Admissions Announces Winner of Great Commoner Essay Competition

December 14, 2017 – Bryan College’s admissions department has officially announced the winner of the Great Commoner Essay Competition: Laurel McLaughlin.

The Great Commoner Essay Competition is held as part of the invitation-only Bryan College Scholarship Weekend. Prospective students from all over the country convene on Bryan’s Dayton campus to see the college for themselves and to compete for valuable scholarship opportunities. One of these opportunities comes through an essay that interested students are required to write on campus during the weekend. According to the admissions webpage, “Students participating in this competition will receive an essay prompt developed by Bryan College faculty and have two hours to develop and complete their essay response.” The essay topic is kept secret until writing time comes, making this a true test of skill and clear thinking.

And the prize? A full-tuition scholarship to Bryan College.

This year’s winner is Laurel McLaughlin of Little Rock, Ark.. Laurel says that after being notified, her first reaction was disbelief. “I am certainly honored to have been chosen as the winner of this contest,” Laurel reflects. She explains, “I did not expect to win. Once past the initial shock, I just felt extremely grateful for such a generous award from Bryan, for the years of training in writing from my wonderful teachers, and most of all for God’s gracious providence in giving me this amazing opportunity.”

Although Laurel has not yet decided on a major, she is considering English or liberal arts as her field of study when she attends Bryan. She is enthusiastic about studying her interests – such as history, music, and English – in greater depth than she was able to during high school. She says, “I look forward to growing spiritually alongside fellow believers, growing in maturity by taking on new responsibilities, making new friends, and (of course) learning!”

Laurel’s hobbies include reading, knitting, creating art, and playing video games; one of her very favorite pastimes is music – listening, composing, singing, and developing her piano and cello performance skills.

“Calling the essay winner has become a highlight of my year!” exclaimed Admissions Director Joshua Hood. “Laurel is a very deserving winner and will no doubt succeed in every academic endeavor. We are excited to welcome her as a Bryan Lion in 2018!”

Written by Chloe Ann Townsend ’13, advancement writer and editor.

Dayton Rotary Club Awards Scholarships During Annual Luncheon

December 5, 2017 – On Friday, Dec. 1, the Rotary Club of Dayton awarded scholarships to current Bryan College freshmen Elizabeth Deardurff and Kristopher Lafferty at the annual Rotary luncheon on Bryan’s campus.

The Rotary Scholarship has been in place at Bryan for over 50 years, a span of time Vice President of Advancement Chuck Baker called “extremely remarkable” in his statements at the luncheon. He said, “On behalf of Dr. Livesay and all of us here at Bryan College, I want to express our appreciation for this scholarship gift: Thank you, Dayton Rotary Club, for your generosity!”

After his remarks Baker introduced the two scholarship recipients to the Rotary Club. Elizabeth Deardurff stepped up to the podium first. A freshman from Spring City, Tenn., Elizabeth has come to Bryan as a biology major. Watching her mother in her career as a nurse has fueled the same passion in this young student. She intends to go into nursing and specialize in oncology, especially pediatric oncology. She told the Rotarians, “I want to thank you all so much for this scholarship. It means a lot to me and my mom!”

Kristopher Lafferty also hails from Spring City, although he and his family are originally from Minnesota. He echoed Deardurff’s gratitude in his own statement: “I would like to say what an honor it is to be chosen as the male recipient for this scholarship. It’s really going to help with paying for books, tuition, and all the bills I’m going to have to pay. I came to Bryan to get my master’s in biblical studies, and after four years here, I’m going to St. Louis, Mo., to attend Concordia Seminary, where I’ll be for another four years to become a pastor.”

Lafferty commented on how, even though he originally chose Bryan in part because of the short distance to his family, the college’s faculty and staff have become like a second family. “I love how – especially in a secular world – Bryan remains faithful to its mission with how we’re supposed to live our lives through Christ each and every day,” he said. “I’d like to thank the members of the Rotary Club of Dayton for this honor. May God bless each and every one of you.”

Written by Chloe Ann Townsend ’13, advancement writer and editor.