Date: June 6, 2004
From: Dr. David Heflin, Jacksonville College

Jacksonville College Celebrates 105 Years at Homecoming

For 105 years, Jacksonville College has been making a difference in students' lives by offering a strong Christian education and a caring, Christ-centered learning environment. Could there be a better way to celebrate its 105th anniversary than through Homecoming 2004? This year's Homecoming was clearly a reflection of the Jaguar pride felt by students both past and present who have had the honor of calling JBC "home." Thanks to the organizational skills of Harold Small, President of the Jacksonville College Ex-Student and Alumni Association, Homecoming 2004 was a great

In anticipation of Homecoming weekend, JBC celebrated its traditional Sprit Week, January 26-30. The week's festivities included the traditional Homecoming bonfire and pep rally.

Friday night, January 30, at 7:00 p.m., the Ex-Student and Alumni Association sponsored a reception for students from the past and present, as well as prospective students, at the Norman Activity Center in Jacksonville.  Guests enjoyed food, door prizes, pictures from the past, and entertainment provided by JBC quartets and trios from the early fifties to the year 2003. Over 250 guests enjoyed reliving old memories and creating new ones throughout the evening. "The attendance was more than we had anticipated, and I have only heard favorable comments from those who attended," said
Eddie Marsh, Master of Ceremonies for the evening and pastor of First Baptist Church New Summerfield. Several alumni who became BMA foreign missionaries attended the reception, as did 87 year old Gilford Vaughn, who began attending JBC in 1937. Bro. Vaughn is also the oldest active pastor in the BMA of Texas.

On Saturday, January 31, JBC hosted a number of Homecoming events, as well as the traditional campus visit day, now called Jaguar Day. Prospective students, parents, alumni, and friends were invited to participate in the day's festivities. Johnnie Ross, a 1974 alumna of JBC and Director of Admissions at the college, described the day as "a wonderful opportunity for past, present, and possible future JBC students to meet in one place."

The scheduled activities for the day began with the breakfast for Purple and Gold Club members at 8:30 a.m. More attended the breakfast this year than in any previous year since the group was organized.

At 10:00 a.m., the General Homecoming Assembly began in Buckner Chapel. The balcony had to be used to accommodate the crowd. The Jacksonville College Music Department presented a program with the Wind Ensemble, Vocal Ensembles, and Choir. Dr Edwin Crank, President of the college, welcomed guests and shared several exciting announcements, including the news that the money has been raised to buy more than seven acres of land near the
Curtis Carroll Field House/Gym. Under Dr. Crank's administration, Jacksonville College has been blessed with some very significant additions and improvements to the campus. This year also marks his 50th year in the ministry.

Harold Small led the alumni business meeting, which held some surprises.  When Bro. Small challenged the ex-students, alumni, and friends to help fund a JBC lighted billboard north of Jacksonville, enough people stood to offer $100 each to raise the $3,000 needed to create a billboard and display it for a year. Special Homecoming Awards of Merit were then presented to two special individuals, J.D. Hudson and D.C. Jensen. Both men are BMA pastors who attended the college in the fifties. Coming Home Royalty was presented to a surprised Harold Small, who served on the faculty of JBC for 33 years as Chair of the English Department. This year Bro. Small also celebrates 35 years as pastor of Mt. Selman Baptist Church.

The Homecoming Assembly closed with Handel's "Hallelujah" chorus. As the music began, all in attendance rose in an attitude of reverence and praise, and the majestic sound of current and former students singing to God with grateful hearts filled the room.

After the Homecoming Assembly, friends and families had another opportunity to visit with each other until noon. Many were also excited to visit the newest building on campus, the Norman Library. Over 100 ex-students enjoyed exploring the new facility. At noon, the Decade Reunions were scheduled at various locations for lunch and more fellowship. The reunions were well organized, and overall attendance was high. The number of recent graduates in attendance also increased significantly.

At 2:00, Homecoming visitors assembled in the Curtis Carroll Field House/Gym for the early and well attended afternoon basketball games against Lon Morris College. Current JBC student, Zach Magnuson, played a stirring rendition of our national anthem on the saxophone. During half-time at the men's game, members of the Homecoming Court were presented in their formal long dresses and escorted by a parent. The highlight of the afternoon was the coronation of Cassie Allen of Waxahachie, Texas as Homecoming Queen for 2004.

For more information about Jacksonville College, please contact Admissions at:

(903) 586-2518 or (800) 256-8522

Jacksonville College

105 B. J. Albritton Dr.

Jacksonville, TX 75766