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Burgin: Be Like Pencil to Find Purpose

Jeffery Burgin-128-XLDr. Jeffrey Burgin shared his enthusiasm about Belmont with faculty, staff and students during a motivational message  he delivered for Friday’s Chapel in Neely Dining Hall.

“If we can come together, know that something special is going to happen in this place called Belmont University. It’s our purpose and our calling,” said Burgin, who is in his second month as Belmont’s associate provost and dean of students.

“God uses this place in your life to enhance you. How amazing is it that all of you come here to pursue various degrees thinking, ‘I’m going to be a musician. I’m going to be a doctor.’ We all are going to have a different purpose than we may have expected in our lives,” he said.

From the Bible’s two Josephs, Burgin pointed to lessons he has learned regarding purpose. From Jesus’ earthly father Joseph, he gathered that the University’s faculty, staff and administrators are accountable for the way they impact the lives they touch.

“As God was with (Jacob’s son) Joseph, he too is with you. Students, things may be difficult in class, but he’s got you,” he said.

Every person at chapel received a No. 2 pencil to remind them of their purpose despite life’s circumstances. Burgin told the story of an Italian pencil maker who believed in order for pencils to be their best, they must allow themselves to be guided by the hands that hold them. Similarly, students should allow God to guide them to use campus resources, he said.

Burgin’s other lessons from the pencil were for students to welcome painful sharpening to make themselves better, to leave their marks on the world and to correct their mistakes.

“There may be a time that you are broken. Know that what is inside of you is most important,” Burgin said pointing to the lead inside a pencil snapped in half. “Even when broken, God can use you.”

Since December Burgin has served as the chief student affairs officer for Belmont, exercising broad oversight over the University’s student affairs programs and operations. He is responsible for fostering the building of community among students and between student groups while empowering the staff and students in the Division of Student Affairs to be effective educators and leaders for student success.