Among the many additions to Lipscomb this fall will be the Lanier Center for Archaeology.
“We’re very excited about it, and I think we will instantly become one of the most nationally recognized archaeology programs in evangelical Christianity,” President Randy Lowry told Lumination Network.
Two renowned archaeology scholars, Dr. Steven Ortiz and Dr. Tom Davis, have helped create the new Lanier Center, at the same time bringing extensive resources and artifacts. Both are joining Lipscomb faculty in August after leaving Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.
“They will be bringing with them a 6,000-volume library, which will be a wonderful resource to have at our disposal, and will also be bringing 70 or 80 cases of archeological artifacts, so we can display those in some appropriate way as the year goes on,” Lowry said.
The Lanier Center for Archaeology has plans to offer a Ph.D. in archaeology of the Ancient Near Middle East and a master’s in Biblical Studies beginning in January. The approval for the new M.A. and Ph.D. programs is still pending from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SASCOC).
“Right now, it will start as these two major programs, but as we start to collaborate and learn of the richness that’s here at Lipscomb, we will be able to project future collaborations with other programs that are already here,” Ortiz said.
“Our hope is that this will expand into the undergraduate level, perhaps starting with a minor in Biblical Archaeology, and then hopefully expand to a major, as Lipscomb expands its offerings and reach in that way,” Davis said.
Students also will be able to engage in field research projects, which are currently active in Egypt, Cyprus and Israel.
“You don’t have to be an archaeology student to go on a dig,” Ortiz said. “We’re projecting that our first two available projects to students will be the Kourion Urban Space project in Cyprus, led by Dr. Davis, and one of our projects in Israel, either the Tel Gezer excavation and publication project or the Tel Burna excavation project.”
“These research programs will most likely happen in the summer,” said Davis. “And it will be a real opportunity for students who want to have an overseas experience dig at an actual archaeological site, tour the country and participate in archaeological research.”
The Lanier Center for Archaeology also is made possible through the generosity of Becky and Mark Lanier. Mark Lanier is a member of the Lipscomb Board of Trustees, a 1981 Lipscomb graduate and avid supporter of biblical archaeology, according to the university.
”We are very grateful to Mark and his wife, Becky, because they are the ones who stepped forward and helped to make this opportunity possible,” Lowry said.
Lipscomb University will be one of only two evangelical institutions with a program like this in the United States. It will be housed in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
“I’m excited for the students at Lipscomb,” Ortiz said, “because this is a Christian university, with plenty of students interested in their Christian faith, the Bible and academics, which makes the perfect type of student for our programs and field research.”
*Additional reporting done by McKenzi Harris*