Archive for June, 2014

Looking Back and Looking Forward

Of the many activities held during commencement, our 50-year alumni society event has traditionally been one of my favorites. This year was no different. We inducted 24 members from the class of 1964 into Multnomah’s 50-year alumni society, and I was, once again, struck by the significance of this half-century mark that underscores the legacy of a Multnomah education. I believe it is a tangible expression of our rich heritage that demonstrates God’s faithfulness throughout the generations and the importance of a vital daily relationship with Him.

"Our years of training at Multnomah have resulted in much fruit, both here and abroad," said 50-year society member Dr. Tim Aldrich. The former faculty member was encouraged by the reunion with his former classmates — and by meeting MU's new president, Dr. Craig Williford, at the event.

"During the last 50 years, Multnomah has changed in response to the needs of a changing world by adding facilities, new majors and faculty members," Aldrich said. "And yet, at its core is a solid commitment to the transforming power of the Word. Having met Dr. Williford, I am confident that he will continue the Multnomah tradition and its commitment to the Word of God."

Anticipating What is Ahead

It is an honor and a great joy to be a part of the ongoing legacy of Multnomah. As I reflect back on our history, in anticipation of what is ahead, I am excited for the future. While admittedly it has been a challenging season, I have never been more encouraged to see God at work in such amazing ways.

It has been a season of prayer, as we’ve collectively sought the Lord for the man or woman who would lead the ministry of Multnomah in this next chapter. Thank you for the part you’ve played in partnering with us here. God has far exceeded our expectations and we are humbled by His graciousness in His selection of Multnomah’s new president.

I’m excited for you to meet Dr. Craig and his wife Carolyn. I think you’ll find that beyond the wealth of experience in higher education, leadership and pastoral ministry that Craig brings, he and Carolyn both have a heart for the Savior and a recognition of  their deep dependence upon Him.

A Man of Humility and Prayer

“We humbly take our place within the distinguished line of former and current trustees, faculty, staff, administration and presidents who served so sacrificially,” Craig said in response to the board of trustee’s invitation to serve as Multnomah’s fifth president. In reading his latest book, "How to Treat a Staff Infection — Resolving Problems in Your Church or Ministry Team", I’ve been encouraged to see his heart for people and ministry, as well as his incredible insight and vision for leadership. His obvious dependence on the Lord, his humility and his heart for prayer is most inspiring.

In closing, I want to leave you with the charge Craig gave to his readers: “May you always lead with godliness, humility, wisdom, courage, grace, mercy, respect, and love. As under-shepherds who report to the Head Shepherd — Christ himself — how else will we mobilize others to serve in God’s kingdom with distinction? What an awesome responsibility!”

What an awesome responsibility indeed, and what a privilege it is to serve and be a part of what God is doing this side of heaven.

In awe of God’s grace,

Michelle M. Peel-Underwood,  B.A. '00, M.A. '10

Director of Alumni Relations

Multnomah University

 

Multnomah University Updates — Summer 2014

Seminary Students Attend Oxford

Seminary students Haley Cloyd and Daniel Somboonsiri have been selected to attend the Logos Conference, a two-week internship in Oxford sponsored by the Green Scholars Initiative (GSI). Only students working on GSI projects were invited to apply for the summer conference, where world-renowned academic experts will teach them history, theology and textual studies.

Cloyd has been working on MU’s GSI Dead Sea Scrolls project since last fall, and Somboonsiri began analyzing the fragment this spring. Biblical Languages Chair Dr. Karl Kutz has been directing the project. “I’m not surprised Haley and Daniel were selected,” he said. “They are both very capable. I’m very proud of them.”

Spring Thaw Unites 800 High School Students

The fifth annual youth retreat led by Dr. Rob Hildebrand proved to be another success. More than 800 high school students filled Multnomah’s campus for 44 hours filled with unforgettable games, teaching, laughter, worship, Disney characters and donuts. They left feeling inspired, united and encouraged.

More than 200 volunteers — composed of MU students and staff — planned, built and facilitated the April retreat. A small group of students majoring in Youth Ministry took on larger leadership roles and served as interns. "I think it's great that MU can open up and do this for us," said Tim Blank, a senior from Abundant Life Church in Sandy, Ore. "It says a lot about the school. I'm glad I got to be here."

MU Partners with Portland Police

Multnomah hosted an all-day training exercise with the Portland Police Bureau's Rapid Response Team (RRT) on campus in April. The RRT, a group composed of 70 law enforcement members, spent the day practicing crowd control procedures and techniques. More than 30 law enforcement officials from the Portland metro area, Washington and California observed the scenarios.

Sgt. David Abrahamson, RRT member and former Multnomah student, led the training. For Abrahamson, the opportunity to join Multnomah in a communal effort was inspiring. “This process has blessed all of us,” he said. “MU has gone above and beyond to help us. I can't say enough good things about this school.”

