judson matters. The “blessed light” of Judson College shines well beyond our area. This light is a real witness to what God is doing in the life of the college and of the young women who graduate.”
David Potts, Judson College President, echoed the significance of the Blessed Light campaign, which he indicated would enable Judson to further, and more fully, “send forth blessed light” into the world.
Potts referenced the history of the founding of the college, when members of Siloam Baptist Church and others named their new college after Ann Hasseltine Judson, a missionary whose life became synonymous with service and “the greater good” in the 19th century, in hopes that their institution would educate young women to be Light and Truth in their world.
In the kickoff event’s opening prayer, Bruce Fuller, Special Gifts Section Chair, articulated how this legacy of “send[ing] forth blessed light” is still Judson’s mission today: “Judson is a bright spot in a dark world, and she touches not only our local community but our state, our nation, and even the world.”
Potts spoke of the current local and global reach of Judson’s “blessed light”: from traditional undergraduate programs on campus, to courses offered to students overcoming addiction at Birmingham’s Lovelady Center, to partnerships with Kachin Theological College and Seminary in Myanmar.
Referencing Judson’s commitment to its Marion roots and the care of the community for Judson throughout its history, Potts thanked guests for “remaining faithful to the idea of the ‘blessed light’ that emanates from Judson College. The connection we sense together calls this community to rally around Judson to seize opportunities for the future.”
Patterson shared that when she first visited the Judson campus as a Mountain Brook High School senior, she immediately felt at home in Judson’s community. Citing the rigors of her academic coursework and the support of her professors during her years as a Judson student, Patterson feels confident in her abilities to succeed in her life after college. “Becoming a physician has always been a dream of mine, and Judson really boosted my confidence and assured me that I could accomplish that dream. I’m thankful for this Christian environment we have here that allows and cultivates students like me to thrive. I’m thankful for the faculty and staff who have facilitated my maturing so that I’m ready for the world after this place called Judson that loves us so well.”
Doug Halbrooks, Special Gifts Section Vice-Chair, remembered moving to Marion as a young veterinarian in the 1980s and experiencing Judson’s local benefits as an economic contributor to the area, an outlet for the arts and social life, and an institution of Christian influence in the Marion area and across the state. “Now, I see Judson as an important light to the world. I see Judson as a trainer of Light-bearers to go into an ever-darkening world that’s often devoid of truth. The Blessed Light Campaign will enable Judson to be salt and light in the world for generations to come.”
Barnett and Jones reported that the Judson Area Campaign Challenge Goal of $200,000 had already been surpassed and announced a new “Victory Goal” of $300,000.
To date, Terry Morgan, Judson Vice President for Institutional Advancement, reports that the Blessed Light campaign has raised over $9.4 million in gifts and pledges toward a campaign Base Goal of $13,050,000. Goals for the campaign include improving facilities, strengthening endowments and academic programs, providing operational support, and reducing capital debt. Projects which have already been completed through Blessed Light gifts include the addition of lights in the Dunkin Athletic Park, the building of an education facility at the Piper Equine Center, and the renovation of the freshman residence hall, Anne Kirtley Hall.
Said Patterson, “We already experience so many wonderful opportunities at Judson, and it can only get better–and touch and bless generations of students to come.”
For more information about the Judson Area Division campaign, contact Charlotte Clements, Judson College Director of Development, at (334) 683-5285.