Bob Skelton

Well-known Christian leader Rev. Bob Skelton is returning to Shorter University’s Christmas on the Hill President’s Gala for a second year.

The Rev. Bob Skelton is returning to Shorter University’s Christmas on the Hill President’s Gala for a second year.

Skelton, who was the featured speaker at the inaugural event in 2018, will be master of ceremonies for the 2019 gala on Dec. 5, in the Winthrop-King Centre.

Skelton credits Shorter for bringing him and his wife to Northwest Georgia. “I was in South Carolina at an event recruiting for Belmont, and I began talking with Dr. Kankakee Anderson, who was there representing Shorter,” he recalled. “We enjoyed our time talking. The next day I received a call from Dr. Randall Minor, the president of Shorter. He said, ‘We want to hire you to come to Shorter to be our director of admissions.’”

Skelton and his wife, Vicky, happily made the move to Rome where he headed Shorter’s admissions efforts for several years.

Since moving to Rome, Skelton has served in ministry as a pastor, minister of education and interim pastor at area churches. He also became founding director of the WinShape Foundation.

Joining him on this year’s program is Shorter alumnus Cliff Duren, who serves as Worship Pastor at First Baptist Church in Woodstock. Duren arranges, orchestrates, and produces music resources for various publishers while also producing various artist recordings and has won three Dove Awards for his contributions to church music ministry resources.

Duren returned to First Baptist, Woodstock, earlier this year as the head of the church’s music ministry.

Cliff became a Christian at age 17 and soon after pursued a music education degree from Shorter University and a master’s degree in church music from Lee University. In 2014, Duren released his first instrumental record, “Tune My Heart: Hymns of Worship Featuring Piano and Orchestra. In 2016, he released a follow-up record, “Tune My Heart: Christmas.”

All proceeds from the event benefit Shorter’s Student Scholarship Fund.

“Supporters of the Gala truly impact the lives of our students as proceeds from the event go to fund student scholarships,” said Shorter University President Don Dowless. “Almost all of our traditional students receive financial aid, and for the majority of that group, scholarships make it possible for them to attend Shorter.”

Shorter University is offering sponsorship packages for the event, which may be purchased by calling 706-292-3900 or online at

“We have a number of sponsorship levels available, and we invite businesses, corporations, and individuals to partner with us in making a Shorter education available for an even greater number of students,” said Ben Bruce, Shorter’s Vice President of University Advancement. “We’ve put together sponsorship packages with benefits ranging from reserved seating to being featured on the event webpage and on screen at the event.”

In addition, general admission tickets are available for $50 each.

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