Saturday January 29, 2022 was the annual Texas Lutheran University Corporation Board meeting. This annual meeting is made up of individuals nominated from the three ELCA synods that have territory in Texas including NT-NL Synod, ELCA as well as a few at large members. The corporation board keeps our Lutheran college connected to its ELCA congregations and membership and approves changes to constitution and bylaws and elects the board of regents.
When I was elected NT-NL had a tradition of having a synod council meeting the last Saturday of January. That precluded my attendance (bishops are ex officio members of the constitution) in my first years of office. We have made changes to our practice moving synod council to the first Saturday in February which also enables us to receive end of year financials (our financial year ends Jan 31) at the February council meeting.
I am grateful to be able to be a part of these meetings along with the NT-NL corporation board members. Today we met the new TLU campus pastor, the Rev. Wes Cain (pictured here with me and Pastor Jeremy Ullrich of St. John, Bartlett and also a TLU grad). Wes is 2009 grad of TLU married to an ELCA pastor and is a United Methodist clergyperson. It is wonderful we can live into our full communion agreements with staff to serve our Texas ELCA University.
The meeting was full of good and challenging news. The pandemic has dealt all our institutions a challenging blow, but under the leadership of President Debbie Cottrell TLU has been resilient. As the most diverse ELCA College or University (over 40% of the student body is Latinx) TLU has also branched out into offering a Nursing program that is meeting a need in New Braunfels and also expanding into the Houston areas. Enrollment took a hit in covid times but is staying strong and is higher that historic averages.
Also we heard amazing news that the most recent cohort of Nursing grads achieved a 100% success rate in passing the state nursing board exam. Placing TLU in elite territory.
I also was able to attend the endowed scholarship luncheon at which 18 new endowed scholarships were announced. These range in support for those studying to become Law Enforcement officers to music to theology to data analysis to medical fields. TLU is truly a liberal arts college offering students a variety of opportunities. That also enabled me to visit with my parents and youngest brother as well as current students at TLU. Also I connected with Janet and Gene Davenport (members of Faith, Flower Mound) who were onsite for the meeting also.
As I was leaving I drove out from the campus through the athletic complex. There the softball team (2019 NCAA D3 National Champs) was having a scrimmage and the nationally ranked baseball team was practicing. It is wonderful to be on a lively and energized campus in the midst of the challenges we face. I would invite you all to learn more about TLU and consider supporting this institution of our faith tradition financially and sharing it with young people in your lives. #NTNL #TLU #InMissionTogether