Crown College Inaugurates Dr. Joel Wiggins as 16th President
Academic and spiritual relevance in 21st century top goals for the college.
Thursday, November 21, 2013, was a historic day for Crown College as Dr. Joel Wiggins was inaugurated as the College’s 16th president. Community and business leaders, along with faculty, staff, many Crown students, and a cadre of Wiggins family members all packed the Athletic Center to share in this Inaugural celebration.
The ceremony began with an emotional, passionate prayer offered by Janet Sarpong, a Psychology Major from Ghana, Africa. Janet said later, “I was so nervous; I prayed that the Holy Spirit would give me the right words to say. It was God that spoke, not me.”
After an inspirational musical selection performed exquisitely by Dr. David Donelson’s Crown College Choir and Orchestra, Dr. Wiggins’ mentor from his doctorate studies at the University of Texas at Austin, Dr. Roderick Hart, gave an emotional endorsement of Dr. Wiggins via video link, “When my daughter told me she was engaged, she said, I don’t know who my bridesmaids will be yet, or what my dress will look like…but I know I want Joel to officiate my wedding.”
From the podium, State Senator, Julianne Ortman congratulated and encouraged Dr. Wiggins; U.S. Senator, Amy Klobuchar and U.S. Representative, Erik Paulsen did the same via video links from Washington, D.C. Mrs. Patty Pitts, Crown’s Director of Academic Programs, read comments that students and faculty offered on behalf of Dr. Wiggins—all with heartfelt thankfulness for his authentic interest in knowing who they are, what they are doing, and what their plans are for the future.
Several from the Crown Community then read a blessing, In Everything by Prayer, to Dr. Wiggins, each taking turns reading a line at a time. The Crown Worship Team performed Hosanna, while the audience sang along. Then it was time for former Crown and CMA President, Dr. Gary Benedict, to offer his charge to Dr. Wiggins, saying “Take care of your marriage as you enter into this new chapter with Kathy, your wife. Be prepared and courageous as you accept this mantle of leadership from the Lord. Even though you are so well prepared, it is God who will do the work!”
Former president, Rick Mann, and his wife Cheri offered a gracious prayer over Joel and Kathy Wiggins and then Rick gave a few words of encouragement, realizing the job of being a college president is not an easy one. Mann said, “You are one of the few who are equipped to lead this integration with your upbringing, commitment to Christ, experience at Crown, armful of degrees, and comprehensive marketplace experience. I believe you’re the leader for such a time as this.”
After a reading from Isaiah 40 by Dr. Fawn McCracken, Dean of Crown’s Online and Graduate School, it was time for Dr. Wiggins to give his Inaugural Address, which will be uploaded in the next couple days. In his message, Joel stressed the importance of valuing service, relevance, velocity, and purpose in our lives, saying “God wants us to live purposeful lives, not perishable lives.”
Dr. Wiggins translated these values into initiatives at Crown which include providing a transformative student experience, demand-side curriculum, an infrastructure makeover on campus, and engagement at multiple levels internally and externally, which must lead to increased non-tuition revenue. His closing remarks included a passionate plea to “not settle” for an easy faith and to “serve the purpose of God in our own generation. Right Now! Right Here! By Faith!”
Dr. Scott Moats gave the benediction and after the recessional, the audience enjoyed a wonderful reception in the Dining Center that included hot hors d’oeuvres, fruit and vegetables and desserts.
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