From the President: Fall 2023

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This year marks Cairn University’s 110th anniversary. It is hard to believe that it has been a decade since we celebrated our Centennial. I remember well all that went into celebrating that significant milestone as we focused on the great faithfulness of God in the year following the name change. That theme was selected in accordance with the University verse from Lamentations and the University hymn based upon that passage and the eternal truth it proclaims. It was a year full of activity and commemoration as we looked back on a century of God’s gracious provision and looked forward to what the next century might hold if God should see fit to sustain the work here. We reminisced and we dreamed. We celebrated and rededicated ourselves to the mission of Cairn University as good stewards of all that God has entrusted to
us and all that those who went before have passed on to us.

In the decade that has passed since our centennial celebration, there is much for which to be thankful. The Cairn community has grown stronger with the addition of many new friends, supporters, and foundations who are giving generously and praying fervently for this work that is committed to the centrality of Christ and the authoritative and sufficient word of God. As we stand firmly resolved to teach our students that faith and truth do matter, new families have joined us and alumni children and grandchildren are coming in numbers I have not seen in my 30+ years of association with Cairn.

Also, new programs and initiatives have taken shape to meet changing needs and provide new opportunities for students and the evangelical community which we serve. New men and women have joined our ranks on the faculty and staff and the Board of Trustees. They stand upon the shoulders of all those servants who have gone before them over the course of 110 years.

There have also been hard changes as some seasons ended, even as new ones began. Over the past decade, there have also been unforeseen challenges, disruptions, cultural shifts, and stressors placed upon institutions of higher learning, specifically Christian colleges and universities, which have caused an existential crisis for some.

That Cairn is not only weathering these challenges but leaning into them, stable and focused on mission and our core convictions, is a blessing and something I do not take for granted. There are no guarantees of permanence in this world. No organizations, no programs, no endeavors can assume that they deserve or will be granted permanence. Some drift, acquiesce to cultural pressures, or lose their way. Others simply get overwhelmed by economic, demographic, or other circumstances beyond their control. Throughout the history of humankind and the church, we see that some endeavors and institutions are sustained, and others are not; some are reborn and given second chances, and others build on the foundations of those that have passed; and some serve as historical memorials from which we draw caution or courage.

This is a hard reality that cannot be avoided or denied in a hard and broken world. But keeping perspective as Christians is critical. Pressing on in humility, diligence, faith, and wisdom is all we can do. In a world that is lacking permanence, we as God’s people take comfort and encouragement that he and his purposes are eternal and permanent. As Christians, we believe that while life in this world is fleeting, as it is appointed once to every man to die, those who place saving faith in Jesus enjoy eternal life and will be raised like him to live and reign with him forever. But for now, in an ever-changing and increasingly challenging world, we strive to be faithful servants and stewards of our God whose faithfulness is truly great. I trust this issue of the magazine will give you a sense of our approach to the changes and challenges we face as well
as our commitment to hold fast to the things that truly matter most.