By Dr. Diane Williams
HBU has been an important part of my life for nearly three decades. My relationship with the University is an integral part of God’s purpose for my life and has filled me with countless moments of impact and inspiration. HBU has not only enlightened my mind but ignited my heart. It is so much more than a university. It’s an institution at the intersection of learning and faith. As the brand depicts, HBU truly is “A Higher Education.”
As our President, Dr. Robert Sloan so aptly stated, “The academic work of a Christian university embodies a role that is vital and necessary for our culture today.”¹ While secular universities might define academic excellence solely on the basis of rankings and networking, HBU responds to a higher calling. Our students are part of a faith-based community bound together by diversity, discipleship and dedication. We define academic excellence by the integration of education with Christianity through the lens of a global economy. Our campus is at the epicenter of one of the most dynamic cities in the world driven by international prominence in energy, healthcare, supply chain and space travel. HBU is well postured to benefit from these economic growth engines while infusing a Christian world perspective that is a differentiator in the global marketplace.
In John 13:34-35 (NIV) Jesus says “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.” Diversity is at the heart of HBU, and we truly love one another. We are an intimate learning environment in the heart of one of the most diverse cities in the country. Student life at HBU is about much more than books, tests and lectures. It is about stepping into a community where each person is recognized as a distinct individual. We not only develop each student academically but spiritually, physically and relationally, immersing them in a diverse, yet inclusive culture. I’m constantly amazed at the breadth and depth of our student body and the faculty that challenges them on a daily basis.
HBU has a rich Christian heritage. In Matthew 28:18- 20 (NIV) Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” HBU is a wonderful place to practice this Great Commission. It’s so refreshing and inspiring to see a community living through faith. I’m impressed by the conversations on campus, the sharing of faith and the dedication to manifesting our Christian heritage. You can feel it in the courtyards and the classrooms not just in the chapel. It’s an energy that elevates the HBU academic experience to a higher calling.
Consider Philippians 4:8-9 (NIV) “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” True, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable – all describe HBU. What our students are learning, they put into practice with a heart for discipleship. As Pillar Six of “The Ten Pillars 2030” states “all forms of instruction are best done not only by reading and lecturing but by a kind of practicing discipleship.” At HBU, academic excellence is empowered by the discipleship of our students and faculty. We use our collective and individual voices to proclaim the Good News, serving as disciples throughout the community.
Finally, HBU is a great place for giving. In Matthew, 6:20-21 (NIV) scripture states, “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” We are dedicated to generously giving of our time, talent and treasure, sustaining our academic excellence through the recruiting and retention of the highest caliber students, faculty and staff. We are equally invested in advancing higher education through academic innovation and advanced technology. HBU is blessed by generous donors who not only believe in our vision and mission but invest in academic excellence at all levels.
Since 1969, HBU has been a beacon for academic excellence with a Christian Worldview. We’ve made an indelible mark on the lives of so many students, faculty, staff and friends. Our standard of excellence continues to elevate as we activate our “Ten Pillars 2030” and continuously strive to fulfill our brand promise of “A Higher Education.” I’m truly blessed to be an alumna and to share in our Husky pride.
¹Article for “The Pillars” (Winter 2021-22) by Dr. Robert Sloan, January 12, 2022.
About Dr. Diane Williams
Dr. Diane Williams ’93 is a proud alumna of HBU. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1993. She has served as an HBU Board of Trustee since 1997 and was appointed Board Chair in 2005, the first woman to hold the post. She was chair of the Presidential Search Committee which brought Dr. Robert Sloan Jr. to HBU as the University’s third president. In 2006, she received an honorary doctorate, Doctor of Humane Letters, from HBU and is a member of the Guild. She and her husband, Stanley, have left a lasting imprint on the University. The couple played key roles in fundraising and construction of the Morris Cultural Arts Center and Belin Chapel and funded the adjacent, Williams Fountain, which serves as a place of rest and spiritual reflection. As members of the HBU Football Founders Touchdown Club, they are among the benefactors whose generosity helped establish intercollegiate football at HBU. The couple also helped the University adopt its current mascot, Kiza, and continue to support the live mascot program. They also established an endowed academic scholarship at HBU to honor their children and extended family and donated two rare Chinese bibles to HBU’s Dunham Bible Museum.