Dr. Bobby Hall opens 115th year with reminder, ‘We are made for more’

PLAINVIEW – Welcoming students for Wayland Baptist University’s 115th year, Dr. Bobby Hall, President, told students, faculty, and staff, “We are made for more.”

Emphasizing the semester chapel theme, Hall’s comments came Wednesday morning during the university’s annual Convocation Chapel.

Saying he was thrilled to see the gathering in Harral Memorial Auditorium on the Plainview campus, the university president said, “It makes my heart swell to see you all and to experience your energy and enthusiasm. I feel truly honored to stand before you as we embark on yet another promising academic year at Wayland Baptist University.”

Hall based his remarks on what he called “the powerful Scripture” found in 2 Corinthians 4:7-10. “It is through this theme that we will be exploring our potential and our resilience — the treasure God has stored in us,” he said.

Hall explained that the passage “gives us an idea of who we truly are, and more importantly, what we are inherently capable of.” He said “jars of clay” refers to “our physical selves, which might be fragile or easily broken like clay jars. We human beings break easily.” Yet, he added, “Within us – within these clay jars – resides a divine treasure, making us capable, not merely of ordinary deeds, but of extraordinary deeds if we have the courage and conviction to harness this all-surpassing power. Scripture clearly implies that we are made for more.”

The treasure represents God-given talents, gifts, skills, and the possibility of self-growth, Hall said. “But isn’t it a captivating paradox that such overwhelming power is packaged within our frail selves — the jars of clay.”

“This isn’t just any old run-of-the-mill power,” the president said. “This is all-surpassing power given by God, not from man, and it is through our striving for more, reaching out for answers and knowledge, that we reiterate beautifully that we are instruments of God’s purpose and grace. It brings Him joy when we pursue it.”

Asking those in attendance to visualize themselves as a jar filled to the brim with potential, Hall said, “Every time you challenge yourself, or learn something new, to master new knowledge or skills, you add treasures to your jar. It’s a wonderful thing. Your professors and coaches and staff members at Wayland provide a unique arena to do that. You are a canvas to be painted on, awaiting your strokes of character, curiosity, and innovation.”

Acknowledging that life doesn’t always paint a perfect picture, he said, “Our pursuits may often lead us through paths of adversity. We may find ourselves hard pressed on every side. It is during such times that we must remember that being hard-pressed does not mean being crushed.”

“Even pressure, when viewed to the right lens, can take on a transformative quality,” Hall said. “Extreme pressure turns carbon into diamonds. Exams, assignments, professional setbacks, or personal struggles, do the same to us. They press upon us hard, but they do not define us or defeat us. Our resilience stems from God’s power and spirit within us, a power that always yearns for more, a power that stands uncrushed.”

There will be times of feeling perplexed, he said.

“University life, I promise you, will serve up a generous share of conundrums as we navigate through various disciplines of knowledge and experience. It can be confusing,” the president said. “But this state of confusion should not bring despair. It is rather in invitation — a call for intellectual adventure because it is in these moments of confusion that we should be propelled forward to learn. Such moments should compel us to venture into the unknown and unleash the infinite potential of our minds.”

Hall described time at a university like a maze “moving forward and sometimes back, but never losing hope. The beauty lies in the sense of achievement once we have found our way.”

“Remember that each of us is walking a unique path, yet we are all interconnected with shared hopes and aspirations,” he said. “I hope that when one of us stumbles, we reach out, reminding ourselves we are never alone.”

Saying the academic year will be “a symphony of challenges and accomplishment,” Hall told those gathered that “the pen to write your narrative is in your hands.”

“We are made for more — more discovery, more resilience, more compassion, more growth, more faith, or knowledge,” he said. “You carry God’s divine imprint, the treasure within your jars of clay. Your capabilities are boundless; your potential, limitless.”

“Filled with these treasures, let us embark on this journey, resilient as diamonds, curious as maze explorers, united as a supportive, Christian community, and transformative as the phoenix,” Hall said. “We are hard pressed, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. As we embark on this new academic year, let us remind ourselves of this unquestionable truth. We are made for more. Let it be our mantra, our guiding light, as we strive for excellence in all we do, reminding, and reassuring each other of our strength, our potential, and the divine treasure we embody.”

The faculty processional was led by Dr. Robert Moore, Chief Marshal. Dr. Claude Lusk, Senior Vice President of Operations and Student Life, welcomed those gathered in Harral Memorial Auditorium, and the invocation was given by Dr. Cindy McClenagan, Vice President for Academic Affairs. The pledge to the American flag was led by Dr. David Bishop, Vice President of External Campuses, and the pledge to the Christian flag was led by Lezlie Hukill, Chief Financial Officer.

Dr. Jay Givens, Professor of Theological Studies, and President of the Faculty Senate, read 2 Corinthians 4:7-10 from the Bible of Dr. J.H. Wayland, who founded the university. Dr. Scott Strovas, Professor of Musicology, provided a musical selection on trumpet, accompanied by Dr. Richard Fountain, Dean of the School of Creative Arts and Professor of Piano. Dr. Daniel Brown, Vice President of Enrollment Management, gave the benediction.

Other officiants included Dr. Maria O’Connell, Professor of English, Alternate Marshal; Dr. Kevin Sweeney, Professor of Geography and History, First Assistant Marshal; and Dr. Randy Rogers, Second Assistant Marshal.