BUIES CREEK, North Carolina – Campbell University students gave President J. Bradley Creed two gifts during a University Worship Service Sunday evening, April 3, to formally welcome him and his wife, Kathy, to the Campbell family and to mark his inauguration as the university’s fifth president.
The first gift was a pitcher and basin to symbolize Dr. Creed’s call to servant leadership.
“Just as Jesus washed the disciples’ feet in an act of ultimate humble servitude, let this gift serve as a constant reminder of a calling on your life,” student Courtney Jennings said on behalf of the student body.
She also presented Dr. Creed with a box full of prayers and words of encouragements that nearly 1,000 Campbell students wrote to him and his wife.
“Remember that the students that you lead, encourage and interact with daily are not only praying for you as the leader of the university but also rooting for you and all the great things you will accomplish as our president,” Jennings said. “On happy days, I hope [the prayers and words students wrote] will serve as a reaffirmation of your purpose here on campus. On less happy days, I trust they will serve as pick-me-up and as a reminder that you are both always in our thoughts and prayers.”
A group of students also prayed over Dr. Creed, and three student singing groups performed: the Campbell University Gospel Choir, Campus Worship Band 1, and Campbell Divinity School Quartet.
Dr. Michael Cogdill, professor of Christian ministry who served as the founding dean of Campbell Divinity from 1996 to 2010, drew on the story and life of Samuel (and on 1 Samuel 3:1-10) to deliver the sermon “A New Leader for a New Day.”
There were three things Samuel did that made him a great leader, Cogdill said: He kept the people’s eyes focused on God, he did the things not required of him, and he kept his eyes on the future.
Though Creed just began his duties as Campbell’s fifth president July 1, 2015, he has already demonstrated that he is like Samuel, Cogdill said. “We celebrate that Dr. Creed is the right leader for the right time in this new day.”
Installation Week offers a time to affirm Creed as president; but it’s also a time to celebrate Campbell – both the place and the people of the place, he added.
“This is a dedication week for the Creeds but also for all of us,” Cogdill said. “We celebrate them but we also celebrate this place and the people of this place.
“It is a place whose history is decorated with young men and women who have come to this school and who have been in this very place and have heard God’s call and have had their lives redirected. . . . Let this place be a place where God’s call can always be heard.”
Dr. Creed will be officially installed as president on Friday, April 8, at 2 p.m. in the John W. Pope, Jr. Convocation Center.