Across the past several months I have observed politicians and pundits prognosticate regarding the health and stability of our country. Some look backward, assessing causes and effects; some look forward, projecting outcomes and rebounds. We would all agree that these economic times have caused us to step back and consider our own place in all of this and the promise of 2010 and beyond.
I have been President of NNU for 20 months. During this brief span, my colleagues and I have also looked back and looked forward at the effect of these times. I want to take a moment to provide some insight and perspective on the health, position and promise of NNU—captured in three verbs.
To Thrive—I have had the opportunity to know NNU’s people and programs, and I am so pleased that in God’s providence I have come to serve at a place that is thriving! Over these last months, NNU has and continues to enjoy its largest enrollment in the school’s history, enrolling nearly 2,000 degree-seeking students. These young men and women have joined us to participate in a wide assortment of high-caliber academic programs delivered by teacher-scholars who are adept at their craft. This is possible because the University is fiscally sound. NNU enjoys cash reserves that are a testament to the generous heart of people who have invested in the long-term vitality of the University. NNU is thriving!
To Commit—new presidents have the responsibility of guiding the university forward. I have had the privilege of reminding each of us of our covenant commitments. The University is committed to placing Jesus Christ at the center of who we are and all we do. Accordingly, we have heightened our emphasis on spiritual formation and servant leadership. Across the campus and across our curriculum, we seek to wed faith and reason; this is who we are, what we commit to be. We have also taken steps to review our internal effectiveness and efficiencies. We know we are called to be effective stewards of what has been entrusted to the university. Most importantly, we have made commitments to our current and incoming students. Despite global downturns in investments, we have reapportioned budgets and funds in order to make a record number of scholarships and grants available. NNU is committed!
To Reach—I have been engaged in higher education for over three decades. In that time I have come to observe that individuals and institutions that reach forward and look up, prosper. The University is looking toward its centennial in 2013 and is positioned to cope with the present and invest in the future. Consequently, NNU continues to expand. We are enjoying our new Thomas Family Health & Science Center and laying plans for future expansion. We have added to our majors a degree in engineering to position ourselves to prepare for jobs that don’t yet exist. Concurrent with this, we seek to make an NNU education an accessible investment. I believe an NNU education is a value-rich experience, that we work to make accessible to as many as would join us in investing in the development of the whole person—heart, soul, mind and strength. For this is what we truly reach for—a life lived in relationship with and service to Jesus Christ. NNU reaches for Him!
If you’d like to contribute to this conversation, please comment on his post or email president[at]nnu.edu. May 2010 be a year in which you sense God’s presence, guidance and blessings.