Thursday, Sept. 6, will be a big day at Hardin-Simmons University as new students are officially welcomed at fall convocation in the morning and the university’s oldest living graduate is honored that night.


Michael Evans

Fall convocation will begin at 9 a.m. in Behrens Auditorium. Guest speaker will be Michael Evans, Sr., pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Chgurch in Mansfield and president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas. HSU has been associated with the BGCT since 1941.

Thursday evening, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Abilene Convention Center, Dr. Virginia Boyd Connally, a 1933 graduate of HSU, will be honored as the inaugural recipient of the Simmons Award, named for James B. Simmons. Connally, a graduate of the LSU School of Medicine, was Abilene’s first female physician, opening her office in September 1940.

The James B. Simmons dinner “Honors individuals who use their God-given talents and abilities to break down barriers in their respective fields and who demonstrate acts of determination or courage similar to Dr. James B. Simmons, one of our founders,” the announcement reads.

Simmons, an abolitionist, broker down racial barriers, even being threatened for preaching against slavery as pastor of First Baptist Church in Indianapolis. Connally broke down gender barriers, paving the way for other women to enter the field of medicine.

On Thursday morning, students, faculty, staff, and the community are invited to hear the new president of the BGCT speak at opening convocation. Evans has served as an administrator for the Tarrant County College District and has been the Martin Luther King Jr. dinner speaker three times for the city of Arlington. He also has served as a consultant on race relations for the church. He is a reserve chaplain in the U.S. Navy.

Evans was inducted to the city of Mansfield’s Wall of Honor in 2007. He has served as president of the board of trustees of the Mansfield ISD and as adjunct professor at Dallas Baptist University’s College of Christian Faith. HSU President Eric Bruntmyer praised Evans for his years of service.

“Dr. Evans is a great example of serving the church and the local community,” Bruntmyer said. “He exemplofies one of my favorite verses, Jeremiah 29:7, where we are called to pray for the peace and prosperity of our community. He should be a hero for all of us, and I want our students to know about his heart for service in the community and the church.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.