Wesleyan is pleased to announce that High School Principal, Tim Rickman, recently received a distinctive recognition from his alma mater, Southern Wesleyan University (SWU). In Latin, the term “Honoris Causa” is often used to recognize an unusual set of accomplishments and contributions someone has made in their field of expertise; it means, “for the cause of honor.” Tim received the honorary Doctorate of Pedagogy at Southern Wesleyan’s December graduation ceremony. To those of us who know Tim well, we would all agree with Dr. Todd Voss, President of the university, as he commended him “for a lifetime of commitment to the purpose and mission of K-12 Christian education, for his exemplary character and pursuit of excellence in all that he does, and for his passion in impacting the world for Christ.”
Mr. Rickman was also given the opportunity to speak at Southern Wesleyan’s graduation ceremonies for both the traditional and adult evening and online programs. Just as he often challenges the students at Wesleyan, he challenged the SWU graduates to, “Serve the Lord, give your life, make Him first place in your life.” He also instructed them to “always give more than they can get” even at work when they may not receive payment for the additional things they have done. The final reminder he had for the Class of 2017 was that in life, “there will be tough times, but God will be with you, but also there will be great times, and God will be with you.” With a tender spirit and heart, he shared his own experience of God’s grace as he and Patti walked through the unexpected passing of their son, Lee. As many of you have witnessed through them in this incredible loss, we all can attest to the stronger faith in God’s sovereignty and courage which has been solidified in our own lives as a testament to their faithfulness and strength.
Tim’s mission has always been focused on the academic and spiritual advancement for students under his care. In 1995, after working for 15 years in the public school system in North Carolina, he accepted the high school principal position at Wesleyan, where he is fulfilling his greatest passion. After all his years at Wesleyan, this passion has remained constant. From the day he arrived, the school quickly grew dear to his heart. His daughter, Jenny, recently stated, “He not only has played a significant role in the growth of the school; but more importantly, he has played a huge part in students’ lives being changed forever. He has a deep love for his high school students as though they are his very own.” Wesleyan is indebted to Mr. Rickman for his leadership, as during his tenure we have watched enrollment in the high school consistently increase; the number of Advanced Placement courses offered has also substantially increased across all core disciplines. The graduation rate is 100%, and the fine arts and athletic programs have experienced a noteworthy expansion and are widely recognized. I cannot adequately convey Tim’s significance and impact on untold thousands of kids and families and our community. Doing things right and doing things well for the Lord is a footprint that Tim’s legacy will have on us for years to come. Beyond his responsibilities as high school principal, he is often regarded and respected in our community as the energy behind many of the achievements the Lord has chosen to confer on our school.
In nearly 25 years of serving as high school principal at Wesleyan, Mr. Rickman has seen thousands of alumni take on their own calling in roles such as teachers, engineers, doctors, lawyers, and so many more professions. As he stated in a recent SWU publication, his greatest joy of being principal is to help students fulfill our vision, To Know and Live the Truth.
We congratulate “Dr. Rickman” for receiving such a well-deserved honor and are reminded once again how the Lord chooses to use humble servants to accomplish what he desires. We look forward with anticipation to see how God will continue to use him, and all of our gifted staff, to best equip every student to influence the world for the cause of Christ.
If you would like to hear Tim's message to the graduates, please click here.
Dr. Rob Brown
Head of School