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Ostrander leaves legacy, moves on to new challenges at Brewton-Parker
June 30, 2003
By Erika Nelson
Hal Ostrander, pictured with fellow professor Peter Gentry, served Boyce for five years. Photo by Bryan Cribb
This June, a loss for Boyce College will be a gain for a small college in rural Georgia.
Hal Ostrander, associate dean of Boyce College and associate professor of Christian theology, has accepted the position of chair of the Religion and Philosophy Division at Brewton-Parker College in Mt. Vernon, Ga.
Ostrander has been on the faculty at Boyce College for five years, first starting at the school in June of 1998. He spent his first year as an associate professor of Christian theology, and the remaining four years as an associate dean and associate professor. His last day at Boyce College was June 23.
Ostrander, who has been responsible for academic advising and has worked very closely with Boyce students, said this new job opportunity came abruptly to him.
“I didn’t really seek the position; ... the door was so wide open that I would have been foolish not to have walked through it,” Ostrander said. “What lies ahead will be a challenge, but it will also afford me the opportunity to bring a no-holds-barred, evangelical presence to Georgia higher education.”
And Ostrander has the experience behind him to assist him in this task. Prior to his five years at Boyce College, Ostrander taught for nine years at Dallas Baptist University. Ostrander received his bachelor of arts from Dallas Baptist University, and his master of divinity and Ph.D. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Ostrander came to Louisville from Texas to help launch Boyce College as a fully accredited undergraduate school. He described the process as “a faith venture unparalleled” and said his first year at Boyce under the leadership of then dean Ted Cabal will be forever etched in his mind.
The work Ostrander has done at Boyce College will be etched into the history of the school, as well.
Dave DeKlavon, associate dean and associate professor of New Testament interpretation, described Ostrander as someone who hasa love for students and teaching.
“Dr. Ostrander has brought [to Boyce] a love for worldview issues and a love for the relationship of the Bible to the world,” DeKlavon said. “Administratively, he has been responsible for formulating the academic programs of hundreds and hundreds of students.”
Audrey Chanin, secretary to Ostrander, echoed DeKlavon in her description of Ostrander.
“When a student knocks on his door, he is always there to help them and hear their concerns,” Chanin said. “Dr. Ostrander has brought a helpful, listening ear to the students and [overall] has helped to increase the theological and biblical knowledge of Boyce students.”
Chanin said one of the things that stands out to her about Ostrander is his love for his family.
“One of the things that inspired me is he really cares about his family. ... He loves his family and makes them a priority,” Chanin said. “I didn’t grow up with a Christian father, and I’ve seen in him a good example of what a godly father is to his children.”
Along with Ostran-der’s positive example, Chanin said every-one at Boyce College will miss the patience and respect he displayed toward others.
These two qualities were especially apparent in Ostrander’s interaction with students.
“Watching the light finally click on in the minds of students as to what theological education is really all about thrills me to no end,” Ostrander said. “I’ve seen students who could at first barely construct a paragraph begin turning into mighty vessels of God’s will, establishing a variety of inroads for the Kingdom here in Louisville and elsewhere.”
Ostrander said he will always look back on his years at Boyce College with gratitude and know that he helped to initiate and accomplish things at Boyce over a five-year period that will have eternal consequences.
In offering last words of advice to students, Ostrander said it is important to learn early on the lesson that life is all about Jesus.
“Don’t waste time pursuing what ultimately will prove to be vain things,” Ostrander said. “If in fact it’s all about Jesus, then your ministry should also reflect this attitude and approach every step of the way.”
Looking ahead to Georgia, Ostrander said he feels that God is calling him to a fresh, new task. He said that for someone to take a stand on the inerrancy of Scripture, the deity of Christ and the exclusiveness of the Gospel is likely to send shockwaves through the state of Georgia, as far as Southern Baptist liberal arts education is concerned.
“In my own mind, I’m the last person to be qualified for initiating a statewide change of such theological weight, but we’ll work and wait patiently to see what the Lord does,” Ostrander said. “I’ll always be learning the lesson of resting in His sufficiency.”