The vision we have for our university begins with a story. It is about something that happened more than a hundred years ago.
In the autumn of 1900, there was a man who lived in a thriving city on the Texas shore. People came from far across the ocean to visit this growing city, as it was a rising center for commerce, innovation, and trade.
One day, with no warning – for these were the days before forecasts and radar – the winds became a wild thing, and the sea began to rise. A great storm was coming, and the people were not prepared.
The man and many of his fellow citizens took shelter at the courthouse where his father was a judge, behind the thick granite columns that held up the house of law, and prayed for the best. The rain fell, the flood waters rose, and the wind blew and slammed against the building. But the pillars held.
Today, you can see ten of those same granite columns at the center of the HBU campus, a gift from the survivor’s son. Given in the fall of 1969 at the height of the Cold War and cultural upheaval in the United States, they are more than merely relics of the past. They are a constant reminder that our ability to weather fierce storms depends upon solid foundations, that people of wisdom build their houses upon solid foundations.
Little has changed since Christ first taught His parables about the wise man who built his house on the rock and the foolish man who built his house on the sand (Matthew 7:24-27). These are difficult and challenging times, a postmodern age when many build their lives on fleeting things and the latest fads. They do not build their lives on what lasts. They do not build their lives on the truth.
A great university does not leave students to be swept to and fro by the changing winds of the world. It does not merely place tools in the hands of the next generation and then push them out only to serve the needs of the day. It equips them with something more meaningful. It gives them a place to stand when the great storms come. It guides them past the evanescent, toward the everlasting.