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Boyce ambassadors provide 'voice and face' for growing institution
October 11, 2004
By Ericia Boggs
If you are a student at Boyce College, chances are a student ambassador had an influential part in your decision to attend.
Student ambassadors are the voice and face of Boyce College — the undergraduate school of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. They represent the institution at college fairs around the country. They give daily campus tours. They contact prospective students. And they assist students and their families during orientation.
"This is an important position," said Ed Stucky, assistant director of admissions for Boyce College. "They are the front line for Boyce College/prospective student relations. They are usually the first face a prospective student sees."
This year's team of ambassadors are comprised of two returning ones — Jan Harriott and Katie Magee — and three new ones — Eric Stephens, John Letoto and Jaimeson Parris. They are interviewed and chosen by Stucky, associate dean for student life Chip Collins and director of admissions Scott Davis.
Although their backgrounds, calling and places in life vary, they all have a common desire as ambassadors. They see it as an area of service, as well as an extension of the ministry to which God has called them.
"[When I was being interviewed], I told the interviewing panel [that] it didn't matter whether or not I had a formal role in helping to promote Boyce College. I would still do what I could to get the students here that needed to be here," said Letoto, a biblical and theological studies major from Hawaii.
"My first thought was service," added Stephens, a biblical and theological studies major from Clarksville, Tenn. "I had no idea what an ambassador did, but assuming from the name, I knew they represented the school in some capacity.
"The first time that I heard of Boyce College, I knew that this was a place that I could unashamedly be proud of. Then after attending here, that response was confirmed. I knew that it would be an honor to represent Boyce in whatever capacity they needed. Since being selected as an ambassador, I have been able to understand more clearly the pinpoint mission of Boyce College and Southern Seminary. I am truly honored to act as a mouthpiece for what God is doing through this institution."
Harriott, who serves as ambassador president, is responsible for planning weekly ambassador meetings — coordinating the devotions, speakers and agenda. She also oversees ambassador responsibilities, and she facilitates better communication between the other ambassadors and the administration, said Stucky.
"I wanted to be an ambassador because I am privileged to be at a school [that is] solely committed to honoring God and to training ministers for the harvest," said Harriott, a music major who came to Boyce from Trinidad in the fall of 2001.
As an ambassador, she promotes the school's unique atmosphere, which includes an emphasis on missions, ministry preparation, Gospel truth-telling and student body accountability and discipleship.
"There is a commitment [at] and uniqueness to Boyce," Harriott said.
The uniqueness also is found in the student/professor relationships.
"The professors are willing to spend time with students and help them in their [Christian] walk," she said. "[Their] motives in what they do and teach is for God's glory. You see that whether hearing them in the classroom or just talking to them individually in the hall."
Along with the promotion of Boyce off-campus and the day-to-day responsibilities on campus, the ambassadors' chance to shine comes during the preview weekends. They are present at every event through the fast-moving weekend — serving lunch, assisting at the president's reception and even taking the trash out after the campus picnic. However, their primary responsibilities for preview weekend are to answer questions and to help make the prospective students and families feel at home.
"I look forward to preview weekend the most," said Parris, a counseling major from Easton, Pa. "I did not come to preview weekend when I was thinking about coming to Boyce. I want to know what it is like to experience it and to try to see what a student is seeing when they come and to look at the school through their eyes."
Although it can appear to be a glamorous leadership position, much of the ambassadors' work is done behind the scenes.
"When the new students came in for orientation this year, right before classes started, I knew why I applied to be an ambassador," said Parris. "... It was a joy and a privilege to be a part of their new endeavor even if my participation came from handing out a glass of tea or calming a new student's fears. The excitement, enthusiasm and freshness that they brought to the campus was quite contagious."
Ambassadors believe that service to Boyce is rewarding in itself, but their biggest reward is seeing the fruit of their labors.
"I ... look forward to the upcoming semesters when some of those students that I've helped to recruit come up to me and tell me that they remember when I spoke to them. … That will be rewarding," Letoto said.