Alumni

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

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.”

National Award Caps Remarkable College Experience

Erik Mendoza has been playing basketball for as long as he can remember. Like most kids, he learned the basics from dad in his front driveway. But unlike most kids, Mendoza began attending the Chicago Bulls Training Academy when he was 8. It was the '90s in Chicago. The Bulls were heroes; Michael Jordan was a king.

Mendoza, a die-hard Jordan fan, stayed at the academy until he was 15. After playing all four years of high school, he was ready to compete at the college level. A small school didn't appeal to him. He definitely wasn't planning on going to Multnomah.

erik_main‘Jesus has changed my life’

Mendoza’s step-dad and step-grandfather had attended MU. They had great things to say about the close-knit school in Portland. So despite some misgivings, Mendoza decided to visit.

Ultimately, it was the people that won him over.

"I was excited to move out West," he said. "And I had this curiosity about my faith."

Mendoza had been raised in the Church, but he was uncertain about what he'd learned there. Things changed when he moved onto campus his first year.

"When I came to MU, I was tired of an empty life," he said. Four years later, Mendoza is a different man. "Jesus has changed my life," he said. "He has given me so much peace."

Mendoza was also given endless opportunities to mature as an athlete and a Christ follower. His heart for others did not go unnoticed: This year, he was honored with the Pete Maravich Memorial Award, a national honor that annually recognizes an outstanding NCCAA senior who has shown excellence in competition, skill, academics and service.

‘I didn’t want to leave’

A year into Multnomah, Mendoza wasn't sure he was going to stay. He had developed a strong interest in business and marketing. At the time, MU had yet to launch its business program, so Mendoza considered transferring to a different school. He couldn't do it.

"I had made such good relationships here," he said. "I didn't want to leave."

The more he spoke to people about his interest in marketing, the more he felt a pull toward a psychology degree. Ultimately, he decided he could stay at MU and work toward the business world.

‘I've learned so much’

And that's exactly what Mendoza has done. During his sophomore year, he began working as a product tester for one of the world's top sports brands, Adidas. Every couple months, he'd take a pair of prototype shoes home and "wear the heck out of them." Over the next several months, Mendoza would take detailed notes on how the shoes felt, performed and stood up to countless hours in the court. Then he’d submit his observations to Adidas before starting the process all over again.

After two years of testing shoes, Mendoza interned in the product development department. The rapport he's built with Adidas, coupled with the experience he's gained at MU, has opened several doors for him. Since graduating in May, Mendoza has been busy interviewing for a few full-time positions at the company's headquarters in Portland.

"It's been nice to have the assurance that they want me at Adidas," he said. "I have no marketing experience. But through earning my psychology degree, I've learned so much about how people work. To translate that into marketing has not been that hard; it's actually given me a boost in how I view marketing."

Mendoza hasn't only learned how people think, he's also come to appreciate others more than ever. His second major, Bible & Theology, has helped him do that. "I love the layout of the program — that you get to go through the whole Bible in four years," he said. "And I appreciate the teaching. The professors are fantastic; they make it such a strong program, and they relate the Bible to real life."

erik_slider

A better and stronger person’

But it's the basketball team that's been the driving force in Mendoza's life these past four years.

"The team was the catalyst for me being at this school, learning what I've learned," he said. "It was always the one constant thing in my life."

Mendoza thrived while playing for the Lions. He served as team captain for three years. Basketball coach Curt Bickley puts a heavy emphasis on missions and community service; he's accompanied Mendoza and his team on mission trips to the Czech Republic and Taiwan. Mendoza has also volunteered, alongside his teammates, at Providence Children's Hospital for the past four years.

"All these things make the basketball team more than a basketball team," he said. "Coach Bickley is a fantastic role model. He creates men. He'll be blunt with you. But if you stick around, you'll come out a better and stronger person. He's one of the people here who has impacted me the most."

‘It’s been a good four years’

It was because of Bickley that Erik was nominated for the Pete Maravich Memorial Award.

"It never crossed my mind that I'd be nominated," Mendoza said. But Bickley had been impressed by Mendoza's growth during his time at MU, and he recommended him to the group of coaches that determines the award-winner.

