Judson University Founders' Day Honored Historic Legacy and a Future Poised for Change | Judson University Christian College
Judson University Founders' Day Honored Historic Legacy and a Future Poised for Change

(ELGIN, IL – October 16, 2015) Judson University was founded in 1913 as the undergraduate arm of Northern Baptist Theological Seminary. The independent, Christian liberal arts and sciences institution was established at the Elgin location in 1963, and today, members of the Judson community gathered there to honor its beginnings.

The Founders’ Day 2015 celebration began with a chapel service at Herrick Chapel. The guest speaker was Dr. Steven R. Harmon, a visiting associate professor of Historical Theology at Gardner-Webb University School of Divinity in Boiling Springs, N.C.

Dr. Harmon spoke of the history of the Baptist movement, and the many divisions that kept it growing and rethinking its posture throughout history. As part of his discussion, Dr. Harmon mentioned Judson namesake Adoniram Judson, the first Protestant missionary sent from North American to preach in Burma, and his role in setting the stage and preparing the foundation for modern missional thought and the modern ecumenical movement.

As an extension of that legacy, Dr. Harmon said that Judson University now has a distinctive opportunity to participate “in the mission of God by extending ecumenical hospitality” and embracing “ecumenical expressions of Christian life together with other Christians” that may or may not be Baptists.

Dr. Harmon explained that this can be accomplished by keeping three things in mind: remembering that we are one, serving one God; that we are one, though not the same; and by not shrinking away from dialogue about difference, realizing that it leads to reconciliation and healing.

During the afternoon hour, a formal luncheon was held in the Judson Dining Hall. Those gathered included local business people, alumni, staff, faculty, trustees and friends. Judson President Dr. Gene C. Crume served as the guest speaker. During his presentation, Dr. Crume spoke of the foundational beliefs and tenets of Judson as an institution.

“In addition to faith, vision and courage,” he said, “we are bolstered and blessed by grace, peace and love.”

The luncheon was capped off by the presentation of the Golden Eagle Award, which was given to Judson’s fourth President and Emeritus Trustee Board Member Dr. James W. Didier for his dedicated service to the university for more than 45 years.

In fact, while recalling stories about how the founders acquired the Elgin-campus property, he said, “I knew about Judson before there was a Judson,” he said, then adding, “And today’s challenges are at least as great today as they were then.”

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