Passing It On


Published in the Spring 2017 edition of Asbury University’s Ambassador Magazine

During their freshman year at Asbury, Caleb ‘06 and Christy Lee ’06 Swaringen were strangers who found themselves working together in the Z.T. Johnson Cafeteria. “I worked the salad bar and she worked the sandwich bar,” Caleb said — the ultimate Asbury meet-cute.

Christy & Caleb Swaringen Asbury University Alumni, ’06

A little more than 10 years have passed since their graduation, and the Swaringens are now married and living with their three children in Texas. Caleb teaches sixth-grade reading and writing at a charter school and Christy stays home with the kids while working as a freelance graphic designer.

Caleb and Christy say they were shepherded well while at Asbury. They were able to learn the importance of community while being mentored by the people around them. As alumni, the Swaringens are now interested in making that kind of transformative education possible for future Asburians.

For that reason, they continue to support Asbury through prayer, participation in Reunion, other alumni events and by giving financially. Last year, at their 10th Asbury Reunion, Caleb and Christy contributed to the Reunion Class Gift to help support current and future Asbury students.

“We are glad to give,” said Christy. “Any little thing that we are able to give back to Asbury pales in comparison to everything that it gave us — without a doubt.”

Among the gifts Asbury gave the Swaringens are lifelong friends — many of whom came back for last year’s Reunion. “My Asbury friends just get me,” said Christy. She mentioned that the bonds developed while at Asbury have become friendships that are truthful, loving and free of judgment. Though the years and distance make it difficult to remain in touch with every college friend, Christy described seeing these friends as “picking up where we left off.”

Christy and Caleb also credit their time at Asbury with laying the foundation for Christ-centered community. Christy and Caleb experienced community at Asbury in a way they hadn’t before — dorm life, praise nights, Bible studies and prayer events all played a formative role in cultivating that sense of community. “We can see pieces of our Asbury experience in our lives today,” said Christy.

Honoring the Past with Gifts for the Future



Published in the Spring 2015 edition of Asbury University’s Ambassador Magazine

If you’ve seen the films “Pan’s Labyrinth,” “Batman Returns,” “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer” or TNT Network’s popular television show “Falling Skies,” you’ve seen Doug Jones. He is a versatile Hollywood actor who often finds himself behind masks or heavy make-up, playing fantasy characters in dozens of films.

Recently, Doug and his wife, Laurie, decided to fund an endowed scholarship at Asbury University in memory of his grandfather, Dr. Ezra “E.T.” Franklin, and Doug’s mother, Miriam. Though Doug and Laurie are both graduates of a different university, his family has a long history at Asbury.

In addition to his grandfather, three great uncles and a great aunt are Asbury alumni. On a visit to campus, Doug sought out their photos in the basement of Hughes Auditorium and recounted the story of how his grandfather graduated from Asbury College in 1903, and after further education returned to Asbury to fill the position of what, today, would be the position of Academic Dean. The great uncles all became Methodist ministers.

In order to honor this family legacy, Doug and Laurie have established the Doug Jones Scholarship for Cinema and Theatre Performance. This scholarship will be awarded annually to Asbury students who dream of acting professionally and who choose to begin pursuing their dreams at the university level. Doug loves to interact with young actors and encourage them in their craft. Asbury students attending a semester in Hollywood have heard him share from his experiences and he hopes to be able to serve as a mentor to the recipients of the scholarship.

When Doug was first starting out, he ran into some challenges. During this time, an actor by the name of Armand Cerami, best known for his role in the film “Blues Brothers,” took Jones out to lunch and picked up the check. Cerami was more experienced and was able to give Jones both artistic advice and encouragement. Jones recounted that during this short lunch meeting, he felt very well taken care of. He would always say, “Whenever I get to that position, I want people who are with me — for even an hour or two — to feel taken care of.”

Through the endowed scholarship, the Jones’ hope to help young actors succeed, but more specifically hope to encourage people of faith to enter the world of media. “It is not only the family legacy that keeps my heart tied to Asbury,” Doug said, “but also the Christian community.” Having witnessed the faith and talent of Asbury students, he believes they are able to become culture-changers for Christ.

Helping Hands: Several Asburians Work Together to Secure a Student’s College Dream


From the Fall 2014 edition of Asbury University’s Ambassador Magazine

Susannah Hall is a freshman from Frankfort, Ky. studying Biology with plans to go into medicine. This time last year, however, Asbury did not seem like an option for her. Hall has found herself rising against the odds due to God’s goodness, generous aid and attentive, prayerful Asburians who have reached out to help.

A home-schooled student who lived not far from Wilmore, Hall enrolled in Asbury Academy, a program specially designed for high school students looking for a challenge and hoping to earn college credit. Hall’s experience with the Academy program — and its director, Kim Okesson — was a good one, and as she searched for an education, she kept feeling drawn back to Asbury. However, Hall’s family had special circumstances regarding financial aid, which made it impossible for them to apply for state and/or federal assistance.

Continuing to pursue Asbury, Hall participated in Asbury’s scholarship weekend and received an academic scholarship. She reached out to Asbury’s Financial Aid Office to explore other options and was able to earn swimming and piano scholarships. The final piece fell into place when a recording of a speech she gave during the scholarship weekend was heard by the University administration, who felt an additional scholarship and grant might be possible.

Hall was overwhelmed by the efforts of people at Asbury to make college an option. She was drawn to the smaller size, community and the intentional, Christian atmosphere she saw Asbury professors create in the classroom.

“The entire Asbury community really cares about the students and are passionate about them learning and not falling behind,” Hall said.

Currently, Hall finds herself involved in a number of activities on campus. She excels in her classes, is on the swim team, plays piano under the direction of Dr. Don Zent, works as the publicist for her class cabinet, performs with a handbell trio and participates in various other groups on campus. Hall remains grateful for the way God worked through Asbury’s faculty and staff to secure her place as a member of the Asbury community.