1780 – The Official Blog of Transylvania University

1780 | The Official Blog of Transylvania University

Spanning the years and the globe: Overseas Barr Society induction surprises alumnus

people holding a pennant

Transylvania University alumni celebrating their 50th class reunion are inducted into the Robert Barr Society — typically at an annual event in Lexington.

Marty Voiers’ induction was anything but typical. The 1973 alumnus helped plan this year’s reunion dinner and gave the invocation, along with a message for his classmates, albeit virtually via video. The minister had wanted to be there in person this past weekend, but he had a scheduling conflict: He and his wife were part of a group traveling in Israel with emeritus professor of religion Paul Jones.

They were standing on the Mount of Olives overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem when something surprising happened. “I had no idea what was going on until Dr. Jones took off his outer shirt revealing a Transy T-shirt and then proceeded to pull out my pin and offer words of induction,” Voiers said.

Before retiring four years ago, Jones led numerous May term class trips to Israel — a life-altering experience for some Transylvania students.

The school’s office of alumni and development helped coordinate the surprise for Voiers, who’s also a volunteer firefighter in Flemingsburg, Kentucky.

Now he’s also a member of the society named after Robert Barr, Transylvania’s first graduate in 1802. In addition to the Alumni Weekend class reunion, members also attend events like lifelong learning sessions and lunch with student leaders.

This iconic spot overlooks the Dominus Flevit (“Lord Wept”) church and Dome of the Rock.