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H.H. Hamilton, president of the College from 1935-1944, designed the Mizpah Gate and supervised the student laborers who constructed it. The name "Mizpah," which means "watchtower," has symbolic significance. The term is taken from Genesis 31:49 RSV: "The Lord watch between you and me, when we are absent one from the other." The form of the Mizpah Gate is also said to resemble a monogram of Hamilton's initials: HHH.
At the time of construction and for several decades, the gate's central portal served as an entrance to the fenced campus. Smaller passageways on each side served a symbolic function at matriculation and graduation. New students entered the campus by the gate, symbolizing their resolve to prepare for a life of service to God and humanity. Graduating students marched through the gate to symbolize that they were prepared to carry their knowledge from their alma mater to the ends of the earth.
Currently the oldest structure on campus, the Mizpah Gate is no longer used as a campus entrance, or in ceremonies. However, it remains a symbol of the spiritual and social goals for generations of students and alumni. It reminds campus and community residents of the hope that the friendships formed on Southwestern Adventist's campus, later to be forged into international careers, will one day be renewed. The Mizpah Gate is in a good state of preservation.
Hadley, Mary Ann, ed. A Chronicle of Southwestern Adventist College. Keene, TX: Southwestern ColorGraphics, 1994.
Southwestern Union Record, May 19, 1937 and June 2, 1937. Southwestern Adventist University, Keene, TX.
Syme, Eric D. "A History of Southwestern Junior College, 1894-1958." M. A. thesis, American University, 1959.