MOUNT VERNON — On October 18, 2022, members of the community came together for Brewton-Parker College’s first annual President’s Gala. This year’s special guest was former Head Coach for the University of Georgia’s football team, Mark Richt. The funds raised during this event will be used to support the students and the college as it continues to grow.
The night started with Voices of Truth, BPC’s vocal ensemble. Followed by a video testimony shared by Brandon Schultz. Schultz graduated in May of 2022 and is now an employee at the college. During his time as a student, Schultz accepted Christ and became the two-time National Champion for indoor 60-meter hurdles. Chad Ritchie, Director of Advancement, got up to thank the event sponsors and introduce guest speaker, Mark Richt.
Mark Richt was joined by former UGA Chaplin, Kevin “Chappy” Hines. Richt shared how he came to know the Lord and how God has worked in his life both on and off the field. During Richt’s early football years, a fellow teammate shared the gospel and planted the seed of salvation. The seed that had been planted years before came to fruition and Richt came to know Christ under the leadership of Bobby Bowden at FSU. He reinforced that as believers we become perfect in His sight.
After retiring from coaching, Richt wrote a book entitled Make the Call – Game Day Wisdom for Life’s Defining Moments. Since his time as former head football coach at the University of Miami and the University of Georgia and long-time assistant coach at Florida State University, he knows a thing or two about making the call. At the gala and in his book, he shared some of those crucial moments. From his time as a player, through his years as an assistant coach and head coach for thirty-five years, he has been on some of the biggest stages of college football. He is currently a football analyst for the ACC Network.
Coach Mark Richt was also open about how he feels now after his diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease. In July 2021, Richt publicly announced the diagnosis. He realizes the disease will complicate his life, but he is praying for and trusting in God’s plan. “If my hope is based on temporal things, if it is based on what is going to happen to me on this earth. I cannot face this life. But knowing that when I get to Heaven, I will be filled with God’s glory and have a new heavenly body. That’s what I put my hope in.”
To close the section with Coach Richt, he commented on the Brewton-Parker mission statement. Richt said, “I know you all are trying to equip people to become basically evangelists of the gospel through whatever area they choose to study. You are trying to teach people that when you love Jesus, there’s a difference in how you act. There are eternal things you can invest in on this earth, and this college is truly one.”
Following the presentation with Mark Richt, Dr. Steven F. Echols, President of BPC, shared a brief update regarding the college’s recent growth and took the time to thank all those in attendance. Echols stated, “BPC is very grateful for the overwhelming community support that made the gala a success for raising funds and sharing about our mission to see the lives of students transformed academically and spiritually for the glory of God. We deeply appreciate Coach Richt’s willingness to come and the delightful and powerful responses he gave in the interview format facilitated by Chappy Hines.”
Different sponsorship levels for the gala were available, some of which included access to the private meet and greet time with Mark Richt before the event. Brewton-Parker College offers a special thank you to their Platinum & Diamond Sponsors: Altamaha Bank & Trust, Dr. Steve & Julie Echols, BPC Board of Trustees, Meridy’s Uniforms, and Chick-fil-A Vidalia.
Coach Richt shared his thoughts on the Brewton-Parker mission statement,
“I know you all are trying to equip people to become basically evangelists of the gospel through whatever area they choose to study. You are trying to teach people that when you love Jesus, there’s a difference in how you act. There are eternal things you can invest in on this earth, and this college is truly one.”
Brewton-Parker College is the only accredited four-year Christian college south of Macon and north of Jacksonville, FL. As a comprehensive Georgia Baptist institution, Brewton-Parker College provides liberal arts and professional programs in a learning community of shared Christian values. Through the application of biblical truth in scholarship and a co-curricular focus on character, servant leadership, and cultural engagement, the college strives to provide a transformational experience that equips the whole student for lifelong learning and service in Christ.