Once again standing before students in Palm Beach Atlantic University’s DeSantis Family Chapel, former PBA President Dr. Paul Corts asked those in attendance to stand up and look around them.
“This is holy ground. This is really, really holy ground,” he said. “There’s not a chance it could have been here had God not intervened and caused everything to come together to make it a great reality.”
Dr. Corts, who was president of PBA from 1991 to 2002 and who went on to become president of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, kicked off Homecoming weekend by telling current students two stories about PBA, including about how the chapel came to be built.
He began by referencing the apostle Paul’s advice to Timothy, when the older man advised the younger to remind people not to despise youth.
There is a tendency for people to think that the college years are a time to experiment and have a good time, he said. However, “don’t throw away your life. These are crucial years. You’re going to look back and they’re going to be great years,” he said.
“What I think Paul was encouraging Timothy to do was to walk closely with the Lord, to get into a relationship and stay in a relationship in which every aspect of life is connected with his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. And that’s good advice for all of us, isn’t it?”
During Dr. Corts’s time at PBA, the DeSantis Family Chapel was built and the Lloyd L. Gregory School of Pharmacy was founded. In both instances, God’s plans took precedence over those of man, he said.
For instance, Carl DeSantis, the businessman who made a contribution to pay for construction of the chapel, initially wanted to help the University build a parking garage, Dr. Corts said. However, when Dr. Corts met with DeSantis to discuss that proposal, the conversation turned to spiritual matters and eventually to the idea of building the chapel, he said.
“If we’re walking with the Lord, if we’re trying to stay in strong communication with our Lord, He guides our path,” Dr. Corts said. “It might not be the path we intended to take. There might be some diversions. He’ll open doors. He’ll close doors,” he said.
“You live for Christ today, you make a commitment that you’re going to be in a walk with the Lord, and you will be amazed with the incredible, exciting, wonderful, unbelievable things that God will give you the opportunity to experience.”
A few years later, Dr. Corts said, a group of trustees began exploring the possibility of adding a professional school to PBA, which eventually led to the Gregory School of Pharmacy.
When the Gregory family, the school's eventual benefactors, arrived to meet with Dr. Corts and PBA administration, the agenda quickly changed from what the presenters had planned, he said. But the outcome was positive nonetheless.
“I think God was trying to teach us that we need to do all we possibly can. But God was also trying to teach us” that we're not the ones making things happen, it's Him, he said.
A human video performance by PBA theatre students preceded Dr. Corts’s talk. He will speak in chapel again on Thursday. For a schedule of Homecoming events, visit www.pba.edu/homecoming.