For one night only, Lipscomb stood center stage at one of the nation’s premiere venues for the “Lipscomb: On a New Stage” program.
“Lipscomb: On a New Stage” brought hundreds from the Lipscomb community together Thursday night to the historic Ryman Auditorium to enjoy a night of tunes, tributes and takes on the school’s past, present and future.
University president Randy Lowry gave the evening’s keynote address. He shared a few important moves that will have Lipscomb grow exponentially from now to 2020.
To Lowry, holding such an event at the Ryman meant more than the other option.
“You know, the alternative to this was a chicken dinner at some restaurant,” Lowry said.
“Where we would have sat there for 45 minutes and eaten and had a very, very short program, and as we were thinking about the day, we said, ‘Let’s do something more interesting. How about the Ryman? How about coming down here and celebrating? How about being a community in a different place to think about a different future?’”
Lowry touched on a variety of advancements for the university in his address, including the addition of the new McFarland lab, new residential space, the new Civil Engineering building, the new Performing Arts Center, a new College of Education building, the new School of Public Policy and Civic Leadership, the school’s new Mobile Medical Units (deploying in 2015) and other updates.
For Lipscomb Academy, a new middle school, the new McCadams field house at the Reece Smith Athletic Complex and the possibility for LA students to earn a year’s worth of college credits while still in high school all are on the horizon.
“Our board has already looked at those,” Lowry said. “Our board has already blessed our going forward. Our campus will be developed and changed. We commit to do that for our students.”
He also shed light on various ways the school will make an impact in the community abroad, whether that be through education, health and other forms of service.
Lowry says the school’s future will depend on its understanding of its purpose.
“We want to be a university that’s student-centered,” Lowry said. “We want to be a university that’s community-engaged. We want to be a university that’s service-oriented. And, we want to be a university that is faith-focused.
“See, Lipscomb understands what grounds us, and we believe we then know what will grow us.”
Actor/musician Charles Esten, noted for his role as Deacon Claybourne on Nashville, served as the evening’s master of ceremonies and performed a few songs.
Another Nashville star, Clare Bowen, joined in midway through the show, performing the song “Black Roses” from the show among others.
Various members of the Lipscomb and Nashville community turned out to show their support for the university.
Mayor Karl Dean said he thought Lipscomb picked an apt place to hold such an event.
“And what an appropriate place to share Lipscomb’s progress and vision for the future here on Nashville’s premiere stage,” Dean said. “I’m excited to be a part of that progress because Lipscomb University and the city of Nashville are both on the move.”
Dean says that Lipscomb has been a huge part of helping his administration’s work to make Nashville a better place.
“Lipscomb just gets it,” Dean said. “It not only serves the community, but it honors those who serve.
“Lipscomb is a big part of the reason why I can say with total confidence that Nashville’s best days are still ahead of it and this city will be a better place five years, 10 years, 20 years from now, and we will do it together.”
Senator Bob Corker also stopped by, thanking Lipscomb for its impact on the world, especially through its veterans’ program.
“I want to thank you, and I want to thank the Lipscomb community for what they have done to support our veterans through the Yellow Ribbon program,” Corker said. “You know, a lot of people talk about wanting to ensure that we support our veterans who risk their lives and are away from their families on our behalf, but this university is actually doing it, and I am so proud of you, so proud of them.”
Other individuals who spoke include Caleb Joseph, a former Bison and current Baltimore Orioles catcher, the Honorable Beth Harwell, the House Speaker for the Tennessee General Assembly and a Lipscomb graduate, Ben Maenza, a veteran student and decorated Marine, Amanda Martin, a Lipscomb grad and a 2016 Tennessee Governor’s Management Fellow, Dr. Klarissa Hardy, an Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences and David Scobey, Lipscomb’s Chairman of the Board of Trustees.
From the community, Renata Soto, Executive Director of Conexion Americas, Charles F. Strobel, Founding Director of Room in the Inn, James Harbison, Executive Director of Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency and Ralph Schultz, President and CEO of Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce all shared their thoughts on Lipscomb’s advancements. Country music singer Charlie Daniels, who hosts a yearly concert on campus for the Yellow Ribbon Program, appeared via video.
Outside of the Nashville performers, Lipscomb professor Lee Camp and the Most Outstanding Horeb Mountain Boys of TOKENS provided entertainment along with the Lipscomb University and Lipscomb Academy choruses.