A New Century Dawns

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With this issue of the magazine, we officially close out Cairn University’s Centennial Celebration. It has been a year of significant highlights. We began with the first Centennial Commencement in May 2013, followed by a special night with the Philadelphia Phillies. The academic year was marked by special concerts, commissioned music pieces, and lecture series. Two more Centennial Commencements are featured in this issue.

Last summer, we looked back on 100 years of history, and now we conclude these reflections by looking forward to new challenges and new opportunities. In all of this, we have kept our theme clearly in focus: This was a year to celebrate God’s Great Faithfulness. At every point in the celebration, the University verse and hymn have reminded us that this is a work established and sustained by our gracious and faithful God, whose mercies are new every morning.

This wonder of the dawning of a new day is a powerful image in Scripture. Weeping is for the night, but joy comes in the morning (Ps. 30:5). The psalmist declared, “Oh Lord, in the morning will I direct my prayers to you and look up” (Ps. 5:3). And, on the morning of the third day, Jesus rose again.

Over and over in the Bible, we see the picture of newness and new days and God’s faithful and gracious provision for what is next. This powerful picture is what inspired the Centennial logo, which now makes its way to the archives. The picture of the rising sun is one of hope and inspiration, but also motivation. A new day brings with it new work to do, new people to serve, new problems to solve, new challenges to face, and new expressions of God’s grace to enjoy.

When I reflect upon what our founders and the early leaders of the school experienced, I am certain they did not all expect we would someday be celebrating a century of existence. With two World Wars straddling the religious and moral upheaval of the 1920s and the Great Depression, many must have thought the end was near. Yet, we have continued on through Korea, the Cold War, Vietnam, a cultural revolution, energy and economic crises, and social and political challenges to Christian morality and Scriptural authority.

And now, we go on. This is what we do. We embrace each new day with vigor and with the conviction that Scripture teaches: “As our days, so will our strength be” (Deut. 33:25). Christianity is a hopeful faith that looks to the future. Jesus teaches us to plan for it, submitting to God’s will.

And so we plan for the future. We expect that should He tarry, God will continue to be gracious, faithfully providing for and blessing this important work. We have a strategic plan for the beginning of the second century — one that calls for new initiatives, new programs, new facilities, and new efforts as we remain fixed upon our mission and unwavering in our conviction that Christ and His word are at the center of all we do.

There are plans to strengthen and expand academics, the arts, athletics, and campus facilities. There are plans for fundraising efforts, alumni outreach, partnerships, and global involvement. There are plans to expand enrollment, meet the financial needs of students, and position the University for the fiscal challenges that are sure to come in an uncertain economic reality. There are plans to prepare for challenges and plans to embrace new opportunities.

Many of these plans are already underway, and in this issue of the magazine, you will see glimpses of what has already begun and what will come. These are exciting days. The sun has set on the Centennial year and our celebration of it. But a new day is beginning. A second century now dawns.

The sun has set on the Centennial year and our celebration of it. But a new day is beginning. A second century now dawns.

The challenges and opportunities of the next hundred years are as much a part of who we are as those of the past hundred years. Cairn is blessed to have friends both old and new. It is our hope and prayer that together, we will see God do great things in and through this University—and enjoy being a part of it, as well.

[info]Dr. Todd J. Williams has been the president of Cairn University since January 2008. He served as faculty and an administrator from 1996 to 2001, and then returned as Provost in 2005. He can be reached by emailing president@cairn.edu.[/info]