Members of the Erskine College and Theological Seminary community joined alumni, dignitaries from numerous colleges and universities, and other honored guests in the Due West Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church April 29 for the inauguration of Dr. David A. Norman as the institution’s 15th president.
Norman summarized his vision for Erskine under three headings—academic integrity, financial sustainability, and human restoration, the latter characterized as service to the poor.
“We serve the poor by equipping students to flourish as whole persons,” he said.
Erskine’s motto, “Scientia cum moribus conjuncta,” which can be translated “knowledge joined with a way of life,” formed a thread running through Norman’s address.
“Our motto reminds us that we fulfill our mission by never allowing how we live and what we know to become separated,” he said.
Norman concluded his speech by referring to seven Latin mottoes that will guide him, citing first what he called “the five slogans of the Reformation,” usually called the five solas. “Together, they remind us that salvation is to be found in Christ alone, by grace alone, through faith alone, as authoritatively revealed in scripture alone, to the glory of God alone,” he said.
“To these slogans of the Reformation I add ‘Semper Reformanda,’ or ‘always reforming,’ and ‘Scientia Cum Moribus Conjuncta,’ a way of knowing that is intertwined with a way of life.”
Greetings from the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, represented by Stephen J. Maye, moderator of General Synod, who was unable to attend, were read by Interim Vice President and Dean of the College Dr. Brad Christie. Maye said the new president “represents all that is best in the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church.”
Board of Trustees Chairman D. Scott Mitchell brought greetings from Erskine’s trustees, noting that the inauguration offered an opportunity to “turn to a fresh page” in the annals of Erskine.
Dr. Mark Ross, center, offers greetings from the faculty.
John R. de Witt Professor of Systematic Theology Dr. Mark Ross brought greetings from the faculty and added a note of humor to the proceedings as he turned and spoke to Norman. “Some of my colleagues feared you were too young,” he said. “But I assured them they need not fear, because you will age quickly in this job.”
Eric Goodwin, a member of the Class of 2013, brought greetings from the students, calling Norman “our president and our brother.”
Greetings from the alumni were given by Alumni Association President J. David Chesnut, who described the Erskine community as a family and urged Norman to view his tenure at the institution as “time spent as part of the Erskine family.”
Mitchell began the installation portion of the service with some preliminary remarks. Likening the presidency of Erskine to a relay race, he handed Norman a baton and said, “The baton of leadership is in your hand, and it is now your race to run.”
Citing I Corinthians 13, Mitchell expressed the hope that Norman’s presidency will be “an exercise in love” and predicted that carrying out his calling as president “will put a premium on your patience and your kindness.”
Joseph H. Patrick III, vice chairman of the Erskine Board of Trustees, assisted with the investiture, presenting to Norman the mace designed in 1981 by W.H. Stuart Jr., then chairman of the Erskine Board of Trustees, and Dr. William Bruce Ezell Jr., Erskine’s 11th president.
A resolution from the State of South Carolina, read by Rep. Paul Agnew of the South Carolina House of Representatives, who is an Erskine graduate, and a surprise resolution from Norman’s native State of Alabama, read by Mitchell, were presented during the ceremony.
The invocation was given by the Rev. L. Calvin Draffin, pastor of the Due West ARP Church. Interim Vice President of Erskine Theological Seminary Dr. Stephen D. Lowe offered the prayer of installation. The Rev. Paul G. Patrick, chaplain of Erskine College, delivered the benediction.
Providing music for the inauguration service were the Erskine Choraleers and Sinfonia Brass, directed by Choral Conductor Bill Diekhoff; Associate Professor of Music Robert Glick, organ; Assistant Professor of Music Dr. Brad Parker, piano; Tobé Frierson, percussion; and Barry Dreier, bass guitar.