By Leigh Ann Wynn
On Friday, November 4, with over a thousand attendees packing the First Baptist Church of Lake Wales sanctuary, Dr. David A. Hoag was inaugurated as the third President of Warner University. Warner students, faculty, staff, community leaders, donors, guests, and presidents from other colleges came together for this most regal of ceremonies.
As the inaugural speaker, University of Florida President Dr. Kent Fuchs spoke words of affirmation to Dr. Hoag. “When people think about the university, they’ll think of Dr. Hoag,” Fuchs said. “The university has indeed chosen the right man for the future. He indeed is a servant and he indeed leads.”
Senator Denise Grimsley, a Warner alum as well as a member of the board of trustees, spoke on behalf of the school’s alumni. “You are sure to quickly discover that Warner is truly an extended family,” she said. “Whether it is support of the business program or the new agricultural program, you can count on the Warner alumni.”
Chairman of the Warner University board of trustees, and executive director of the Lake Wales Care Center, Rob Quam led the prayer and said of Hoag, “We believe that he has been called to Warner University for a moment such as this.”
The processional included over sixty-five Warner faculty and emeriti, Warner cabinet members, delegates from other higher education institutions, the Warner board of trustees, as well as the speakers on the platform. One of which was President Emeritus Dr. Greg Hall, who passed the presidential medallion on to Hoag. “Dr. Hoag, we pledge to you our prayers, our wisdom, our confidence in you to lead this great university,” said Hall.
Even with all of the formality of the ceremony, academic regalia and official protocol for an inauguration, Dr. Hoag’s fun personality shined through once he rose to speak. “After being blessed so much today, I don’t know what else to say except my name is David Hoag and I approve that message.”
Hoag got a rise out of the student-athletes seated up in the balcony when he made the sign of a “W” with his hands, representing Warner. Hoag went on to say, “I want Warner to be a transformational space that builds you academically and spiritually.”
The entire Warner community, as well as Christian higher education as a whole, came together to celebrate the future of Warner University. We can’t wait to see what God has in store for this university.
Warner University, founded in 1968 by the Southeastern Association of the Church of God (Anderson, Indiana), is a co-educational, Christian university in the liberal arts tradition. The campus is located five miles south of Lake Wales Florida. The mission of Warner University is to graduate individuals who exemplify academic excellence and Christian character, who are prepared to lead and committed to serve. For more information about Warner University, visit www.warner.edu.