The athletic center at Emmanuel College, which opened one year ago, is now named for Jack and Jane Shaw during a special ceremony on a warm, sunny afternoon on Saturday, Oct. 5, at EC's 94th Annual Homecoming Weekend.
The official name is the Jack and Jane Shaw Athletic Center – to exalt Jesus Christ.
Jack and Jane Shaw are long time supporters of student scholarships and educational institutions, including Emmanuel College. They have had a distinguished career in real estate development, property management and investing. Today, Mr. Shaw is Chairman and CEO of Shaw Resources in Greenville, S.C.
"Jack and Jane have served in a number of influential roles over the years," President Michael Stewart said during the ceremony. "They are people with a clear purpose, and they have invested their lives into fulfilling the calling God has had on their lives with their family, community and business."
Mr. Shaw was the first in his family to graduate from college and was the valedictorian of his graduating class at Emmanuel College in 1951 when it was still only a high school called Franklin Springs Institute. He later served on EC's Board of Trustees and was also board chair. He served fours years as president of EC's National Alumni Association. He and Mrs. Shaw were the primary contributors when EC built its current library, which is called the Shaw-Leslie Learning Resources Center.
"When my parents enrolled me at Emmanuel, it was not a school of recognition," Mr. Shaw said. "Nevertheless, true to her name, Emmanuel, God was with us. In God’s providence, Emmanuel was the place for me.
"I would not be the person I am today had it not been for the sacrifice of the faculty and staff who poured of themselves into my life. My dreams, my hopes, my life are embedded in that foundation for which I am debtor to many people," he said.
In addition to his work as an accomplished lay speaker, teacher, lecturer and mentor, Mr. Shaw was elected to the South Carolina General Assembly. He has served as trustee and chairman of the Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center Board of Trustees, member of the Clemson University Foundation Board, member of the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, member of the Southern Baptist Foundation’s Board of Trustees, the Greenville Community Foundation Board, and the Greenville Tech Foundation Entrepreneur’s Forum, as well as the Board of Regents of Oral Roberts University. He has also served on the Samaritan’s Purse Board, the World Medical Missions Board, and Holmes Bible College Board of Trustees.
"The Emmanuel College of today has been built upon the foundation laid by those who have gone before us," Mr. Shaw said. "Now, building on a history of 94 years and guided by the vision and passion of President Stewart and his administrative team, a proven Board of Trustees, and a faculty and staff of unquestioned loyalty and commitment, Emmanuel has become a recognized and desired institution of academic excellence of which we can all be justly proud.
"Look around you—this is not your father’s Emmanuel," he added.
"Many people who will come here you won’t see in church. Their only Bible is the sports page. Their church is an arena, an athletic center. What an opportunity this presents for Emmanuel. Through the medium of sports and the events that take place here, may we be among those who take the Gospel into everyone’s world by planting ‘the good seed’,” he challenged.
Bill Cox, a member of EC's Executive Board of Trustees, was the first speaker at the ceremony and welcomed the nearly 300 guests and student athletes who gathered for the special event. Dr. C.Y. Melton, a former president of Emmanuel College, shared about how Mr. Shaw symbolically held his hand during the years of his presidency from 1970 to 1983.
At the close of the ceremony, everyone sang the alma mater with an octet of some of Emmanuel's very talented music students led by Mickey Rowell, music professor, and accompanied by Dr. Leslie Boucher, Music Department Chair and School of Arts and Sciences Dean. Offering the closing comments and prayer was Brian James, Vice President for Development.
"Thank you so much for believing in the mission of Emmanuel College and for your support today and through the years," President Stewart said to the Shaws. "You have been and continue to be a blessing to Emmanuel and to our mission to prepare students to become Christ-like disciples who integrate faith, learning and living for effective careers, scholarship and service."