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.


Mark and Heather Evans


Mark ’01 and Heather (Shorb) ’00 Evans live in Coopersburg, PA. Mark is the Pastor of Youth and Young Adults at Calvary Bible Fellowship and soccer coach at a local high school and Heather is a licensed clinical social worker with a private practice and the co-founder of the Valley Against Sex Trafficking Coalition.

We were privileged to begin our college experience at an institution called Philadelphia College of Bible and finish our time at a place called Philadelphia Biblical University. For us, the change was exciting. We started at a College, but graduated from a University without the need to transfer. In our grateful perspective, this provided an instant increase in credibility to employers and reflected an accurate status of the school. It was no longer a college. It had become a university.

The recent name change transpired for different reasons, but we still desire to embrace it. As we continue to interact with the University today through our relationship as alumni, interaction with current students (three from our church), participation with the Social Work Department Advisory Board, and regular visits to the campus, we’ve observed the things that we loved about PBU still hold true.

We loved PBU because the Bible as the Word of God was foundational in every class. When we attended, 51 credits of Bible were required, but it was not the number of credits that shaped us. Our worldview was shaped through every class that was propped up on the foundation of a knowable, Triune, God who has revealed Himself in Scripture. Every truly Christian thought has been filtered through the screen of the Word of God. Does Cairn University still promote this? Absolutely. Cairn is still that place. Cairn is still an institution that holds the Scriptures in high regard, not because we worship the Bible, but because the Scriptures reveal Jesus Christ with clarity wherever the Holy Spirit does His work (John 3:8).

We loved PBU because it was an institution that taught us how to think rather than a place where we learned skills for jobs. We regularly marvel at how God used the University to do exactly what Dr. Williams and other professors told us universities should do. They taught us that universities were not designed to be institutions where people merely obtained job skills, but places where people were encouraged and trained in deep thought formation about all areas of life. Is Cairn University maintaining this tradition? Yes. If we want to have students “walk a different path,” the University must continue on this trajectory.

Our sincere hope is that Cairn University continues to be a place of thought that drives vocational interests rather than the other way around. This is one of the educational ideals that will make Cairn University a unique place. In our experience, most universities have abandoned thought life and thought leadership in favor of vocational training and diplomas that seem more “practical.” The calling of Cairn University remains committed to developing a caliber of students whose biblical foundation will impact the church, society, and world.