College and Grad School Hire New Leaders  

Dr. David Manock has been selected as director of Multnomah’s Master of Arts in Counseling Program. A licensed marriage and family counselor, Manock has nearly two decades of experience running a private practice. “I’m looking forward to learning how I can help the MAC students succeed as professionals,” he said. “I’m committed to excellence in clinical counseling so that students will know their craft and find their place in the community.”

The University has also hired Lee Sellers to lead its undergraduate Business Administration program. Sellers, who holds an MBA, has owned and operated his own consulting business for more than 14 years. “I enjoy challenge, and I’m excited to build something at MU,” he said. “I want to develop a world-class program that prepares students to go into the real world and make connections with people that reflect the Gospel.”

Seminary Offers Free Lectureship Series to Public

Multnomah sponsored an opportunity for the general public to hear from some well-respected speakers the University had brought in for its DMin and MAAT programs. The free lectureship series, geared toward ministry practitioners, gave the speakers a chance to talk about their unique ministries and what they saw as relevant for the local church in the current culture.

The guest speakers were George Hunsberger, professor of missiology at Western Theological Seminary; Josh Butler, pastor of local & global outreach at Imago Dei Community; Terry Muck, executive director of The Louisville Institute; Hugh Halter, author and speaker; Carolyn Custis James, the president and founder of Whitby Forum; and Christena Cleveland, associate professor of reconciliation studies at Bethel University.

MU Applies to Cascade Collegiate Conference 

The Cascade Collegiate Conference (CCC) approved Multnomah University’s membership application, moving the Lions one step closer toward conference participation during the 2015-16 season. MU’s membership in the CCC is contingent on admission to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. MU will apply to the NAIA in September, and a decision is expected next spring.

“It is a great honor for Multnomah’s application to be accepted by the Cascade Collegiate Conference,” said Dr. Wayne Strickland. “We could not be more pleased to be associated with such a prestigious conference, and we look forward to building lasting and meaningful relationships.”

A Greeting from Dr. Craig Williford

Dear Alumni Family,

It’s an honor and a great privilege to assume my role as Multnomah’s fifth president today. I’m humbled by the legacy and rich heritage of Multnomah University and want to personally thank each of you for the ways you have represented Multnomah with godly distinction.

The strength of any university lies within the quality of its alumni, and Multnomah University is strong because of the ways you've invested your life in service to others — either in the marketplace or vocational ministry, locally or around the world.

As president, I want to express my complete and unreserved affirmation of Multnomah’s faith statements, mission and core values. As a biblical university, our continued aim will be to integrate the Bible into all aspects of our educational experience as we prepare alumni to be biblically competent, academically proficient, spiritually formed and culturally engaged. We trust that God will continue to infuse our future alumni with servants’ hearts and faithful lives — just like yours.

I’m excited about what lies ahead. MU faces some external and internal challenges, like many other faith-based universities. But we’re committed to prayerfully embracing these challenges while also identifying the exciting opportunities that exist as we seek to expand the work of the Gospel. As we seize these opportunities, we’ll continue to add new majors and grow our online course offerings to ensure that as many people as possible are able to benefit from the Multnomah educational experience.

I invite you — a vital part of Multnomah’s ongoing legacy — to join with us in this critical effort. If I may, I’d like to challenge you in the following three ways:

  1. Continue to tell your story. Prospective students seek advice from people they trust — people like you. Historically, our alumni have proven to be our strongest recruiters, so use your influence to motivate people to attend MU. You might even consider taking more course work yourself. We continue to expand our degree offerings and would love to have you back on campus.
  1. Join us in prayer. The board and I are calling the MU community to a day of prayer Saturday, August 16, and we would love to have you join us on campus that day. You also can join us through the spirit of prayer from wherever you live. I believe that prayer places us in a posture of humility that enables us to hear God’s voice and wisdom. Our plan is to pray in every classroom, office, dorm and gathering space throughout the entire campus as we ask God to use our human interactions in these spaces to help us fulfill our mission. We desire a strong presence of Christ on our campus and endeavor to create relationships, spaces and experiences where the Holy Spirit can transform our students. We will give more details regarding our day of prayer soon.
  1. Be a part of Multnomah’s ongoing legacy. Prayerfully consider how you might invest your time, talents and treasures to support MU in its eternally-focused mission.

I look forward to meeting you and hearing from you in the days and weeks ahead.

With deepest appreciation,

Craig

Rachel Piñon: Defining Her Faith

Comments Off Written on June 23rd, 2014 by
Categories: Programs, Students

rachel_mainWhen Rachel Piñon was looking at colleges, she was struck by the genuine nature of the people she encountered at Multnomah. And now that she’s finished her freshman year, she's convinced she chose the right place.

