Looking back, looking forward: BJU celebrates past, future

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Looking back, looking forward: BJU celebrates past, future

Dr. Ed Panosian, 1952 class president, unearths his class’s time capsule (left) and presents it to Bruce McAllister, president of the Class of 1977 (right). Photos: Archives

Bob Jones University has grown and developed in numerous ways over the past 50 years and has worked to preserve some of its ever-changing heritage in a variety of ways, including time capsules. Keeping with this spirit, the members of the Class of 1965 will get to relive some of their past heritage next week when they revisit campus for their 50th class reunion.

Campus Development Since 1965

The year 1965 included many changes to the campus in order to accommodate the growing student body. This year marked the construction of the Dixon-McKenzie Dining Common, whose 3,500-person capacity made it the largest dining hall in the state.

On Thanksgiving Day of 1965, the building that housed the old dining common was transformed into the Museum & Gallery, originally called the University Art Gallery and Biblical Museum.

In addition to these changes, a new wing was added to the Administration Building, 16 new faculty homes were built on campus, and BJU became the first educational institution in the country to install the Electric Switching System (ESS), which was the most modern phone system at the time.

Class of 1965 Reunion

Despite how the campus changed in that year, the graduating Class of 1965 had no way of predicting how much the campus would change to reach its present state.

The members of the Class of 1965 will get the chance to fully appreciate present-day BJU during their 50-year reunion March 26-27. The reunion will include fellowship, a banquet in their honor, and a class photo in front of the dining common that the class first enjoyed during their senior year of college.

Future Campus Development

Just as the class of 1965 had no way of predicting how the University would develop through the following 50 years, current BJU seniors find predicting what BJU will be like in 2065 equally challenging.

“I think technology will be more advanced, and the rules will be more relaxed,” SaraRose Lefler, a senior science education major, said.

Noah Dargy, a senior engineering major, thinks that in 50 years the philosophy of BJU will be similar to now, but will be implemented in different ways. “I see the school making positive changes that focus more on relationships and less on rule enforcement,” Dargy said. Regardless of potential changes, Dargy believes the University will maintain its record of academic excellence.

Time Capsules

One way changes at BJU have been tracked and treasured throughout the University’s history is by time capsules. In celebration of BJU’s 25th anniversary, the Class of 1952 buried a time capsule outside War Memorial Chapel. This capsule was then dug up and opened by the class of 1977 in celebration of BJU’s 50th anniversary that year.

The class of 1977 then buried another time capsule in the garden area in front of the Administration Building.

Twenty-five years later, on an evening during Bible Conference of 2002, the class of 2002 opened that time capsule, and found among its contents a sermon from Dr. Bob Jones Jr., a printout from an old-time computer and an old-fashioned record of BJU music.

Following tradition, the class of 2002 buried its time capsule in the same spot in front of the Administration Building. The contents will remain a secret until the capsule is opened in 2027, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of BJU.

When asked what she would bury if the class of 2015 buried a time capsule, Lefler suggested items that are memorable to the University at its current stage. “Definitely something to do with the Bruins,” Lefler suggested. Lefler also said she would bury the photo that she and her friends took with the bear rug in Dr. Bob Jones III’s office during this year’s Instameet contest.

Dargy said he would bury a letter to himself detailing his current struggles and future goals.

“I think it’s always good to see where you have come from and how you have changed,” Dargy said.