Celebration, Challenge, and Change

In the Consortium’s fourth presidential inauguration of the year, Dr. Michael Hammond was installed at Gordon College on April 29, 2022. Dr. Hammond came to Gordon College from Taylor University where he served as provost. In an unusual move, President Michael Lindsay left Gordon College to become the president of Taylor University and President Mike Hammond left Taylor University to become the president of Gordon College. President Hammond holds a degree in Christian Education from Taylor University, a master’s degree in biblical and theological studies from Wheaton College, and a Ph.D. in History from the University of Arkansas. President Hammond’s theme was “Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,” taken from the hymn Great Is Thy Faithfulness. While acknowledging the challenge before Christian higher education is great, he called for courage, stating that the blueprint for Gordon College is vibrant Christianity without arrogance and humility with sincere obedience to the Savior, Jesus. Courage rooted in mission, countercultural use of talents for a higher purpose, and academic excellence with humble curiosity should characterize Gordon’s culture.

 

The landscape in higher education continues to be challenging. Approximately 1 million fewer students attended college in 2021-2022 than in the previous year. Nathan Grawe’s work on the demographics of American higher education paint a sobering picture (Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education, Johns Hopkins University Press). Lower birth rates that further declined after the 2008 recession, the effects of Covid-19, continuing concerns about student debt, and cultural concerns about the value of a college degree call for innovative approaches that will draw students to life-changing college experiences.

 

Our Consortium group has been together for 51 years. We are committed to support and encourage one another. In addition to inaugurating four presidents and supporting an interim president at Seattle Pacific, the degree of change in our CAO group has been stunning. Six of our CAO colleagues will be new to their roles this fall. David Davies (Houghton), Kimberly Denu (Westmont), Alison Noble (interim Messiah), Christina Schnyders (interim Malone), Kathy Taylor (interim Greenville), and TBD at TIU. As Benjamin Franklin allegedly said at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, “We must all hang together, or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.” This is definitely a time to band together for the common good as we advance the missions of each of our 13 campuses!

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