State and local leaders joined wNGU board members, faculty, students, and staff in recognizing President Fant’s contributions.
South Carolina Lt. Governor Pamela Evette was one of several state leaders to speak at a celebration Chapel last Wednesday as the Fants were honored in NGU’s Turner Chapel.
“This is a very special place, and it needed a very special leader to lead it,” Evette said, noting Dr. Fant’s commitment to “the virtues that we hold very near and dear to our hearts.”
During the ceremony, S.C. House Rep. Mike Burns (R-Greenville) presented a resolution from the South Carolina House of Representatives, while S. C. Sen. Tom Corbin (R-Greenville and Spartanburg) delivered a resolution from the South Carolina Senate. He was also given letters of congratulations from U.S. Senator Tim Scott and U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham. Special guests at the event included S. C. Sen. Dwight Loftis (R-Greenville), S. C. Rep. Bobby Cox (R-Greenville), Greenville County Councilman Joe Dill, and Carolina Pregnancy Center Executive Director Alexia Newman.
Presiding over the recognition ceremony, NGU Board Chair Mandie Boyd also offered her perspective as a trustee and alumna of the university.
“Every once in a while, you see someone who reminds you of our Jesus and how he led,” said Boyd. “Those leaders love serving others when no one is looking. They are always considering the future landscape in their current decisions. They seek integrity in their daily lives, and they have a depth of character that goes beyond the stage. They guard their hearts against pride, and they seek humility. They put together a team of like-minded servants to accomplish the purpose and then continually challenge them to growth. Over the past five years I’ve seen Dr. Fant embody everything I just spoke about.”
Earlier in September, Councilman Dill presented Dr. Fant a Greenville County Council proclamation recognizing his “academic contribution to the Greenville Community,” and proclaiming September 6, 2022, as “Dr. Gene C. Fant, Jr. Day” in Greenville County.
Following the Chapel service, Dr. and Mrs. Fant were guests of honor at a “Picnic Celebration” inside the university’s Todd Dining Hall. They were greeted by students, faculty, and staff during the lunchtime event, and the campus community was served a special celebration cake noting “Five FANTastic Years.”
The week’s activities kicked off with a private dinner for the Fants hosted by NGU trustees. That included words of appreciation from several board members, including those who served on the presidential search committee which recommended Dr. Fant for the university presidency in early 2017.
Trustee Ron Edwards, who served on the presidential search committee, noted Dr. Fant’s strengths in financial management, personal warmth and his success in enhancing national recognition of the university.
“During his time at North Greenville, he’s been able to reach beyond the Upstate of South Carolina and has been very successful at reaching states that we have not reached before,” Edwards said.
President Fant received a resolution of commendation, and Mrs. Fant received a bouquet of yellow roses from members of the university’s Christian Ministry Scholarship Fund (CMSF) during the group’s Tuesday dinner. CMSF Chair Tom Capps presented the framed document, which cited appreciation for Dr. Fant’s leadership in pursuing NGU’s core values of being Christ-centered, biblically faithful, academically excellent, and mission-focused.
“Dr. Fant’s first five years of leadership elevated North Greenville University’s academic, spiritual, community, state, and national profile, firmly establishing us as a leader in Christian higher education,” said Capps. “I can’t wait to see how God will continue to use him in the future as North Greenville fulfills its mission to equip transformational leaders for the church and for society.”
North Greenville faculty members hosted Dr. and Mrs. Fant for a Tuesday afternoon tea event during the week of celebration. Dr. Paul Thompson, who serves as the Dean of the College of Humanities and Sciences, thanked President Fant for his commitment and dedication.
“In my 16 years at North Greenville, there is nothing that I am more proud of than being on the committee that brought Dr. Fant to NGU,” Thompson said. “Dr. Fant is a blessing because he is an academic at heart. He loves teaching, scholarship, and writing. Since becoming president, he has worked to find ways to strengthen NGU’s academic footprint and build a sense of community among faculty and staff.”
The celebration culminated with a student tailgate event at North Greenville home football game versus the University of Findlay on Saturday. NGU students escorted President and Mrs. Fant from their home to the game.
“Lisa and I were deeply humbled by the recognitions from so many people,” President Fant said. “This community has been a gift from God to us, and we want to serve it well for a long time. God is at work in our midst on a daily basis, and we want to make sure that everyone understands that all good things flow from His blessings; we are merely servants to His leading.”