HBU's 20,000th Graduate

The News Magazine of HCU


Dr. Don Looser, who began his tenure at HBU in the mid-1960s, reflected on the milestone. “The great reward for any teacher is to watch one’s students soar. I knew the pioneers of that first graduating class. I well remember the 10,000th graduate and how at each commencement ceremony we announced the new cumulative number of graduates. Now, 50 years and 20,000 graduates later HBU today is the fulfillment of a dream the founders were convinced would become reality.”

Dr. Looser is author of An Act of Providence, the phenomenal story of Houston Baptist University.

The book is for sale and can be found on the HBU website: HC.edu/50yearsbook or
Amazon Books: HC.edu/buy50yearsbook

Houston Baptist University is at a defining moment in our unique history. By the grace of God, we have passed a notable and strategic milestone of 20,000 graduates.

Every organization makes a conscious decision whether it will rest on its laurels or make the arduous decisions, after careful and methodical research and prayer, if it will innovate and artistically grow.

HBU has decidedly made the decision to push forward. Our history proves our spiritual stability. We are committed to core Christian convictions in all the academic disciplines, which makes us unique and sorely needed in our culture of shifting morals and tantamount problems.

But, there is something more to the secret of our future success. God has positioned HBU in one of the great mega cities of the United States. Our faculty are distinguished as scholars as well as committed Christians. A diploma from HBU is much more than a signed certificate. Our Board of Trustees represent keen minds and consecrated, respected leaders.

HBU is now ready to embrace the digital technology to dramatically expand our reach, in time, even globally. We will continue to attract distinct academics who will attract students. In the long-respected entrepreneurial spirit of Houston, HBU will move forward and fulfill Dr. Sloan’s vision to be a truly comprehensive Christian university in one of America’s greatest cities.

While we look back with the deepest gratitude, we look forward and invite you to find your place in our quest to change the world one life at a time.

From a marsh-like campus of five buildings and a location considered distant from downtown Houston to a 100-acre campus in the heart of the fourth largest city with state-of-the-art facilities and a nationally renowned reputation, HBU reached a significant milestone during last month’s commencement – its 20,000th graduate.

While the first graduating class of 1967 might barely recognize the campus, the mission remains: provide a world-class academic experience with a Christian approach that “instills a passion for academic, spiritual and professional excellence.”

Nursing assistant Michelle Mathew may personify that mission. A May graduate, she believes God called her to attend HBU. “I was ecstatic that a school would unapologetically worship God and lift up His name in everything that it did. HBU is a community, and I feel I joined a family that I can depend on for years to come.”

Mathew also believes her education was second to none. “I chose HBU for its well-known and rigorous pre-health professions program, which would best prepare me spiritually and academically to become the kind of health professional I seek to be.” Mathew plans to continue her education to become a physician’s assistant.

Recent firsts

The evolution of that collegiate experience has resulted in a number of recent firsts. In 2016, HBU introduced its first doctoral program in Executive Educational Leadership, dedicated the Doris and Terry Looper Learning Commons, launched the Houston Theological Seminary, and the women’s soccer team won the Southland Conference tournament. Already this year, HBU earned a designation as a Military Friendly School, faculty member Lee Strobel’s book The Case for Christ was released as a motion picture, and the women’s golf team won the Southland Conference championship.

The evolution continues

The school is not planning to rest on its laurels. Dr. Jerry Johnston, vice president for innovation and strategic marketing, says the institution continues to innovate and artistically grow.

That innovation and focus is a key reason for HBU’s rise in stature and academic rigor over its half-century existence. The blessing of being in the fourth-largest city in the country – a rarity among Christian institutions of higher learning – allows for unique and noteworthy collaborations. Corporate and community leaders, world-renowned pastors, and civic officials aid HBU in its goal to provide a world-class education in a Christian setting.

HBU now is dramatically expanding its digital technology learning, which will expand its reach – even globally. The school recruited two individuals to develop the program, Dr. Steve Peterson and Dr. Jay Spencer, who helped build Liberty University’s program, which many consider the nation’s leading, Christian-based online educational program.