Huntington University will welcome new and returning students on Friday, August 22, for Move-In Day.

The first-time freshman class and the overall new student group, including freshmen and transfer students, are both expected to be 10 percent larger than previous record levels. The university anticipates that the new student group will break the 300 mark for the first time in Huntington’s history.

Also on Friday, Livingston Hall officially will open to students. The modern student residence is designed to house 150 undergraduates, primarily freshmen and sophomores. Construction began in the summer of 2007.

Move-In Day will kick off a three-day orientation weekend for new students, including the Huntington University Plunge, small group sessions and social activities. The plunge, sponsored by the university’s Joe Mertz Center for Volunteer Service, involves groups of new students as well as faculty and staff volunteering at various locations in the Huntington community.

On Thursday, July 31, we had a BBQ cookout on the front campus at Huntington University. We treated all of the staff working during the summer, and gave them the rest of the afternoon off, with pay. It was a well-deserved break and a great way to recognize our staff for the terrific work they do all year and throughout the summer months.

Summers at the University are always busy. Students may be away for a few months, but here on campus, everyone is engaged with preparing for the coming year. I thought I’d give you some glimpses of what happens here during the summer.

Much work is done to prepare for our students’ return in the fall:

  • Registration Weekend is the third week of June. Students and their families arrive, register for classes, and begin to sample the “Huntington experience.” This year, we had a record number of participants, and we are looking forward to strong enrollment this fall.
  • The Student Development staff stays busy making room assignments for resident students.
  • Staff members in the financial aid and registrar’s offices help students with course registrations, scholarships, grants, and loans.
  • The Maintenance team works hard to prepare campus for the fall. This summer, we’re finishing the new Livingston Hall, preparing it to open for the fall semester.
  • Representatives from the Advancement Office meet with donors and friends of the University, raising funds for scholarships. They also support the summer tour of Godspell.
  • HU faculty and staff also host camps, including a theatre camp and a basketball camp. In addition, we host many outside groups that use our campus for retreats and conferences.

It has been a busy summer for me, as well. In the past few weeks:

  • I met with the senior administrative team on several occasions to review last year’s accomplishments and to develop goals for the upcoming year.
  • I traveled extensively on behalf of the University and participated in a conference for leaders in Christian higher education.
  • I prepared a chapel sermon for the first week of the school year.
  • I began work on my State of the University address, which I will present to faculty and staff in September.
  • And, of course, we enjoyed some vacation time. This summer, Chris and I were privileged to participate in my mom’s 90th birthday celebration in New Jersey.

It has been a rich and full summer, and now we are all eager for the school year to begin.

Godspell will be performing their final show at Huntington University, in the Merillat Centre for the Arts, on August 8 at 7:00 pm.

This show concludes the summer tour of 44 venues and nine states, including churches, church camps, high schools, a community festival and a performing arts center.

This year’s program captures an island theme – Survivor meets Cast Away. With references from classics such as Fantasy Island, Hawaii 5-0, Gilligan’s Island, and Tarzan to the more familiar Survivor, Lost, Cast Away and The Amazing Race, achieves another fresh take on the Gospel of Matthew that will entertain, inspire and transform!

Admission is free, and a reception will be held in the lobby afterwards.

Huntington University registered 229 first-time freshmen during Registration Weekend, topping the previous record set in 2006 by 28 students.

In addition, 38 more freshmen indicated to the registrar’s office that they intend to register in the near future.

Registration Weekend, held June 20-21, is an orientation to Huntington University for students and parents. Both attend seminars introducing them to faculty, staff, and current students. Students can take placement tests, sign up for housing, have their student identification photo taken, and learn about the university’s wireless computer network. A highlight of the weekend is the HU Olympics, hosted by current students.

hirschy_paul.jpgPaul Hirschy, former bishop and now a Huntington University staffer, has been offering the Good Sense stewardship training to UB churches. He recently conducted this at Franklintown UB church (Franklintown, Pa.). What’s this about?

Paul explains, “Willow Creek developed the Good Sense materials because they found that people would not give the time required for the demanding Crown Ministry. It is practical, designed to be done in one day, with six one-hour sessions. However, people are expected to do some pre-session work in preparation for the training.

