Each year, we host a number of Experience Cairn Days. These open house events allow prospective students and their parents to visit the campus personally and get a glimpse of everyday life at the University. They attend informational meetings, Chapel, and classes, and they enjoy lunch in the Furman Dining Commons. I look forward to those days and the opportunity they present to talk in an intimate setting about our mission and vision what sets Cairn apart. I usually say at the outset that presidents are supposed to talk positively about the institutions they lead and the distinctives they believe prospective students and their families will find compelling. I also state that talking about the institution is personal for me because I am a graduate and because my own children are also graduates who had a wonderful experience and received a fine education. But I never fail to share that it is my years in the classroom, seeing firsthand the implementation of the mission and the impact that it has on students, that inspires me to speak so enthusiastically about this institution.
It is a privilege for me to continue teaching students, even after all of these years. And it is a joyful and gratifying experience to see so many former students bringing their children back to their alma mater to “Experience Cairn.” The number of alumni returning to campus has continued to grow in recent years, and I believe there are some very clear reasons for this.
This year, I have had some very encouraging conversations with alumni at these open house events. They are encouraging because of the resonance these alumni are finding not just with the mission but also the direction of the institution. They are expressing enthusiasm, not just for where we have been but for where we are going. This is evident in the recurring themes in our discussions. There is always the reminiscing, catching up, and talking about what interests their children have and what they are hoping to accomplish as college students. But in virtually every instance, the conversation also turns to what it is that makes an education at Cairn so valuable, so important in the lives of the students who study here, and so critical given the state of the world in which we find ourselves. There is a very clear sense that perhaps, now more than ever, a university education centered on Christ and His Word, committed to the teaching of and adherence to truth, and focused on preparing men and women to face the challenges of an ever-changing and increasingly secularized world, matters.
Cairn is an institution committed to providing an intentionally and relentlessly biblical education. We strive to do more than teach the Bible or teach about the Bible. We do those things and more, so that our students might become biblically minded. We want them to be able to think according to the Scriptures regarding God, themselves, and the world in which they live—an ever-changing world that presents new challenges to each generation. We desire to see them made ready to serve Christ and strengthened to hold fast to their faith and convictions regarding truth—absolute, objective, knowable truth. In a world that is growing increasingly relativistic, we need institutions committed to some standard by which we judge and measure ideas, ourselves, and the decisions we face. Thankfully, this university has held to that standard for more than a century. And from this position, we will not be moved.
The evidence of this can be seen in our curriculum, instruction, chapel programs, and the character of the men and women who serve and teach here. The alumni who I have spoken to this past year, who have resonated with the direction of their alma mater, return with their own students because they see this evidence. They listen to the chapels online. They stay informed about who we are and what we are doing. And they pray for us. We are so grateful for the parents, alumni, friends, and donors of Cairn University who do these things. I am not sure I could adequately convey what an encouragement this is to us. We have no misgivings about the battle we are in for minds and hearts. We rely upon God’s grace and provision, and we draw great courage and inspiration from those who are rallying around this mission, this vision, and this direction.
I pray this edition of the magazine will provide you not only information but a glimpse into the kind of things that matter here and encourage you that you are a part of a university community intent on honoring and submitting to the Word of God and keeping our eyes fixed upon Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.