A view to justice and reconciliation
History professor Paul Otto was one of eight professors from Council for Christian Colleges & Universities institutions who traveled to South Africa to study the country’s history and work of justice and reconciliation.
The trip, with visits to Johannesburg and Cape Town, included sessions at which South African academics discussed the history of apartheid and the contemporary challenges facing South Africans.
Otto studied South African history as part of his doctoral studies and has taught the nation’s history since his arrival on campus in 2002, but this was his first visit to the country. “The greatest benefit was experiencing firsthand the landscape, the people, and their cultural imprint,” Otto says.
That was just the beginning. In September, Otto represented the university at a CCCU South Africa Interest Group meeting in Washington, D.C. There, delegates exchanged ideas and resources concerning semester-abroad opportunities and missions and development programs in the country.
Otto will return to South Africa in May, teaming with social work professor Cliff Rosenbohm to lead the university’s first Juniors Abroad trip to the country. Students will learn about the nation’s history, cultural and ethnic diversity, geography, environment, pressing social and health issues, and wildlife.
“We’re exploring options for making a semester-long program available to our students (in South Africa), so I’m interested in making contacts, learning about others’ interest in the country, and sharing my own knowledge and experience,” Otto says.
Art fund update
The former George Fox president and his wife, longtime advocates of fine art, were honored with the establishment of the David and Melva Brandt Art Collection Fund upon their retirement in June. The endowed fund is valued at more than $100,000 and will be used to build the university’s collection of visual art at multiple university sites.
“The goal is not only to enhance and beautify our campus sites visually, but to bring in pieces that can be an educational resource — art that departments like psychology or sociology can use for the basis of discussion,” says Tim Timmerman, chair of the visual arts department, who is chair of the selection committee. “We want art that is curious and visually engaging, and that enhances the George Fox community.”
Preference during the selection process will be given to artists who hail from the Northwest or express their Christian faith in their work.