CU gives awards to Dr. Jarvis Williams and Perry Thomas

October 6, 2011
For Immediate Release

By Joan C. McKinney, news and publications coordinator

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – A coach and a professor were honored at Campbellsville University’s kick-off luncheon for the month-long celebration of the university’s 13th annual Dialogue on Race.


Dr. Jarvis Williams, assistant professor of New Testament and Greek, and Perry Thomas, CU Fighting Tiger football coach, were presented the Racial Reconciliation Award and African American Community Leadership Award, respectively.

Williams, who has taught at CU since January 2008, said following the luncheon, “I’m so thankful to our Lord for the efforts to emphasize the Dialogue on Race. I’m thankful for the opportunity to participate today, and I’m absolutely shocked and thankful for the award that you gave to me.”

Williams discussed his new book, “One New Man: The Cross and Racial Reconciliation in Pauline Theology” (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2010), for which he has received national recognition.

“I’m quite surprised (though very thankful) for the way the book is generating interest throughout the U.S. Most importantly, I’m so thankful to play a small part in advancing the fame of His name by proclaiming the gospel of racial reconciliation to whomever will listen.”

Williams said the reason racism exists is sin and the resolution is the gospel. He said racism is a universal problem. He quoted from Romans 5:12-21 and said Adam’s sin is the problem and Jesus is the solution or provision for racial reconciliation.

Williams said, if possible, ethnic diversity will be present when racial reconciliation is practiced, but ethnic diversity doesn’t necessarily mean that one believes in racial reconciliation.

He said we should all love each other and should reach out to those who “don’t look like you, sound like you or smell like you.”

Williams received a bachelor of science in biblical studies from The James P. Boyce College in 2000. Williams received his Ph.D. in 2007 from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Williams also has a master of theology and a master of divinity from SBTS and a bachelor of science from the James P. Boyce College.

Perry Thomas has served as head football coach at CU since January 2008.

Thomas is the first African-American head football coach in the history of football at Campbellsville University and is one of the first in Kentucky. He was a head coach at the university level prior to the three African-American head coaches at NCAA Division 1 universities in Kentucky – Western Kentucky University, the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville.

John Chowning, vice president for church and external relations and executive assistant to the president, who was host for the luncheon, presented the awards and said Thomas is a strong leader and builds young men in life as well as football.

Thomas said every football program begins with the intentional teaching of the game, but it isn’t about the winning of games but the blessing of young men.

After the luncheon, Thomas said, “I feel really blessed to work here at CU. I’m very fortunate to work in an environment that is all about building people. We are very fortunate to have administrative leaders and trustees that have great vision for the growth of this university and the total development of the students here.”

Thomas has also coached at Allen County-Scottsville High School, Campbellsville High School and Paducah Tilghman High School.

Thomas has been named District and/or Region Coach of the Year nine times during his career and was named the 1993 and 1997 Kentucky Class A Coach of the Year by the Courier-Journal. He is a five-time coaching staff member of the Kentucky vs. Tennessee All-Star Team and was the Head Coach of the Kentucky All-Stars in 2006.

Thomas was also a National Finalist for the American Football Coaches Association “Power of Influence” Award in 2005 and 2006 and received the Joe Russell Distinguished Leadership Award from the Western Kentucky Conference in 2003 and 2006.

Dr. Mary Wilgus, dean of the CU College of Arts and Sciences, is in charge of the Dialogue on Race sessions, which began in 1999. Multiracial groups meet to discuss various issues on race, and sessions will be held this month and end with a discussion by Williams on Nov. 4.

Wilgus calls racial reconciliation a “passion” of hers, and she grew up in a multi-cultural neighborhood where people shared and suffered equally.

“We are enriched by our differences. Dialogue on Race engages our students and encourages them to think through their differences.”

Dr. Joe Owens, vice chair of the CU Board of Trustees who is a 1977 graduate of CU and who is senior pastor at Shiloh Baptist Church in Lexington, was the guest speaker for the kick off of Dialogue on Race.

He spoke at the university’s chapel service, and, at the luncheon, he told the attendees that Dialogue on Race initiatives, and those like Dialogue on Race, make a difference in lives.

He said, “Campbellsville University intentionally does things like this.” He said a single student, staff member or faculty can do damage, but they can also do positive things. He urged everyone to “make the atmosphere positive.”

Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with over 3,000 students offering 63 undergraduate options, 17 master’s degrees, five postgraduate areas and eight pre-professional programs. The website for complete information is



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