TBC Preview Day draws largest number of attendees on record

TBC Preview Day

During the largest Texas Baptist College (TBC) Preview Day on record, prospective students and their families learned what a TBC college experience is like during the March 22 events on the Southwestern Seminary campus.

“One of the things we wanted you to experience in your Preview Day is what a slice of TBC will be like,” said Todd Bates, dean of TBC.

Prospective students began the day with chapel, led in worship by the TBC Choir and TBC Band in Draper Auditorium in Mathena Hall, which houses the college. Micah Carter, associate dean of TBC, exhorted the assembly to live for the glory of God in a message based on 1 Corinthians 10:31.

Carter prefaced his sermon by reminding prospective students and their families, which included parents and siblings, that TBC is “not merely an educational institution” but a “worshipping community.”

In his message, Carter said, “the pursuit of our lives, not just without Christ, but sometimes even as followers of Christ, the main pursuit of our lives is typically for our own personal happiness.”

Carter admonished the students to remember that “even in the midst of the good things that He gave to us, food and drink, relationships, education, career, all the other things can and should have their proper place, but God, the primary place,” adding the “point” of the focal passage is “that we do everything for God’s glory.”

Prospective students and their families toured the campus of Texas Baptist College (TBC), the undergraduate school of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, during the March 22 events. The TBC Preview Day attendance was the largest on record and allowed prospective students to experience a “slice” of life as a TBC student.

Prospective students also heard a current student testimony from Toby Dingler, a Christian studies junior from Allen, Texas. Dingler, who came to faith in Christ during his senior year of high school, said he planned to earn a business degree at the University of Arkansas. However, the COVID-19 pandemic began and “not only did Jesus change my life, but the world changed.”

The changes prompted him to attend community college and, not enjoying his experience, Dingler said he began to “work and serve” in his church, First Baptist Church of Allen, Texas. As he started serving “more and more” in his church, while simultaneously praying, he realized “that there was nothing else I wanted to do with my life other than serve God’s people.” Many of the pastors at his church had attended Southwestern and Dingler said he learned from the seminary’s website that the institution had an undergraduate college – TBC.

Dingler said at his own Preview Day in spring 2021, he met friends who are now “lifelong friends.” He added that his “favorite thing” about TBC is “that it’s Christ centered,” noting the focus on Christ in the classroom, chapel services, Student Life events, and dorm life events. He said his “other favorite part of the school is the professors” as they are “instrumental in making this place special.”

Following chapel, prospective students and their families were led in groups on a campus tour that allowed them to learn about TBC’s student financial services, campus community life, housing, and the Writing Center.

Over lunch in Seelig Banquet Hall in the Naylor Student Center, prospective students and their families heard from a panel comprised of Texas Baptist College (TBC) faculty and students during the March 22 Preview Day. Deborah Guzman, third from right, shared about her experience as a Bachelor of Arts in Christian studies student at TBC.

The tour culminated in lunch and a TBC student and faculty panel in Seelig Banquet Hall in the Naylor Student Center. The panel included three TBC professors, Blake McKinney, assistant professor of history and humanities, Brian Berry, instructor of biblical studies, and Jill Cabal, instructor of history, and three current TBC students, Deborah Guzman a Bachelor of Arts in Christian studies student from Guadalajara, Mexico; Alaina Travis, a Bachelor of Music in worship studies student from Bueno Aires, Argentina; and Bryce Blackwell, a Bachelor of Arts in Christian studies student from Fort Worth, Texas.

The panelists answered questions from Chandler Snyder, vice president for student services and enrollment.

Responding to why he chose to study at TBC, Blackwell said at his own Preview Day for TBC he was impacted by a statement Michael Wilkinson, then dean of TBC, told the prospective students. Blackwell recalled that Wilkinson told his cohort of prospective students “if you need something, anything, you can literally just call me or text me.” Blackwell remembered being surprised at the offer because “that’s not normal for colleges.”

Blackwell added, “The professors genuinely care about you, and … they genuinely love you and see you, each of you, as brothers and sisters in Christ and want to see you do well, for God’s glory is huge encouragement.”

Berry, who began teaching on the faculty in the fall 2023, said that his “favorite” thing about teaching at TBC is being able to “pay it forward.”

Berry, who holds a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Seminary and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy degree, said “so many professors poured into me and invested so much in my life and then now I get a chance to do it to others.”

The day before Preview Day began, prospective students had the opportunity to “shadow” a TBC student throughout the day and spend the night in the campus dorms.

Roy Anderson, a prospective TBC student, said his shadow experience allowed him to experience eating in the campus food hall, chapel, and classes. Anderson joined a Greek class taught by Berry and said the class was “really interesting” and he “felt like I learned something while I was there, even though I know nothing about Greek.” He also sat in on McKinney’s church history class where he had the opportunity to listen to the lecture on the Second Great Awakening and the England Revival.

Anderson, a native of Stafford, Texas, was also able to participate in the nighttime community wide event organized by Student Life and spent time in worship with male students in Fort Worth Hall, the men’s dorm, before going to bed.

Anderson said he is interested in TBC’s program in Christian studies as it is a “well-rounded” program.

Originally from Kenya, Clara Wangui had initially planned to attend Preview Day with a friend. However, when that friend was called into active military duty, Wangui, who now lives in Dallas, said she decided to attend solo.

Wangui said she hopes to begin in the 5-year program at TBC in the fall. The program allows students to earn undergraduate and master’s degrees in five years. She said she wants to concentrate in church planting as she hopes “to go back to Kenya, my homeland, and probably start planting Baptist churches there.”

Madison Matthews and her mother drove from Cleburne, Texas, to attend Preview Day after looking around for Christian colleges and hearing “good things” about TBC from friends who are current students. Matthews is looking at the Christian studies degree program.

Registration for the fall academic term begins April 15.