A president with a mission (continued)
|President Kim S. Phipps encourages an open flow of communication by hosting events such as a listening tour in Harrisburg and Open Door Days for students and employees.
Can you talk a little more about your interactions with alumni, prospective students, and parents?
One of the aspects of my work that I have really enjoyed is the opportunity to meet alumni in the communities where they live and work —whether that is at a regional meeting in Harrisburg or Lancaster, or a gathering in Los Angeles, New York City, or Boston. Hearing alumni's stories, answering their questions, and listening to their dreams for their college has been very significant in my understanding of the history of Messiah College.
We’ve also invited parents and prospective students to many of these alumni gatherings. It’s always wonderful to connect with potential students and their parents, as well as the parents of our current students. Parents are an important part of our community—they make a significant investment when they send their children to Messiah, so I believe it's important to listen to their dreams and expectations, and to answer their questions.
What would you say are some things you have learned from these campus and community conversations?
Some of the conversations I’ve had have impressed upon me how many of the students who attend Messiah College have overcome significant challenges and obstacles to be able to be here. Just the other evening, I had a conversation with one of our students from Nepal. He told me about his 30-hour flight to Pennsylvania and about some of the challenges he went through to get a visa in order to study here. He emphasized how much he wants to be here because his heart's desire is to eventually return to Nepal to try to be a political leader who brings peace to a war-torn nation. These kinds of profound stories really give me hope for the future in terms of the commitment of these students, but it is also very humbling to realize what many of the students and families have sacrificed in order for these students to be part of the Messiah College community.
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