The JBU Experience Not the Same...It's Better!

By Jerry Rollene '77
Friday, July 20, 2012

The University Changes for the Better

When I meet with alumni across the country at Alumni and Friends events I’m often asked, “Is JBU still the same as it was when we were students?”  My answer is always the same, “No it is not the same . . . It’s better!”  

For the past nine years, my wife, Donna (’77), and I have been immersed in the JBU community.  Donna has been teaching in the music department and I have been out meeting alumni and parents.  

Four years ago, when our twin daughters, Becky and Jessie, were making plans to attend college, we decided it might be good for them to attend a Christian university where their parents didn’t work. They enrolled in a wonderful school 700 miles away, but Becky severely dislocated her shoulder on the second day of school.  Since she was to undergo surgery, and recovery required the possibility of extensive physical therapy, Donna and I asked them both to consider transferring to JBU their sophomore year.

They reluctantly agreed, unhappy about the prospect of starting all over again at a new college, trying to fit in and making new friends. To combat this, my wife and I strongly encouraged them to be part of the JBU freshmen orientation program. Although they did not want to go through orientation a second time, they decided to participate and afterwards told us: “We are so glad you made us sign up for it.  It was a blast!”

The ProposalNow I could also tell you about the fun they had these last three years on choir tours, especially the one to Ireland, or how they were stretched in their faith and intellect through excellent chapels and rigorous academics, or how they enjoyed being part of the musicals on the new Berry Performing Arts building’s stage, but there is another experience I’d like to share with you.  

Just off the Sager Creek path, a young alumnus asked one of our daughters to marry him.  She said, “Yes,” while a hidden cellist played their favorite song and a photographer captured the moment.

Seeing our alma mater through our daughters’ eyes has only confirmed my belief that the JBU experience, in and outside of the classroom, continues to improve.  Just as with our children, seeing JBU become more than it was is a thrilling experience . . . and that’s the way it should be.

Jerry Rollene ‘75 is director of alumni and parent relations for JBU.