Art was at the forefront during inaugural week activities on Tuesday and new Lubbock Christian University president, Tim Perrin, was presented with a cross similar to that of each president in LCU history.
The Diana Ling Center for Academic Achievement Art Galleries was the site of the event that not only featured works of art on display by the South Plains Woodturners, but also a special presentation to President Perrin by a former longtime LCU professor and family friend.
There are over 40 pieces on display at "360 Degrees: an Exhibition of Work by the South Plains Woodturners" on the Lubbock Christian University campus now through September 18th. The primary purposes of the group are consistent with the fundamental purposes of the American Association of Woodturners, "to provide information, education and organization to those interested in turning wood. Through combining resources, knowledge and experience of our members, SPW shall promote both the craft and the art of wood turning on the Texas South Plains."
The exhibition that is taking place on the LCU campus is due in large part to the work of Dr. Michelle Kraft, Professor of Art and Assistant Dean of the Hancock College of Liberal Arts and Education. Dr. Larry Rogers, former LCU professor and current member of the SPW organization, duly recognized her leadership and hard work.
After a time of viewing and a reception that allowed patrons to visit and take in the fabulous pieces in the exhibit, Dr. Kraft began a short program to help recognize the SPW group as well as introduce a special presentation to be made to Tim Perrin as the university's sixth president.
Dr. Kraft's opening remarks included the ideals that have been documented in a Christian academic journal called Image. The journal points to the principle of stewardship and in those types of discussions it is very seldom that mention or thought of "cultural stewardship" arises.
"Religion and art have always shared the capacity to help us to renew our awareness of the ultimate questions: who we are, where we have come from, and where we are going," Dr. Kraft read from Image.
Dr. Kraft went on to say, "Because the arts and humanities are the repositories of our society - its values and how it wants to remember itself; and because - as Christian artist Edward Knippers says, 'the impulse to give permanence to the fleeting, to document and give life to what has happened before is a quality shared by both art and faith, Christianity CANNOT abandon art to the realm of secularism. We in the church cannot forsake artistic endeavor, we cannot relinquish our seat at the table, and we cannot abdicate our responsibility for cultural stewardship to a world that is lost.' THIS is the unique role of Christian higher education in the fine arts - in preparing musicians, performers, artists and educators in the fine arts to be the cultural stewards."
With regard to the exhibition on display, Dr. Kraft introduced those members of the SPW group that were in attendance, saying " ... we are blessed to have their talents on display and we are thankful for their efforts that we can all enjoy."
She then introduced Dr. Larry Rogers, who is a LCU Professor Emeritus and was a longtime Professor and Department Chair of Kinesiology. Dr. Rogers attended LCC (Lubbock Christian College) when it was a two-year school, went on to receive his undergraduate degree from Abilene Christian University, his master's degree from Texas Tech and his PhD from Texas A&M University. Additionally, he has been involved with the South Plains Woodturners almost since its inception and he has served as president of the organization.
"This is a very special day for me because the entire Perrin family have been friends of mine for a long, long time," said Dr. Rogers in making the presentation to President Perrin. "I met Les and Elaine Perrin (Tim's parents) when I was a student at LCC and that friendship continues today even though both Les and Elaine have left us."
He pointed to many occasions when he would visit with both Les and Elaine Perrin and recalled a story that took place just before Tim Perrin was announced as the newest president of LCU.
"I had spent about four hours one Saturday helping Elaine with a table in her home that needed to be fixed," recalled Dr. Rogers with a chuckle. "We visited about her family - (about most of her children) - and what everyone was doing, but not one time in the conversation did Tim's name ever come up. Well, the next week in chapel came the announcement that 'Tim Perrin will be the next president of LCU' and I happened to be in chapel that day. As soon as chapel was dismissed I immediately went to see Elaine and asked her why she had not mentioned even a slight bit of this to me when we were visiting and she said 'they made me promise not to tell anyone.' That answer really didn't make me feel any better, though."
His artistic works with wood are constantly seen on the LCU campus, from the podium in chapel to the mace that will be in full view during the upcoming Investiture Convocation that takes place on Thursday. As he made the presentation of the cross to President Perrin, those in attendance could obviously see the love that is abundant between the Rogers and Perrin families.
One of the more interesting footnotes involved in this presentation comes when one realizes that the "L" in L. Tim Perrin's name is in honor of Larry Rogers. As members of both families were on hand to witness this momentous occasion and the presentation was consummated, the words read by Dr. Kraft could not have been more apropos.