Words from Wood-Mar
The constant amid change
"George Fox will change. Institutions are alive; they are not static."
Graduating senior Travis Shaffer recently caused me to ponder his future. This year's student president spoke to our annual meeting of the Henry Mills Society, a group of individuals who have recognized George Fox University in their estate plans. Travis is not yet in this group. With a bachelor’s degree in political science and history, he is just beginning his career, planning to go to graduate school then into politics. Since the audience included a significant number of alumni who graduated quite a few years ago, I began to wonder: "Will Travis and his fellow classmates recognize his alma mater many years from now when he is on campus for another gathering of the Henry Mills Society?"
George Fox will change. Institutions are alive; they are not static. They respond and transition. How will alumni recognize their alma mater when buildings they loved have been demolished, the logo has been contemporized, students are listening to strange music, there’s a new entrance to the university, and they can’t park where they used to?
It would be a terrible mistake to promise graduating students that their institution will not change. We want them to understand this transition through the decades and we want them to continue to support the university in new ways — and with significant donations. But, they will be supporting a place that is different from the one they attended.
A standout strength of George Fox is its stability through changes. Since its founding in 1891, George Fox has remained an unapologetically, deliberately Christ-centered university. George Fox has grown decidedly, has become less homogeneous, and now allows students to play cards, watch movies, and dance. But, throughout all these changes over 115 years, we continue to work on our core: integrating our Christian faith with the academic disciplines. We continue to provide worship experiences and other support and encouragement for spiritual growth. Faculty members are required to write papers — reviewed by their peers — on how they will bring Christian faith and their discipline together.
My commitment is that Travis and all the graduates of 2006 can return to George Fox at any time and always recognize their university as a Christ-centered, high-quality institution. There will be new programs, new people, new buildings, and new rules. But Jesus Christ will still be Lord, and his centrality will be at the heart of George Fox University and its distinctiveness.
Dr. David Brandt