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President Fowler marks first campus address at Fall Convocation

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(Sept. 5, 2019) – Carson-Newman University held its Fall Convocation on Thursday to a packed Holt Fieldhouse. The event serves as a ceremonial marker to the start of the new academic year. The occasion also marked the first time newly minted Carson-Newman President Charles A. Fowler addressed the full campus community.

Pulling from Psalm 145:4, Fowler pointed to the importance of "celebrating the faithfulness of God," as evidenced in C-N's past, but also directing attention to the future by "anticipating the faithfulness of God."

"God’s handiwork at Carson-Newman has been evident since before our founding in 1851," said Fowler. "The culture of the region was not friendly toward formal higher education. The establishment of what was then known as Mossy Creek Missionary Baptist Seminary required God’s leadership in unmistakable ways. He inspired a vision for Christian higher education in the hearts of the Oak Tree Five and they took great steps of faith underneath the umbrella of God’s favor and in pursuit of His will to orchestrate our founding."

The 23rd president continued, holding up a brick before those assembled. "This brick is believed to have come from the very first building for Mossy Creek Missionary Baptist Seminary," said Fowler. "It represents so much more than just building material. It’s a marker of our identity and purpose. It speaks to the enduring nature of God’s work.

"We may not all be brick masons, but nonetheless, we are part of the foundation of what God is using to build Carson-Newman University, today, and for those who will follow us."

Fowler emphasized the importance of looking to God's active presence in the past. "We cannot look back without being inspired to worship a faithful God whose fingerprints are evident on every square inch of this place," he said. "It is essential that we look back and celebrate God’s handiwork."

Stressing the significance of God's work in the past, Fowler also pointed to the days ahead.

"His fingerprints are evident, and His hands continue to work out His preferred future for Carson-Newman University and for each of us gathered here today," he proclaimed. He concluded, "'Welcome Home!' I pray you look for the fingerprints of God in the activity around you as you work, study, and play today!"

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