“The material emphasizes that:

  • God owns it all and we are to be good trustees of what God has entrusted to us.
  • Credit card debt is the most damaging kind of debt, and people need to be very wise in the use of credit cards.
  • People can get out of debt and find financial freedom.

Credit card debt is a huge issue for many people. Churches need to deal with it to be relevant to one of the major problems in people’s lives.

“I like Good Sense because it is easy for people to understand, it can be presented in one day, and the cost is reasonable ($15 per manual, which a couple can share).”

If you’re interested in possibly hosting a Good Sense seminar, contact Paul Hirschy at or call toll-free 1-866-213-3710.

Huntington University’s summer “Godspell” troupe kicked off their summer tour with a performance in Huntington on June 8. People around the Healthy Ministry Office gave it rave reviews, noting especially the strength of the vocals. The group is headed east this weekend, with a performance tonight at Atlantic Avenue UB church in Franklin, Pa., and then at Salem UB in Chambersburg, Pa., on Sunday (both at 7 p.m.). Check the schedule for a performance near you.

United Brethren churches in the midwest and mid-Atlantic regions are invited to schedule a performance of “Godspell” during the summer months. Student actors and musicians from Huntington University will launch the summer tour of “Godspell” with a free show at College Park Church (Huntington, Ind.) at 7 p.m. on June 8. Then they’ll hit the road, anticipating doing up to 40 performances.

For booking information, contact Paul Hirschy at 260-359-4357.

For the third consecutive run of the production, director David Shamburger has incorporated a “Survivor” meets “Castaway” theme into the Gospel of Matthew. Godspell includes almost word-for-word retellings of several of Jesus’ parables.

GodspellLogo_300.jpg“While the ‘stoic’ thinkers of the past and present find themselves locked up in their ‘ivory towers’ and eventually falling to their knees, our band of players find themselves on a deserted island in what might be considered ‘Paradise,’ free from the rigors of legalistic thinking and exploring a new kind of journey led by a native islander named Jesus,” Shamburger said.

The presentation includes pop-culture references to “Fantasy Island,” “Hawaii 5-0,” “Gilligan’s Island,” “Tarzan,” “Survivor,” “Lost,” “Cast Away,” and “The Amazing Race.”

The 2008 Godspell tour features powerful acting and vocal performances as well as a live band with guitar, piano, keyboards and drums. Leading up to the production, students completed a semester-long course and a two-week “boot camp” to prepare them for the rigors of approximately 40 shows between June and August in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions.

Congratulations to three wonderful servants of the church who received honorary degrees from Huntington University on Saturday.
birdsalls_degrees300.jpgowengordon_degree300.jpgRuss and Nellie Birdsall (right) have served the Lord as a team in a variety of capacities–as missionaries in Sierra Leone, in administrative positions at Huntington University, in the pastorate, as conference superintendent, and most recently, during 11 stints as short-term missionaries in Jamaica and Macau.

Owen Gordon (right, being recognized by HU president G. Blair Dowden) is a long-time leader in Jamaica Conference. He is currently president of Jamaica Bible College in Mandeville, and also pastors a church.

Nine people from Jamaica, including Superintendent Winston Smith, were on hand to see Rev. Gordon receive his honorary degree.

brenneman-kyle.jpgKyle Brenneman (right), a senior worship leadership major at Huntington University, has received the first Award of Distinction in Christian Worship from The Robert E. Webber Institute of Worship Studies. Kyle, from Spencerville, Ohio, is the grandson of Howard and Sue Cherry, who are well-known in the United Brethren church for their service in the pastorate, at Huntington University, and at the United Brethren national office.

The award, earned by Brenneman for the quality of his scholarship, leadership and diligence, includes a $1000 scholarship to continue his studies at the institute.

The Institute of Worship Studies is located in Orange Park, Fla. Phil Burkett, Minister of Music at College Park UB (Huntington, Ind.), is finishing his doctoral work at IWS, and Sam Ward, Minister of Music at Emmanuel UB (Fort Wayne, Ind.), is in the Masters program. Read more.