To Be Known
President Robin Baker

We live in a world where the desire of most of us is to be known. Certainly, with the advent of the internet and social media, the process of being known is different than at any other point in human history. Outside influences have always provided context for our lives, but increasingly individuals or groups that we do not really know affect how we see ourselves and form our identities. Indeed, the number of followers a person has on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram serve as “social clout” in an effort to gain a stake in the world and be known.

For most of my more than 20 years at George Fox University we have made a promise to students that they will Be Known – personally, academically and spiritually. I think some people believe we are just playing into the societal impulse to provide another space for the unique individual expression of a person. In reality, we are not interested in creating an opportunity for students to gain notoriety, but to gain a sense of who they are deep within, to understand their gifts, and to help them chart a path that is God-informed and designed.

Bryant Quinn, a former student-athlete and English major at George Fox, described his experience with professor Bill Jolliff this way: “Bill has always treated me as a person. Not just as an athlete who is taking a class, or a student who plays a sport, but holistically as a human created in the image of God who possesses unique gifts and talents. Whether those gifts applied directly in the classroom or not, I have always felt welcomed and like my perspective and thoughts mattered in my interactions with Bill.”

For faculty and staff at George Fox, relationships matter because they matter to God. We are called to educate students here, but we are also called to make disciples. Discipleship is only possible when students are genuinely known.

In reflecting on our relationship with God, C.S. Lewis noted: “We are always completely, and therefore equally, known to God. That is our destiny whether we like it or not. But though this knowledge never varies, the quality of our being known can. … When we assent with all our will to be known, then we treat ourselves, in relation to God, not as things but as persons. We have unveiled. Not that any veil could have baffled his sight. The change is in us. The passive changes to the active. Instead of merely being known, we show, we tell, we offer ourselves to view.”

When we are known in this way, the encounter with God transforms us.

At George Fox, being known means that we offer ourselves to each other and ultimately to God. In so doing, we grow, transform and in small ways begin to reflect the kingdom of God. I hope you enjoy reading about some of the George Fox people who make the Be Known promise a key aspect of our community.

Robin Baker
President