I had a great time at my alma mater on Thursday and Friday celebrating Dr. Conn's 20th year as the president of Lee University. We sat with Tony and Heather Byrd, Phil Harris, and Torrey and Polly Herrin at dinner Thursday. Then, we enjoyed a concert in the Dixon Center after which I had a good conversation with Dennis McGuire. I may share some of that conversation later at COG Catalyst.
Friday morning, I sat in on Pitching Your Tent at the Postmodern Carnival: Witness in a Pluralist Context seminar led by Tony Richie and Cheryl Bridges-Johns. I always enjoy listening to Cheryl. It was my first time hearing Tony speak. I wish I had been able to take notes. They both had some interesting things to say about everything from ecuminism to seeker-sensitive ministry to Brian McClaren.
Then, we participated in the Celebration service. The Symphony, mass choir, wind ensemble demonstrated one thing that Lee probably does better than most, music. Dr. Carolyn Dirksen captured the past 20 years at Lee in an inspirational talk. Dr. Conn spoke to the students and alumni concerning their roles and realities. The highlight was when he introduced K.C. Coomer III, representing the class of 2009. He left Lee and returned one year later after a tour in Iraq where his best friend was killed in Fallujah. He received a seemingly endless standing ovation.
We caught up with a lot of old friends. It was especially good to sit down with my pastor, Mitch Maloney and my 3 girls. I am always challenged by his vision and friendship.
When I left the Lee campus, I drove away with a significant amount of pride for my school. Dr. Conn is a phenomenal leader of what I would consider the premier evangelical Christian university in America. It has really shaped my life. My parents attended as did my grandparents. I imagine that one day my girls will attend Lee as well. I can't imagine what the school will have to offer then (much less what it will cost!).
On the way home, I thought about my girls moving away one day over a chili dog at the Varsity. I guess that's one good thing about Lee being so far from Miami, the Varsity is in between Lee and the Atlanta airport. Not bad...not bad at all.