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Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee spoke about the importance of Christian education at Union’s 17th Annual Scholarship Banquet Oct. 7 at the Carl Perkins Civic Center in Jackson.
“The reason I am here tonight is because I am the product of a liberal arts Christian school,” Huckabee said.
Huckabee is an alumnus of Ouachita Baptist University in Arkansas. He said that his college experience, comparable to Union, was life-changing as it prepared him intellectually and spiritually to be a leader in society.
Huckabee said the best government is led by self-governed citizens governed by their morals and personal responsibilities. Here intellect is matched with convictions that leave a stable society.
Huckabee challenged students and adults in the audience to use their lives or lose them, emphasizing the importance of investing in students financially. Huckabee said life well-lived is one that God admonishes with the words in Matthew 25:23, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
“If we prepare students for those six words, nothing else really matters,” Huckabee said.
Jerry Tidwell, senior vice president for university relations and athletics, said he has great respect for this year’s keynote speaker.
“We want to expose the Jackson community to as many world leaders as possible,” Tidwell said.
Tidwell said more than $200,000 is expected to be raised for the general scholarship fund this year.
Huckabee’s political experience and personal character, as shown through his role in fighting political corruption and as evidenced in his book “Character is the Issue,” attracted Tidwell to invite Huckabee as Union’s 2014 guest speaker.
Sean Evans, associate professor of political science and department chair, said Huckabee is different from typical conservatives.
“He’s willing to use government to support education, he was concerned about obesity [when governor of Arkansas], he sees we need to reduce taxes,” Evans said. “He’s someone who lets his faith influence his politics.”
As 44th Governor of Arkansas serving two terms from 1996 to 2007, Huckabee’s influence evidenced itself through tax cuts, job creation, improvements to the state’s road system, education reform and health reform. He is a host for the weekend Huckabee show on Fox News Channel and is heard on the radio daily on The Huckabee Report, which airs on more than 600 stations across the nation. Running for the Presidency in 2008, he finished as the second nominated candidate to John McCain. An author of 11 books, with the 12th to be released in January, Huckabee lives in Florida with his wife, Janet.