A president with a mission (continued)
|During graduation ceremonies, President Phipps congratulates students who have proven their commitment to academic excellence and spritual growth.
What do you think is essential to providing students with an education that’s both rigorously academic and distinctly Christian?
I think it is crucial for us to manage our resources in such a way that our undergraduate programs continue to thrive. This means continuing to pursue the kinds of accreditation that are important for quality assurance and supporting faculty development and scholarship.
Over the last decade, we’ve been able to increase the number of students who work alongside faculty as scholars in academic research. We’re also continuing to recruit the very best faculty. One example of this commitment is the hiring of distinguished professor of American religious history Richard Hughes, who is a leader in the national conversation about the impact of Christian higher education on contemporary society.
We also continue to invest significant resources in the spiritual development of students. Under the leadership of our college pastor, Eldon Fry, we have engaged in a critical examination of goals for students’ spiritual formation. We are defining what we want to happen in their faith development throughout the four years of their college education.
What is your greatest hope for Messiah students during their college years?
When students enroll at Messiah, I want them to find a place of belonging—where they can discover more about themselves, God, and God’s creation. During their time with us, I hope that they are challenged and stretched and that each of them engages the question, “What does it mean for me, even while I’m attending Messiah, to love God, to love others, and to develop and use my God-given gifts and abilities?”
It is such a privilege and joy for me to welcome and meet first-year students, to watch the transformation that takes place in them during their four years at Messiah, and then to hear their reflections—both humorous and thought provoking—at our annual baccalaureate service.
I believe that a Messiah education provides students with the essentials to become lifelong learners who are ready to listen, to serve, and to lead as true Christ-like examples—in the Church and in the world.
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