ANKENY, Iowa—Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary commemorated 100 years as an institution on Friday, October 8, 2021, with its “Celebration of the Century”—the pinnacle event of the college’s yearlong festivities. Senator Charles Grassley, the longest-serving U.S. senator in Iowa history, gave the opening remarks and his congratulations to a crowd of approximately 1,200 people seated on the campus lawn on a gorgeous fall evening with temperatures in the mid-70s.

Senator Grassley was one of several state and local leaders who were present during the evening ceremony. Other state leaders in attendance included Pat Grassley (Speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives), Jack Whitver (Majority Leader of the Iowa Senate), and John Hollinrake (Regional Director for the Office of U.S. Senator Joni Ernst). Local leaders in the audience included members of the Ankeny Police Department, Ankeny mayoral candidate and council member Mark Holm, and Ankeny City Council member Kelly Whiting.

Faith made special recognition of its small fraternity of former presidents who were in attendance, including Mrs. Barbara Houg, in honor of her husband and the late Dr. Richard Houg, who served as president from 1994 to 2006; Dr. Ernie Schmidt, who served as president from 2014 to 2015; and current president, Dr. Jim Tillotson, who has served as president since 2015. Several former presidents were unable to attend the event due to health concerns and schedule conflicts.

Following the recognition of special guests and the board of directors, the opening prayer was led by Dr. Ernie Schmidt, and presentations were made by Alumni Director Mark Felderman, Chairman of the Board Jim Randolph, and President Tillotson. A narration of the school’s history was read by Mr. Mark Lounsbrough and concluded with a short burst of fireworks.

The final 45 minutes of the ceremony featured an outdoor concert by the Faith chorale and orchestra, which consisted of approximately 60 Faith students and alumni. Dr. Christopher Ellis led the performance of Dan Forrest’s Jubilate Deo, which was brought to a crescendo and choreographed to fireworks during the last 16 measures of the final song.

The evening concluded with a fireworks display that lasted approximately ten minutes, and consummated with a grand finale that was well-worthy of a celebration of 100 years. Many in attendance remarked that the fireworks (performed by J & M Displays of Yarmouth, Iowa) were the best they had ever seen.

Homecoming Weekend Recap

Friday evening’s ceremony, concert, and fireworks were sandwiched by a busy weekend of homecoming activities, which began Thursday night with the Friends of Faith Banquet. The banquet has become an annual celebration at the conclusion of a ten or twelve week fundraising campaign each fall. This year’s banquet reached a maximum capacity of 350 people and featured several songs from the Faith Chorale, testimonies from current Faith students, remarks from the board chairman and school president, and a keynote speech from former president Dr. James Maxwell III. During the banquet, an announcement was made that the fundraising goal of $1.5 million had been met during the 12-week campaign.

Friday’s Homecoming festivities began with a men’s soccer game, a women’s volleyball game, and with an assortment of excitements on the central campus lawn. Food trucks catered to the hungry appetites of students and visitors in the Patten Library parking lot, which was flanked by a row of tents and food court seating on the grass between the Patten Library and Jordan Hall. Nearby, a dunk tank was filled on a rotating basis by Faith professors who taunted and jeered the audience. Inflatables were a welcome activity for energetic kids and families.

Saturday’s events included a financial planning seminar, alumni soccer games, and Faith Eagles volleyball and soccer matches. Eagles’ athletics teams finished the weekend with a perfect combined record of 5-0. Homecoming activities concluded on Saturday night with the school’s annual Ya Gotta Regatta—a race of student-built cardboard boats across the Faith pond.

Next year’s Homecoming Weekend is scheduled for October 7-8, 2022. For more information regarding Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary, visit faith.edu.

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