Dr. Todd J. Williams
There is perhaps no more public venue for me to communicate to the Cairn University community than through this column. Cairn is published twice a year to keep you informed, offer you encouragement, and provide you opportunities to stay connected to one another and the University. This issue has all of that. I sat down to write this column after the year that we have just completed. I simply want to say, “Thanks.”
I want to take the opportunity to publicly thank all of you—alumni, supporters, and friends of the University. You have been praying and pulling for us as we leaned into a tough year under difficult circumstances. I have received so many words of encouragement from many of you throughout the year. We endeavored to stay open, to give students the best experience possible, and to keep the University moving forward. These things are always easier to do when the broader University community is behind you. Not only do I want to express my thanks to all of you, I want to express my gratitude and thankfulness to God for you.
I also want to thank the Board of Trustees. This group of people hold a tremendous responsibility. This past year with all the complexities and challenges we faced, including being forced to meet via Zoom and more often than usual, the Trustees gave of their time, talents, and resources to keep Cairn on good footing and making progress. This group is committed to Christ, His Word, and the University mission. I thank the Lord often for them and encourage you to do the same as you pray for the work here.
In a year like the one we just completed, I cannot help but express thanks to the faculty and staff. To say they went above and beyond this year would be an understatement. Not only did they manage the health and safety issues that comprised our institutional plan regarding the pandemic, they also showed a tremendous amount of flexibility and graciousness to the students and to one another. This year, there were changes to almost every dimension of our work here. From modifying instruction to provide remote options for students in every session of every class, to hand-delivering meals to students in isolation, to altering cleaning and sanitization practices, the faculty and staff gave of themselves sacrificially to give the students the best year possible. We thank them for their service and thank the Lord for them every day.
As I spoke with a number of students in the final days of the semester, it struck me to thank them this year as well. We are blessed to have such great students. So many of them give of themselves to the institution and to one another on a daily basis. Student-leaders, student-artists, and student-athletes stepped up big this year to keep the community united and active. I taught the new government class this year, and at the end of every session, students in the classroom, as well as those on Zoom, said “thank you” at the conclusion of class. It may be a little thing, but it goes a long way. So we thank the students and thank the Lord for them because they bless and encourage us every day.
But most importantly, in this expression of thanks, I do thank the Lord. This was a year unlike any I’ve experienced during my tenure at the University. But God in His grace provided for us, kept us safe, and kept us moving forward. His gracious provision and His divine enablement allowed us to stay on track in fulfilling our mission. In the midst of all the challenges we faced, God was at work, causing us to grow spiritually, moving in the hearts of supporters, keeping the community knit together, strengthening our faith through His Word, and making us an encouragement to one another. For all of these things, we give Him thanks. This is the proper posture and attitude of the Christian. I love that brief phrase in Colossians 3:15: “And be thankful.” In Colossians 3:15–17, Paul references being thankful three times. That kind of repetition indicates it is important and that we need it. And so we are thankful for all the blessings of this year and, most importantly, all the blessings that are ours in and through God’s Son, Jesus Christ, in whom we have redemption, forgiveness, and the promise of eternal life.
Dr. Todd J. Williams has been the president of Cairn University since January 2008. He served on the faculty and administration from 1996 to 2001, and then returned as provost in 2005. He can be reached by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.