CIU Supporters Honored with Renaming of Residence Hall

September 09, 2016

By Bob Holmes

The Columbia International University men’s residence hall that faces west has never had a real name – except West. But that changed on Sept. 8 when it was announced at the end of a Chapel service that the hall is now named Cassels Residence Hall in honor of a couple who have been generous, faithful CIU supporters.

William T. Cassels Jr., the chairman of Southeastern Freight Lines in Lexington, South Carolina, and his wife Charlotte had surprised looks on their faces as they were called to the stage of Shortess Chapel following a message by their son Tobin Cassels, the president of Southeastern Freight Lines and a CIU board member.

Concerned that the humility of the elder Cassels would keep them from accepting the honor, CIU President Bill Jones invited the couple to campus to hear their son give the Chapel message, but told them nothing else.

“That was a powerful message, but it was a setup, Mr. Cassels,” Jones joked as William and Charlotte were escorted on to the stage to be recognized. “Tobin, thank you for being bait,” Jones added, bringing laughter from the student body.  

Jones then choked back tears as he recalled how a member of the student worship band prayed before Chapel, “God, thank you for blessing us as students through Mr. and Mrs. Cassels. God, would you bless them, so they can bless other people?”   

Jones noted that most of the recent residence hall renovations were funded by the Cassels bringing a long round of applause from the student body. A photo of the couple that will reside in the lobby of the Cassels Residence Hall was unveiled. It includes the words:

Because of Mr. and Mrs. Cassels’ generosity, CIU has grown in its ability to fulfill its mission of “educating people from a biblical worldview to impact the nations with the message of Christ.”

Below that is the Scripture:

From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. Luke 12:48b

Before he would exit Shortess for a lunch with family and other guests, William Cassels asked for the microphone because as he put it, “I could not leave you without saying thank you. We have such a respect for this institution. It’s overwhelming.”

Then addressing the student body he added, “We have the most respect for those of you sitting out there. You are earnestly seeking what God wants you to do with your life and for Him. We respect you so much. It’s just a great blessing to be a part of this institution.”

The Cassels family involvement with CIU goes back decades. In an earlier Chapel, Jones told students that as a young man William Cassels drove his mother around the campus so she could pray for the students and deliver cookies that she had baked for them.