Perspectives on Cairn

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[info]Mrs. Fran Emmons, Dr. Robert Figge, and Mark and Heather Evans, all alumni of the University who have been involved over the years in many different ways, share their thoughts on the University’s new name and their insights on the opportunities it brings.


Mrs. Fran Emmons

Alumna and Former Vice President of Admissions, Financial Aid, and Reception Services

Fran (Sink) Emmons ’65 served as the Vice President of Admissions, Financial Aid, and Reception Services from 1988-2001. She also serves with her husband, Dr. Richard Emmons ’67 in ministry at GraceWay Bible Church in Hamilton, NJ.

Cairn is a good name for our University because cairns connect the past with the present and point the way for the future. While I value the biblical education that this University offers, I found the name Philadelphia Biblical University to be problematic at times. Not only were there other schools in the region whose names were quite similar, but the name itself was cumbersome to say. We also had the challenge of explaining that we were not actually located in Philadelphia. I got on board, however, because I respected the leadership of the University and I knew that this place provided something special to students.

Thousands came through the offices of Admissions and Financial Aid during my tenure. The big question behind all of the inquiries that the prospective student wanted to know was “Why should I study here?” Our team would point them to the excellent biblical education, the stimulating academic experience, and the many professional choices available…all of this in an atmosphere of acceptance, productivity, and just plain fun. We pointed out that the ultimate desire is to be thoroughly grounded in God’s Word. A solid footing in the Word of God is, in some ways, like visiting Joshua’s monument at Gilgal (Joshua 4:19-24) to experience God’s great provision for Israel. It builds the foundation for a life of ministry which glorifies God and fulfills life’s purpose.

As successive generations of Israelites visited Joshua’s cairn and heard or read in the Scriptures the story of what happened, their appreciation and trust in the great God who made it happen was reinforced. In similar fashion, a strong Bible curriculum strengthens our grasp of the reality, nature and works of God. Such a biblical education is advantageous for successful, aggressive, godly living. At this University, students study of the Word of God to experience the full assurance of understanding and to know Christ Himself in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:2b and 3). Our purpose is “to educate students to serve Christ in the church, society, and the world as biblically minded, well-educated, and professionally competent men and women of character.”

Additionally, Joshua’s cairn was designed by God to encourage future generations to trust God in similar fashion for very different situations – often unique to their circumstances. The same God was to be believed in the same way for the same results in their own unique trials and challenges. Cairn University prepares men and women to serve God in the face of challenges and ministries that are both the same and different as those of the school’s founders.

Those of us who are a part of the school’s history know this to be true. We are all serving in different professional fields and involved in a broad spectrum of ministries in all areas of our lives. We look back at our time at this institution and value what it gave us. We love this university because God met us here. Academically we were well-prepared and we were privileged to study under some of the greatest Bible teachers of our generation. We took away sweet friendships that will last into eternity. We had lots of fun interacting and complementing one another. Together, we became a monument that collectively points others to the awesome power, and grace of God through our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Cairns point the way forward, based on the solid foundation of the past – both biblical and human. Rooted in the inspired Word of God, relevant and integrated in the ever-changing professional disciplines, Cairn University encourages men and women to face the future with godly character and commitment. This new name says what we have been doing all along.

Next Page: Dr. Robert Figge