By Emily Rachelle Russell | Echo
Today at 10 a.m. in the Kesler Student Activities Center Field House, Paul Lowell Haines ('75), Ed.D., J.D., was officially inaugurated as the 31st president of Taylor University.
According to the official inauguration website, after his graduation from Taylor, Haines served as vice president for student development, dean of students, director of student programs and residence hall director for Samuel Morris Hall and Swallow Robin Hall. Now he has returned to serve again.
"Dr. Haines brings an amazing mix of skills and experiences to the Taylor presidency," President Emeritus Eugene Habecker ('68) said. "He couples these with his passion and love for Taylor and its people along with his dependence on the Lord's leading and guidance. There is no question that his presidency will be outstanding and marked with excellence."
Haines, who was on the original Presidential Search Committee, never intended to submit his name for the position. After suggestions from many friends, however, he and his wife Sherry felt God was calling them to the possibility. Haines believes the Lord used his previous experiences throughout his life and career to prepare him for this role.
The respect and love Taylor fosters in its community has deeply impacted Haines. He believes Taylor is a unique institution, and it holds a special place in his and Sherry's hearts. The relationships and traditions at this school stand apart from other schools' in depth and quality.
"I would not be a president at any other school," Haines said. "It's Taylor; that was the difference for me and Sherry . . . we love this place. (We) love the students, love the faculty, love the staff, the board of trustees - this is a remarkable institution, and I'm just privileged to be a part of it."
Joyce Wood, senior director of parent and community relations, is chair of the planning committee for the inauguration. According to Wood, highlights of the installation ceremony included musical performances, including one by Haines' personal friend Phil Madeira, and greetings from representatives of U.S. Congress and Christian university organizations. Former Taylor presidents Jay Kesler, David Gyertson and Eugene Habecker also spoke.
Though Haines is already president, according to Wood, the inauguration is a unique chance for the campus to celebrate and make history together. Professor of history Tom Jones agrees.
"The inauguration of a president is an opportunity for the university community . . . to all come together and celebrate," Jones said. "It's this opportunity to celebrate in the moment the best of what the university has historically represented, while you're also looking at what that university will become under the leadership of the new president."
The installation ceremony will be followed this afternoon by several events, including an academic colloquium and inaugural reception. Students are encouraged to attend these from 1:30-4:30 p.m. in Rediger Chapel and 4-5:30 p.m. in the LaRita Boren Campus Center, respectively.
Hosted by Jones and moderated by Shirley Hoogstra, president of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, the colloquium will consist of three presentations with responses and discussion. Speakers include George Fox University's Lisa Graham McMinn, writer-in-residence; Taylor's Professor of English Nancy C. Dayton; Southern Methodist University's Professor of Ethics D. Stephen Long; Taylor's Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies May Young; Hope College's Professor of Reformed Theology Steven Bouma-Prediger and Taylor's Professor of Biology Jan Reber. Presentations will focus on right relationships with God, one another and the natural world.
According to Jones, the goal of the colloquium is to bring the university community and guest speakers together in respectful conversation about the inaugural theme, "No Higher Standard."
"I know some students will look at that and just go, 'Yawn, academic colloquium, that sounds terrible,'" Wood said. "Actually, (Professor Todd Ream) has put together what we would call an all-star cast of academicians from around the country . . . (I)t actually is the kind of thing that would be of interest to most anyone in any major."
The day of celebration will end tonight with an inaugural dinner, a celebratory concert in Rediger Chapel and a private reception in the Muselman House. However, the art exhibits in Metcalf and the Dining Commons will remain through tomorrow.
As Haines takes this new step in his life and his role at Taylor, the campus sends him and his wife best wishes.
"We're all excited to officially welcome Dr. Haines in his role as the president," Jones said. "Those of us who have worked with him as a member of the board of trustees, and some of us who worked with him when he was a student at Taylor are all excited and hopeful as he officially begins his leadership role."