By: Jenny Gregory

Cleveland, GA – On Saturday, August 19, it was a great day to be a Truett McConnell University (TMU) Bear!

TMU students, employees, alumni, trustees and friends gathered Saturday morning to celebrate the opening of the multi-million dollar George Blaurock Student Wellness Center (SWC), the largest capital project undertaken in the history of TMU.

Attendees celebrated the opening of the 69,000 sq. ft. facility in front of the main entrance as Vice President of Student Services, Chris Eppling opened with prayer and recognition of attendees.

Dr. Emir Caner, President of TMU, thanked donors who made the building project possible. “On behalf of the students, I simply want to say thank you for being selfless in your giving.”

Caner acknowledged that our donors made a statement that they “want to raise up a generation of believers who will love the Lord Jesus with all their mind and souls.”

The president explained the meaning of the name George Blaurock, who was a martyr of the Christian faith. He reflected on the Anabaptist evangelist whose last months before his arrest and subsequent execution were spent preaching and planting churches in the mountains of southern Austria and northern Italy.

“It’s kind of full circle,” Caner explained, “that the university was also named after two preachers who had a heart for the mountains and wanted to raise up their own set of preachers who would go out and share the gospel.”

Caner requested the audience to “pray that, as this building is used for fellowship and recreation, that it’s also used to honor the Lord Jesus Christ. Maybe it’s under this roof that people will be saved.”

Justin Coalley, Director of Facilities and TMU alum, shared with the audience his excitement and gratitude to the Lord for the experience of being a part of the SWC construction. He also thanked the many contractors and donors who graciously gave gifts-in-kind in support of the massive project.

Dr. Gary Jarnagin, Director of Financial Development, concluded the program by thanking those who have “given, but most importantly, for the prayers.” Jarnagin then called forward those who would be sharing the honor of cutting the ribbon with him: TMU cabinet members Dr. Emir Caner, Chris Eppling and Dr. Joseph Wiegand, Director Justin Coalley and Board of Trustees (BOT) Chairman, Phillip Jones.

“This is the first time we have used these,” Jarnagin said as he held up the large scissors, “but I hope that it’s the first of many times that we’re going to be dedicating new buildings to glorify God and for the students here at Truett McConnell University.”

The ceremony concluded with instructions by Nate Bowen, Campus Recreation Coordinator, and a closing prayer of commitment by Dr. John Yarbrough, Director of Alumni Relations and Public Policy.

“It’s all about you, Father,” prayed Yarbrough. “This is your campus, your university. This is your building. Thank you for what you’ve provided and the ways you provided. As we commit this building to you…we pray that many…will discover their master.”

The celebration continued as the crowd toured the facility. Pastor Mike Dorough, BOT member shared how the new SWC will “propel us into the future. The experts have told us over the years, that if you don’t have something to keep the students here, you won’t be able to grow the school. Now, they have a place they can hang out and be proud of.”

Drew McCall, a freshman music major, shared “it’s absolutely amazing! My favorite part is the gym.”

Evangelist and BOT member Bucky Kennedy, thrilled about the opening, shared, “It’s a place where students can hang out, exercise and fellowship with one another, and I think it takes TMU from being a ‘suitcase college,’ to being a more effective university campus where students don’t have to leave to go find something to do. They can find it right here.”

Teagan Hendrix, one of the many student staff members for the SWC, said, “I think it’s a lot more than anyone ever expected. In fact, it’s better than everyone expected, it’s awesome!”

To watch the full ceremony and take a virtual guided tour through the SWC, visit


Jenny Gregory is the Content Manager for TMU.

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