It was a fitting way to celebrate a 100th anniversary. The weather was perfect. The crowd was the biggest ever. The fireworks finale had everyone talking for days. The weekend of October 4-6 was a full one at Cairn and a blessing to everyone who took part. Leaving the field after the fireworks, a friend simply smiled widely and said to me, “First class.” One former vice president posted on Facebook, “We didn’t want the night to end.” A current student caught me on the walkway, buying a coffee, and said, “I am so proud to be a Cairn student and can’t wait till I graduate and can come back to Homecoming as an alumna!” However, one alumnus may have summed it up perfectly: “Best homecoming ever!”
It was a great time. The Crowder concert on Friday evening was energetic and well-attended by many from the region who were not students or alumni. Saturday was “event-full.” From athletic competitions, to lectures, to reunions, there was something for everyone. It was a family-friendly day, well-organized, and exciting. Looking back now at the weekend, I could not be happier with how it went. And everywhere we went on campus, we were reminded of the year’s theme: “Great is Thy Faithfulness.”
The Centennial Planning Committee did the right thing to make Homecoming weekend the high point of the year-long celebration of our 100th. It provided a gathering point for us to do all that we wanted: remember the past, enjoy the present, and look forward to the future. Every constituent group of our community, including our geographical neighbors, took part. All generations of alumni were represented, including future ones. There were Cairn t-shirts and sweatshirts being worn by graduates from every decade. Old friends and classmates were able to fellowship with one another, share memories, and tour campus to see how much has changed. Yet, seeing current students together, many commented that you can tell how much has remained the same. This is a special place. It is exciting to see what God has done and is doing through this University.
“This centennial, we hoped to look back respectfully and forward humbly. We are doing that. But our history is not the reason we exist, and the perpetuation of where we have been is not the goal for the future. We are here to carry out our mission, now. Here and now, we have important work to do.”
This being a special year, we wanted to end the weekend with a quiet, worshipful, and biblically-centered service Sunday morning. We gathered in Chatlos Chapel for prayer, reading, and singing. Faculty, staff, alumni, and a good number of students came together to close out Homecoming. I spoke briefly from Luke 12:48, “To whom much is given, much is required.” It was intended to remind us all that we who are part of Cairn have been entrusted with a great stewardship obligation. We have been given a great heritage, wonderful facilities, tremendous opportunity, and students brought here to study by a sovereign God. As I read that text, I am mindful that we have 100 years of blessing and experience that we must use to the fullest and with the highest degree of integrity and commitment. This centennial, we hoped to look back respectfully and forward humbly. We are doing that. But our history is not the reason we exist, and the perpetuation of where we have been is not the goal for the future. We are here to carry out our mission, now. Here and now, we have important work to do. The calling of the faithful steward is to utilize your resources, talents, and energies to fulfill your duties in the present, building on the past and mindful of the generations to come. We have been given much, and we as a University community must be mindful that we have a great responsibility that comes with all that we have been given.
In this issue of the magazine, we want to give you a window into what is happening now. If you have been around this institution for any length of time, you will see how what we are doing is built upon where we have been. And if you share our enthusiasm for what is to come, you will see how what we are doing will be built upon by future generations. It is my hope and prayer that you will be encouraged by how we are celebrating the past, how we are preparing for and looking to the future, and how we are attending to the task at hand in the days we have been given.