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Entering Year 100

Updated: Sep 18, 2022

While I still am stepping into the confidence of being titled as the SMU President, I want to officially extend a warm welcome, as President, to everybody who is reading this, and a prayer that SMU becomes a refuge, a safe place, and a launching pad for any and all who need it.


I would never have even considered that becoming the SMU President was in the Lord’s plan for me. I have often said that my 13 year old self who had heard about Biola and SMU from a friend at that young age would be thoroughly shocked to hear where I am now. When last year’s President first approached me about running for the position, I was filled with an overwhelming sense of fear, excitement, and confirmation of the small urges that I had been resisting for the months leading up to that moment. Since deciding to run, and eventually being elected, I have experienced the Lord’s hand in details down to the very minute and date. In a season of intense doubt, vulnerability, discomfort, and fear, He revealed himself as thoroughly faithful and intentional in every detail of my walk.


The verse that I have selected for this year and the desire I have to capture a year of hope, is Isaiah 43:19, which says, “Behold, I am doing a new thing. Now it springs up, do you not see? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the desert.” I have joked that I wish I had some exceptionally profound story in which I fasted for weeks and the Lord gave me this verse, but that was not the case. I was sitting at my desk, filling out the Presidential Application, and the verse immediately popped into my head. It had been a sweet verse to me over Covid in a season where I desperately needed hope to spring up like a garden in the desert that I was experiencing. I pondered and prayed over the verse, recognizing how sweetly it captures the essence of what we as a staff want to communicate to ourselves and the student body this year.


I believe this is a year of hope. I believe that the Lord is asking us to wait with childlike expectancy, the way a child trusts in their father, for what He is going to do this coming year. I believe the Lord will and is already demonstrating the ways in which He is bringing life out of what is dry and dead. I believe that He makes ways in the wilderness, clears the path before us, and crowns it with light and growth.


We as a staff are coming into SMU’s 100 YEAR ANNIVERSARY on Campus, which will be 2023. With this huge milestone comes both homage and reconciliation. Looking to the past gives us purpose, direction, and a sense of God’s faithfulness over the past 100+ years. However, looking to the past also requires us to take an honest and intentional look at what SMU has done in the past that needs to be repaired. We as a staff are wholly and fully committed to listening, to learning, to creating space, to advocating, and deeply desire to seek God’s hand in all of it. When we have failed in the past, God has still demonstrated faithfulness to this organization. When we have excelled, it has only been because of His loving kindness and graciousness.


My prayer is that our verse, Isaiah 43:19, both permeates the student body, and permeates each of our hearts as we see the way in which God makes ways in our wilderness. It is with deep, profound gratefulness and tears that I write this post, recognizing the weight of my position, but also knowing that I cannot do anything without my amazing staff, our countless volunteers, and you as the student body participating and supporting. We can do nothing without Jesus’ tender care to us. We live in the legacy of hundreds and thousands of people who have gone before us, and eagerly anticipate the SMU reunion on the other side of heaven, in which we will be completely reconciled to him, rejoicing and living in the ways that he has brought streams out of the desert.


In Him,

Lauren Kennedy

SMU President




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