Maurice inaugurated as MACU president

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Newly inaugurated Mid-Atlantic Christian University President John Maurice (right) waves to the crowd as MACU Board of Trustees Chairman Gregory D. Hand applauds during Maurice's inauguration ceremony at the Blanton Campus Life Center at MACU, Thursday evening.


By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Mid-Atlantic Christian University celebrated John Maurice Thursday as “the right person at the right time” to lead the private Christian university.

Maurice, who was named MACU’s fourth president in its 70-year history in February, was officially inaugurated in that role Thursday night.

The event included a who’s who of leaders in local higher education as MACU’s two living former presidents, William Griffin and Clay Perkins, were on hand along with interim Elizabeth City State University Chancellor Karrie Dixon, retiring ECSU Chancellor Thomas Conway, and College of The Albemarle President Robert Wynegar.

MACU professor Ronnie J. Woolard, noting Maurice’s background as a Navy chaplain, suggested that the central image of Maurice as MACU president is “captain of the ship.” Woolard, who has served under all four MACU presidents, said each of the presidents had brought unique gifts: Founder George W. BonDurant was the “patriarch,” William A. Griffin was the “wise older brother,” and Clay Perkins was the “CEO.”

After citing a few ship captains from history, including John Paul Jones of “I have not yet begun to fight” fame, Woolard suggested the “captain” most like Maurice might have been Noah, the figure in Genesis who built the Ark and steered it through the waters of the great flood. Noah faced “unprecented skepticism and scorn” and “faithfully pleaded with a corrupt generation, ‘Repent!’ — until God himself closed the door,” Woolard said.

Maurice, a graduate of MACU and of Cincinnati Christian Seminary, said in brief remarks at Thursday’s inauguration that MACU “is a place that I love and that I feel privileged to serve.”

“Tonight all of us are a part of the Mid-Atlantic Christian University family,” Maurice said. “Thank you, family.”

Maurice thanked his wife and children for their support and sacrifice during his military career and throughout his ministry.

He said some had asked why the event was held on a Thursday night.The answer, he said, was so that students could attend.

“I love you guys,” Maurice said, addressing the students who attended the ceremony.

“God is doing an amazing work through his Holy Spirit on this campus,” Maurice said.

Maurice, MACU’s former vice president for institutional advancement who was named interim president last summer, cited recent articles suggesting “college president” might be the hardest job in the country.

“I am neither a savior nor a martyr,” Maurice said.

So why serve? he asked.

He said the answer for him comes from something Bob Smith, a MACU professor, said in a recent conversation. Maurice said Smith told him MACU serves “something big enough to live for and big enough to die for,” which is the Kingdom of God.

“That’s why,” Maurice said, circling back to the “why serve?” question.

Maurice said as long as he is at MACU the school will never waiver in its partnership to serve the church and will pursue excellence in all things.

The crowd honored Maurice with two standing ovations during the ceremony: the first when William C. McCracken, search committee chairman, announced that Maurice was the unanimous selection as president by the Board of Trustees, and the second when Board of Trustees Chairman Gregory D. Hand announced that Maurice had been officially invested with the authority of the office of president. Hand’s announcement came after Maurice publicly reaffirmed his commitment to the university’s Statement of Faith.

Emily O’Connor, president of the MACU student body, said Maurice has a big heart for MACU students and is a perfect fit for the institution.

Bane Angles, pastor of First Christian Church of Roanoke Rapids, which is Maurice’s home church, said the congregation had encouraged Maurice to attend MACU when it was time for him to go to college.

Larry Prescott, an elder at Broad Creek Christian Church in New Bern, which Maurice served early in his ministry, said Maurice inspired children and youth to have a closer walk with the Lord.

Capt. Jim Denley, who served alongside Maurice as a Navy chaplain, said he appreciated the service Maurice provided to sailors.

“MACU, thank you for giving up John,” Denley said. “And John, thank you for all you have done.”

Jay Hardison, representing MACU alumni, said the university’s graduates appreciate Maurice’s dedication to Jesus Christ, high view of God’s Word and love for local churches.