“This community is unmatched,” says Piñon. “I was welcomed so warmly by the people here.”

Piñon always wanted to attend a smaller school, and MU’s close-knit community has turned out to be a perfect fit.

“Living on campus helps you learn how to care for others,” she says. “People feel really blessed and loved here.”

That sense of openness extends to her interactions with professors. “They genuinely care about students’ spiritual growth,” says Piñon. “If you’re down, they help you get up.”

The Intercultural Studies major plans to be a missionary. Last month, she traveled to Kigali, Rwanda — along with a group of MU students — where she taught Bible stories to Rwandan children and ministered to the Kigali community. The trip helped Piñon apply what she’s learned at Multnomah.

Until she graduates, MU continues to equip Piñon with a grounded biblical perspective she deeply appreciates.

“My dream is to go to an unreached people group and translate the Bible into their language,” she says. “I always wanted to know my Bible better. Being at MU is an opportunity for me to hold out my faith to God and define what I believe...it's helping me become my own person.”

Cascade Collegiate Conference Approves MU’s Membership Application

Comments Off Written on June 19th, 2014 by
Categories: General, Press Releases

PORTLAND, Ore. —The Cascade Collegiate Conference approved Multnomah University’s membership application this week, moving the Lions one step closer toward conference participation during the 2015-16 season. Read the rest of this entry »

Amanda Schick: Making an Impact

amanda_mainAmanda Schick is passionate about challenging her students. As an English teacher, she is constantly pushing them to think harder, dig deeper.

Schick says Multnomah had a huge impact on her career, and the wisdom she took from her professors continues to inspire her.

“MU is rigorous,” Schick says. “The quality education I received here put me in a different league than my colleagues. You don’t just walk out of Multnomah with information — you leave with a changed life.”

After receiving her bachelor’s degree at MU, Schick stayed to earn a Master of Arts in Teaching degree. The program further immersed her in biblical truth and real-world experience. Now the English major teaches Creative Writing, English Language Development and Literacy at Sam Barlow High School in Gresham, Ore.

“I love my job, and I love my students,” she says. “I love it when they get something and their eyes light up!”

Although Schick is unable to share her faith at school, she hopes her viewpoint will influence students for the better.

“When I present information to them in class, it’s solid and grounded, and there’s a basis for it,” she says. “I feel like this can anchor my students, even though I can’t overtly communicate my worldviews to them.”

For Schick, her work isn’t just about what she teaches – it’s also about how she teaches.

“At Multnomah, we see teachers who love what they teach, so they bring it to life,” she says. “It was never just lifeless facts on a page to them. Seeing this reminded me why I wanted to teach, and how I wanted to teach.”

As she continues to prepare her students for a lifetime of reading and writing well, Schick is grateful for the deep conviction and priceless lessons she gained from her professors and her Multnomah family.

“MU taught me how to have a voice and stand up for the things that are important to me,” she says. “I need to teach my students to do the same thing.”

Alex Anderson: Helping People Heal

Comments Off Written on June 10th, 2014 by
Categories: Programs, Students

Today's student story features an undergrad who's working toward becoming a doctor.

alex_mainEveryone is at MU for different reasons. Alex Anderson, a firefighter with a passion for business, is working toward becoming an oncologist.

The goal is close to Anderson’s heart: His girlfriend was diagnosed with cancer last year.

“I’ve formed this overwhelming desire to save lives,” the business major says. “God has given me this opportunity to help people, and I love it.”

While he lays the groundwork for a gratifying career, Anderson is enjoying everything MU has to offer, especially the challenging classes and Christian fellowship. “I love learning about business,” he says. “There are a lot of different views, and I’m interested in learning everyone’s opinion so I can be a better professional.”

His professors are a big part of his life. “Everyone who teaches here is beyond qualified, and they all use their knowledge so wisely,” he says. “They are kind, and they try to help you find out who God is through his word. They’ll have a personal relationship with you and mentor you at the same time.”

As for his Bible and Theology major, it’s helping Anderson gain a firm foothold. “Multnomah’s a place where you learn what you believe and how it applies to your life,” he says. “You should always study what you believe and be able to defend your faith.”

Anderson credits MU with creating steady discipline and a strong work ethic in his life. His fellow students only encourage him to strive for his best.

“The bar for learning is a lot higher here,” he says. “And MU does a great job of ensuring all its students have a friendly and loving community around them. I love the dorm life so much; I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It feels exactly like home.”

Wendy Contreras: Born to Sing

Today's student story features an amazing undergrad who's developing a life-changing gift. 

wendy_mainWendy Contreras has always loved to sing. She wanted to pursue music in college, but she wasn't convinced that she was capable.

Her insecurities faded during her freshman year when she began taking classes with MU’s private voice instructor, who recognized a rich potential.

“She made me see that I needed to pursue singing and never give up,” Contreras says. “If something’s meant for you, you’ll succeed.”

