2019 Senior Banquet Speech — Dr. Stacey Hibbs

For the 2019 BIC Senior Banquet, the BIC recognized Drs. Thomas and Stacey Hibbs for their extended service to both BIC and the Honors College. On July 1, Dean Thomas Hibbs will become President of the University of Dallas, having served as Dean of Baylor’s Honor’s College since 2003. We are incredibly grateful for Dean Hibbs’ service to Baylor and BIC, but there might not be as many who have known of the service of Dr. Stacey Hibbs during this same period. Dr. Stacey Hibbs has served as Lecturer in BIC, where she most recently taught World Cultures I, World Cultures IV, Social World I, and along with Dean Thomas Hibbs, the BIC Capstone course. We were grateful to have Dr. Stacey Hibbs with us for the Senior Recognition Banquet, where she offered the following comments.

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I would like to begin this evening, by apologizing in advance. For those of you who know me well, you know how much I dread large groups—at least there is no technology involved. Seriously, when I had to give large group presentations it was like an out-of-body experience—I never knew afterward what I had actually said. I also had interesting moments when I was watching other large group presentations, and I wonder if you ever had the same experience? Sometimes I would be watching and I would be distracted by very deep and important thoughts—Is Jason Whitlark a Jedi master? Chuck McDaniel is…the most collegial man in the world. Darn it, both of the Zori’s have better hair than I do! Wow, Stephen Jug has more costumes than I have clothes! And the inevitable—Mark Long is going to make me cry.

These random thoughts while BIC’ing lead me to something that I hope is a little more profound. My husband and I have been teaching a small contingent of your fellow BIC students in a capstone class on Friendship. One of the books we have been reading is C.S. Lewis’ the 4 loves. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the work, the four loves are Affection, Friendship, Eros, and Charity. And those are the subjects I would like to address tonight.

In BIC, affection arises naturally through shared experience. You all were randomly brought together and thrust into a common curriculum. You learned to extend grace to those of us who are graceless—can Hibbs even use technology? And We learned to tolerate your little idiosyncrasies as well—without naming names, some of you required a little bit of extra patience and attention—you know who you are. Yet, we bear with each other out of affection. We are part of the BIC.

In BIC, you have also experienced friendship. As Lewis puts it, friendship is ‘that luminous, tranquil, rational world of relationships freely chosen.” Your individuality leads you to seek out those who share a particular interest, who are “travelers on the same quest.” Friendship asks the profound question, “Do you see the same truth?” When you find friends, you will “fight beside them, read with them, argue with them, and pray with them.” Friendships are forged in the BIC.

Some of you will have found erotic love in the BIC—not the random search for physical pleasure, but a search for the beloved—the one you will marry. This is your partner in life. Two immortal souls drawn together for a good greater than the self. And, if you find yourself in need of an officiant—the BIC can provide this as well—see Sarah Walden.

Finally, Lewis speaks of the need-love and gift love that is informed by God himself—and it is a love that involves transformation and brokenness. It involves “forbearance, tolerance, and forgiveness.” Charity. How do we draw nearer to God and to others? What is required of us to do so? As Lewis puts it, “We shall draw nearer to God, not by trying to avoid the sufferings inherent in all loves, but by accepting them and offering them to Him; throwing away all defensive armor. If our hearts need to be broken, and if he chooses this as the way in which they should break, so be it.”

The BIC may have broken your heart—the empty chairs that are here—friends like David and Noah—who are not.

And now if I could have all of the BIC faculty and staff stand and remain standing.

And, now it is time to move on. It is fitting and proper for you to do so. And it is fitting and proper for us to let you—our reward as teachers is to be able to say with confidence, to paraphrase Lewis, you need us no longer.

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