April 15, 2016 – Last night over 545 alumni and friends of Bryan College attended the ninth annual Bryan Opportunity Program Dinner at the Chattanooga Convention Center. This event was hosted by the college and Host Committee Co-Chairs Leighton and Jan LeBoeuf, to raise funds for scholarships for low-income Tennessee students.
Singer, storyteller, humorist, author, and songwriter Mark Lowry and pianist Stan Whitmire were the featured guests at the event, which proved to be the single best-attended Opportunity Program event since the program began.
Lowry regaled attendees with witty stories from his childhood and heartfelt songs, including the celebrated Christmas classic he co-wrote with Buddy Greene, “Mary, Did You Know?” He spoke on God’s love for and delight in His children and encouraged his audience to remember the importance of story. “Your life is a story, and you have a lot of chapters,” Lowry said, noting that the best way to fill those chapters is to trust the Lord and embrace change.
Also speaking at the program was student Noah Lee, a recipient of the Bryan Opportunity Program’s funds. Lee – a junior integrated marketing communications major, athlete, musician, and member of the Worldview Initiative – shared the story of the Lord’s clear guidance in his coming to Bryan and the influence of the program on his life.
“The Bryan Opportunity Program gave me the chance to attend a school that is biblical and Christ-centered and focused on shaping students to make a difference in the world around them,” Lee said. “God has used the professors and the community at Bryan to love me and change my heart as I continue to study at this institution and grow. What I want for future students is that they would have the exact same opportunities I did, regardless of their background and financial circumstances.”
Since the program’s inception in 2008, a total of over $1,770,000 has been raised to make a Bryan education a possibility for 222 students whose total annual family income is less than $35,000. The inspiring generosity of the donors at the dinner, who raised an estimated $247,000, will make a Christ-centered college experience possible for students in the 2016-2017 academic year.
Director of Advancement Janice Pendergrass, who coordinates all Opportunity Program dinners, remarked, “I’ve read somewhere that there are few activities which are immensely valuable. Laughter and singing are two of those, and we did both last night. It was refreshing and energizing to sit in a room with over 500 people laughing and enjoying the evening while gathered together for such a serious and worthy cause.”
Written by Chloe Ann Townsend ’13, assistant director of public information, 423.775.7206; firstname.lastname@example.org.