Contreras also credits Stan Campbell, director of MU's music program, with helping her see that the point of making music: bringing people back to God.

“I saw how the Lord used my music to touch people,” she says. “When I realized that he’d given me this gift, I wanted to be responsible with it.”

Since then, Contreras has learned piano at MU, and she's honed her talents in the university’s jazz ensemble. She also leads worship at MU’s weekly chapels.

The more she saturates herself in music, the more people ask her to sing at their churches or on albums they’re producing.

“God has been opening doors for me everywhere,” she says.

MU’s vibrant community of musicians has also played a big role in Contreras’ development as a vocalist. She used be afraid to share music she’d written. But once she did, her peers were full of compliments and support.

“I realized that I’d underestimated myself,” she says. “Now I can open up to fellow musicians.”

Despite all the recognition, Contreras says the most important thing she’s learned at MU is how to be humble.

“Humility is acknowledging everything you have without boasting,” she says. “I had to realize I was good at singing, but that it’s not for me – it’s for God’s glory. This is what I was created to do.”

 

 

Tawny Johnson: Cultivating Knowledge

This week we're featuring a student story about Tawny Johnson, who graduated from both our college and seminary. When Johnson started attending undergrad classes at 45, she had no idea why God had called her to MU. Nearly ten years later, she knows exactly why.

“Isn’t that a guy’s thing?” Tawny Johnson had just told someone she was going to seminary, and that was his response.

Johnson paused. She had never thought that learning about God was gender exclusive — but she was finding that many Christians did.

“There’s a common impression that studying theology at a master’s level is just for men,” Johnson says. “But theology is not masculine.”

Multnomah welcomes men and women into all its programs; nevertheless, its seminary is currently composed of mostly men. This never bothered Johnson; it only highlighted the importance of a seminary education for all Christians, regardless of gender.

'Take responsibility' 

“There’s been an emphasis in some areas of the Church to rely on men, but women need to delve into things themselves and take responsibility for their own spiritual lives,” Johnson says. “Regardless of what you think about men and women leadership roles in the church…that’s beside the point. It’s not a gender issue — it’s a Christian issue.”

Tawny_mainJohnson and Multnomah go way back.

In the ‘80s, she worked full-time for Multnomah Press, a publishing company previously owned by Multnomah. After 13 years filled with administration, marketing, foreign publishing, design, advertising and product development, she left her job in 1992, when Multnomah sold the press to another publishing company.

The right thing

Johnson took the loss of a successful career as a gain in her family life: She spent the next 13 years homeschooling her two daughters.

In 2005, she felt God leading her to Multnomah. She didn’t know why she was supposed to go. All she knew was that it was the right thing to do. So, with the support of her husband and children, she enrolled, not realizing that she was beginning a nine-year journey.

'It wasn't about me'

Freshman orientation in the undergrad program found her surrounded by 18-year-olds. Johnson was 45. “It was a bit intimidating to come back to school as an older adult,” she says. “But I knew that it wasn't about me — it was about what God wanted to do in me.”

For six years, Johnson attended MU while working part time as a receptionist at a hair salon. In 2010, she graduated with a minor in English. After she accepted her diploma and took her seat, she watched as MU’s master’s students were fitted with hoods — a sign of their academic achievements.

“I thought, ‘I want one of those!’” she says. One year later, she was back at Multnomah — this time for a Master of Arts in Theological Studies degree.

'Part of a whole'

“I chose theological studies because it was a chance to integrate my love of theology and my love of history,” she says. “Now I have a broader view of the Church — I feel like I’m a part of a whole, and I appreciate the people who came before me in sacrifice and obedience.”

One of her favorite things about seminary was her teachers. “The professors at Multnomah are its strength,” she says. “They care about the student, and they cultivate an environment of stimulating exchange. They also help you think critically and address some misconceptions you probably have.”

One faculty member in particular, Dr. Brad Harper, taught several of Johnson’s theology classes over the years. “One time, he asked me if I felt out of place in the seminary,” she says. “I absolutely did not. My classmates and I all felt called to be there. Gender was never an issue with the professors or with my — almost exclusively male — counterparts.”

'My dream job'

Last month, Johnson finally earned her “hoodie”, as she affectionately calls it. “I threatened my husband that I was going to wear it to the grocery store, just to get some mileage out of it!” she jokes.

But Johnson began reaping the benefits of her degree before she was even finished with seminary. Just a few months before graduation, she was invited to join D.C. Jacobson & Associates as a literary agent.

“It’s my dream job,” she says. “My education in recognizing exceptional writing, depth of content and theological integrity has led me to this career. Multnomah was instrumental in cultivating that passion and knowledge which will assist me as I assess Christian books for publication. I will always feel connected to MU, and I'm sincerely grateful for the role it has played in my life.”