Mizpah Gate Ornament

Historical Structure Featured in Gift for Donors
October 29, 2020

KEENE, TEX. – Earlier this year, Southwestern Adventist University introduced the first in a series of Christmas ornaments featuring buildings and structures from its campus. These ornaments celebrate the university’s history and are being given as gifts to individuals who commit to donate $250 a year or more. Each year, a new ornament will be added to the collection and will feature a different campus icon.

The Mizpah Gate, known as the historic campus entrance, was selected to be the first structure featured as a Christmas ornament for this ongoing series. The gate is located at the south entrance of campus and was originally a gift from the Class of 1937 of what was then called Southwestern Junior College. It was marked as a Texas Historic Landmark in 2009.

“I am excited to be able to give this ornament to our donors to thank them for their generosity,” shares Director of Advancement Jonathan Seitz. “I also love the idea of all of us that love SWAU displaying memories on our Christmas tree together every year. My hope is that when we hang this Mizpah ornament we will remember what it represents and that God really is watching over us, especially in these uncertain times.”

The name Mizpah, which translates to “watchtower”, comes from the passage in Genesis 31:49 known as The Mizpah Prayer: “May the Lord keep watch between you and me when we are away from each other.” The name serves as a reminder that God watches over students, faculty, staff and alumni whether they are on campus or far away. 

“As a student, I didn’t spend much time thinking about what the Mizpah Gate represents,” says Michael Agee, Southwestern Union College alum and current Department of Communication Chair. “As an older alum, and now a faculty member, I have come to think of the gate as a symbol of the life-changing work done every day on campus. The faculty and students I encountered here years ago altered the trajectory of my life significantly. I am a different person now because of the relationships built here at SWAU. Now, as a faculty member, I am blessed to be able to build relationships with another generation of young people–young people I have come to love almost as much as my own sons. My daily prayer is that He gives me the words and opportunities to nudge my ‘kids’ along the course He has planned for their lives. ‘The Lord watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another’ has a much deeper meaning for me now as I send my kids off into the world.” 

The generosity of donors who share in the mission of a Christ-centered education is greatly appreciated. While Christmas is just weeks away, it’s not too late to make a difference in a student's life and to reserve your ornament. Details at SWAU.edu/ornament. 

By Brisa Ramirez

Social Media Manager