Alum impacts current students
February 01, 2010

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Worry affects all of us, especially college students; but meditating on Scripture can provide a sure antidote, said a Bryan alumnus who shared his personal story during the January 27 chapel program.
Bob Pettus talks to students about how to be a positive
influence when working in the business world.

Robert Pettus, retired executive vice president of Coca-Cola Consolidated in Charlotte, N.C., told how he experienced firsthand both the problems created by worrying and the healing found in God’s word. He discussed how the recent death of loved ones contributed to raised levels of anxiety in his own life that resulted in panic attacks.  He encouraged students to pray and meditate on Scripture as a Biblical response to anxiety, citing Philippians 4:6: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."

Listen to or download this chapel message podcast.

Following the chapel service, Mr. Pettus spoke with a group of students and faculty members at lunch about his experience in the corporate world, including efforts to create a stewardship program and to provide chaplains for company employees. The stewardship program encourages volunteerism, assists single parents and widowed employees, and has a prison ministry. The chaplains visit corporate facilities regularly and are available to employees around the clock for support. Business major Olivia Pool ('10) asked how Mr. Pettus was able to leverage such a large company to do so much good for others, and he said that he genuinely believed "our company was a resource given to us by God."

Students attending a luncheon with Bob Pettus included, from left, Evan Johnson, Olivia Pool, John Moore, and Amelia Pool.
At the end of the luncheon senior Seth Flores told Mr. Pettus, “Your honesty in sharing your life story has been a big encouragement to me.”

Since retiring, Mr. Pettus has been speaking to companies interested in starting stewardship programs similar to the one at Coca-Cola Consolidated. He and his wife, Marilyn, also have established a scholarship for bi-racial and Native Americans at Bryan. “I know that they won’t be able to get a better Christian education than the one they are getting here at Bryan,” he said.

Bryan President Dr. Stephen Livesay described Mr. Pettus as being “the epitome of a Bryan alum who is living out our mission in a variety of unique and meaningful ways. Bob is truly a humble and gifted servant of Christ who is responsive to the Holy Spirit’s leading in making a difference in the lives of many individuals."