Many faculty on the Williams Baptist College campus have extensive backgrounds in other countries, whether as world travelers, international scholars, or former missionaries. Beginning last fall, officers of the Bancroft Society, a student history and culture club, have woven these experiences into a lecture series known as “Worldwide Williams” for students and others to enjoy.
Guest speakers for each event share experiences and information about a country that they have either visited extensively or lived in. Each presentation is preceded by an introduction of the speaker by a Bancroft Society member and followed by an opportunity for the audience to ask questions.
“Worldwide Williams has allowed speakers to share a part of their lives that doesn’t often come up in everyday conversation, but is memorable and informative, nonetheless,” said Bancroft President Edward Harthorn, a senior from Walnut Ridge.
“The Bancroft Society is one of the most vibrant clubs on campus, and its Worldwide Williams lecture series this year has been a tremendous success. It’s been exciting to see our history students taking the lead in promoting greater awareness of other cultures around world,” added Dr. Daniel Spillman, chair of WBC’s department of history.
Both Harthorn and vice-president Colton Babbitt, a sophomore from Benton, have been in charge of overseeing the inaugural year of the program, while freshman Erika Isbill of Jonesboro will take the lead next year. All three are quick to emphasize, however, that the enthusiasm and support of the speakers and fellow club members have been the key to the program’s success. Plans are to continue the program indefinitely, with the addition of student, staff, and alumni speakers, as well as faculty.
Past speakers and their countries discussed have been: Dr. Ruth Provost, Yemen; Dr. Paul Rhoads, South Korea; Prof. Jerry Gibbens, Europe; Dr. and Mrs. Bob Magee, Chile and Colombia; Dr. Joshua Richards, United Kingdom; and Dr. Chris Polachic, Canada.
Upcoming speakers for the remainder of the semester include Harthorn, who will present on March 29 about WBC’s study abroad options and his semester studying in India, and Dr. Kenneth Startup, who will present on April 14 on his comprehensive visits and historical studies of the Bahamas.
Each presentation will begin at 4:00 pm and will be held in room 101 of WBC’s Sloan Center. There is no cost to attend and the public is invited.