BCF celebrates 75 years

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With Hurricane Michael barreling toward the Florida panhandle, expected to make landfall as a major Category 3 hurricane, like others in the area the leaders at Baptist College of Florida in Graceville are preparing for the worst and praying for the best. Faculty, staff and students have all turned their attention to storm preparations and safety plans, a far cry from the 75th Anniversary celebrations that they have all been enjoying.

For 75 years our Baptist College of Florida has been training leaders to “change the world through the unchanging Wordä.” Anniversary celebrations have been taking place as BCF faculty, staff, students, trustees and others have gathered to rejoice over the school’s rich history and pray excitedly for the future.

Tom Kinchen, president of BCF, highlighted some of the school’s accomplishments recently.

  • The new dual enrollment program allows students who are juniors and seniors in private schools and homeschool groups to get a jump on their college education.
  • Blue Springs had a successful summer, with 200 high school students and five athletic coaches making professions of faith in Christ. For the first time since becoming a part of BCF, the conference center turned a small profit.
  • The new Kinchen Center for Education hosted its first big meeting since being dedicated last Spring.
  • For the first time ever, BCF has an on-campus Baptist Campus Minister (BCM), Dr. Lance Beauchamp.
  • BCF has added its first completely remote professor, Dr. Todd Hardin, who began teaching a variety of psychology and counseling courses this fall.
  • The Board of Trustees approved two new degree programs, a Bachelor of Arts in Student Ministry and a Master of Arts in Counseling.

One of the things Kinchen is most excited about is the new 75th Anniversary Scholarship fund, with all funds going straight to help students directly.

“We needed to do something that said how grateful we are for the life of the college but also the students who make the college what it is,” Kinchen said.

A target amount of $75,000 was set to pay tribute to the lifespan of the college, but when Kinchen unveiled the amount of money that had been raised at the 75th Anniversary banquet on September 13, 2018, he let the crowd know there was good news and bad news. The bad news was “we didn’t hit the $75,000.00 mark.”  The good news was “we blew past the goal and have raised $138,210.00 at this time.”

BCF President Thomas A. Kinchen and First Lady Ruth Ann cut the first piece of the cake during the official 75th Anniversary celebration.

“We’re celebrating our Lord’s blessing – that’s what we’re here for,” Kinchen said. “I look at our current students and the crazy world they’re going out into and every chance I can get to encourage them, I take it. We’re not doing this by ourselves – companionship and family make so much difference.”

Florida Baptists have a college and I want them to feel good about what the Lord’s doing here,” Kinchen said.

Once the storm has safely passed the BCF family will be able to resume the anniversary festivities. In the meantime, they have turned their attention toward Michael. Kinchen released this message today to the BCF Board of Trustees:

“Good Morning. At this point we are straight in the path of Hurricane Michael. More importantly we are right in the center of our Lord’s care. We are making all preparations and closing at midday today. We will reopen on Thursday if possible. Thanks to you folks for approving the storm shelters for the campus we have a secure place for all of our folks. Pray for us. I know that we will be fine after the storm. Also, remember all of our other folks who are in the path, especially those on the coast.”

If you’d like to donate to the 75th Anniversary Scholarship Fund, you can send your contribution to Baptist College of Florida, 5400 College Drive, Graceville, Florida, Attention: Office of the President.

By Nicole Kalil, Florida Baptist Convention, October 9, 2018

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