Founders' Day 2018 | Judson University Christian College
Judson Celebrates Founders' Day

(ELGIN, IL – October 19, 2018) Judson University celebrated the 2018 Founders’ Day hearing stories of overcoming adversity and honoring those who have served the university.

Judson began as a college in 1913 as the undergraduate arm of Northern Baptist Theological Seminary and was named for Adoniram Judson, the first Protestant missionary sent from North America to preach in Burma. Judson established its Elgin location in 1963 and became a full-fledged university in 2007.

Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM), told a crowd of special guests, faculty and students attending the morning chapel that the museum persevered much like scripture in Ecclesiastes calls for you to prepare yourself to be tested and to not be dismayed in the face of adversity. Established in 1990, the NLBM is a privately funded museum in Kansas City, Mo., dedicated to preserving the history of Negro league baseball in America.

The museum strives to tell the true stories of African American baseball players who are often overlooked by Major League histories due to racial color lines, Kendrick said. He shared stories about the accomplishments of players like Leroy Robert "Satchel" Paige and Jackie Robinson, both of whom crossed racial lines and played with white teams because of their excellence on the field and strength off the field. Jackie Robinson’s journey as the first professional African American to play in the Major League Baseball with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 predates the civil rights movement and even inspired future civil rights leaders.

Kendrick also explained the importance of the Kansas City Monarchs, a baseball Negro League, as a training ground for African American players. The team was the first team to use generator lights for night games as a way to survive economically. The lights allowed working class people a chance to attend baseball game without missing work. The team was so popular that black churches would move their worship schedules according to the game times on Sunday, he said.

“The moral of the story is that if you don’t control the pen, then you don’t tell the story. This is the basis for the [museum]. We focus on what people did to overcome the adversity,” said Kendrick. “The journey of Negro Leagues is a journey of faith.”

During the Founders’ Day luncheon, the university also honored Kendrick with a Presidential Award for Exceptional Achievement. Kendrick, who earned a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Park University, is credited with helping to revitalize the museum’s fi¬scal health during its fi¬rst 20 years. Prior to his current role, he served as director and vice president of Marketing for the NLBM. He has also held top-level posts within other non-profit organizations, like the National Sports Center for the Disabled.

Judson also honored the Rev. Dr. Nathaniel Edmond, a Judson Trustee Emeritus, with the Golden Eagle Award for his dedication and service to the university and local community. He served on Judson’s Board of Trustees from 2003 through 2017.

Dr. Edmond has served as pastor of Second Baptist Church of Elgin since 2000. Prior to going into ministry, he worked at Alcoa Aluminum for 31 years. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Xavier University and is a graduate of Cornell University’s Executive Management Program. He also has training in Theology/Religion and Philosophy and in Young Pastoral Training.

In 2010, Rev. Edmond received an Honorary Doctorate from Judson. In 2011, he welcomed Judson’s first World Leaders Forum keynote speaker, President George W. Bush, to the Herrick Chapel stage. And, for more than 15 years, he has spearheaded Judson’s Martin Luther King Day chapel, the most popular chapel of the school year.

Following the luncheon, Judson dedicated the Edgar Boss garden to celebrate the university’s first registrar, who shepherded the university’s first accreditation process and hired many of Judson’s first faculty. The garden was a way to physically represent the memory and good work of Dr. Edgar Boss in a way that would tell his story to future students, said Professor Emeritus Dr. Stuart Ryder, who commissioned the garden.

Judson Founders' Day 2018


Judson University, Shaping Lives that Shape the World