The coaches voted for Mendoza.

When Bickley called him with the news, Mendoza was shocked. "I hadn't known I was even nominated until he called me and told me I'd won," he said. "I was pretty blown away."

The award seemed to come at the perfect time.

"I had been really anxious and scared about my basketball career ending, and I was trying to ignore it," he said. "It was bittersweet — but amazing — to see how God wrapped up my time here: The season came to an end, I made my last shot and then I found out about the award.

"I felt like it was God's way of saying, 'You've done a good job here, but it doesn't have to be sad. It's been a good four years, but it's time to move on to the next phase.'"

MU Celebrates its 50-Year Alumni during Graduation Week

Comments Off Written on May 7th, 2014 by
Categories: Alumni, Events
Every year, Multnomah honors its graduates of 50 years by inducting them into our 50-Year Alumni Society. To applaud this important achievement, we have a special day of celebration planned on Friday May 9, 2014. This year will mark our 13th annual celebration.
MU's 50-Year Alum Society

MU's 50-Year Alum Society

The day's events

The day's activities will include baccalaureate chapel, a special luncheon and induction ceremony, a 50-year class reunion and tour of the campus. The day will conclude with participation in Multnomah's graduation ceremony at Rolling Hills Community Church. It will be a wonderful time to reconnect with friends and review the Lord's faithfulness over the last 50 years.

'These society members are a testimony to us and to the generations that have followed'

I think there is something very special about this half-century mark that underscores the legacy of a Multnomah education. I believe it's a tangible expression of our rich heritage that truly demonstrates God’s faithfulness throughout the generations and the vitality of our daily relationship with Him. These 50-Year Alumni society members are a testimony to us and to the generations that have followed.

In speaking with Bill Kramer, one of this year’s 50 year society members, I was so encouraged by his heart for our graduates and his desire to encourage them in the journey ahead. I hope you enjoy his story and words of wisdom.

Encouragement to the Class of 2014 from 50-Year Society member Bill Kramer

Class of 2014, you’re not finished yet. Be ready to let Him amaze you. He delights in doing more than you can imagine. He will put before you opportunities that will force you to totally depend on Him. You are His servant. You are called to glorify Him and Him alone.

I completed my work at Multnomah in 1964. On November 28, 1967, Cadence International asked me if I would be willing to open a ministry with the U.S. Air Force in Ubon, Thailand. Their goal was for me to be in Thailand by the first of the year. That was in 30 days.

'God amazed me'

I had known for years I would end up somewhere overseas. But I was thinking, “Who will support me? I am a nobody.  I’m a farmer from Kansas.” One truth I had not grasped was that God is in charge. He delights in taking a nobody to show that He is somebody. What He does, He does for His glory.

I had 30 days to get my passport, my visa and my financial support. To my knowledge, my 70-year-old dad was not a believer. Every time I would bring up the subject, he would say, “I don’t want to talk about it.” I wanted to go back to Kansas to see my parents and talk to my dad one more time before I left for Thailand.

50YearAlum_main2

Bill and Jeannette Kramer

God amazed me. My support came in. My passport and visa were in order. And what thrilled my heart most was that my dad received Jesus a few days before I returned to Portland and departed for Thailand.

'We have found your wife'

Then God started to amaze me by the growing number of men he brought to my ministry. When I had been in Thailand for about a year, a close friend who was teaching at an elementary school wrote to me: “We have found your wife.”

My future wife, Jeannette, had been in Cameroon, Africa, teaching at a teacher training college, but was now teaching at the same school as my friend. I started writing to Jeannette. Our relationship via letters grew so naturally.

After five months, I proposed, and she accepted. In September of 1969, I returned to the States to meet  and marry Jeannette. As the aircraft  began its descent on the Portland Airport,  it hit me that there was a woman down there that I loved and was looking forward to spending the rest of my life with. Yet we had never met. That was almost 45 years ago. Jeannette was perfect for me.

'He is about to write His story on your life'

We were with Cadence for 23 years. We have worked in Thailand, Korea, Japan and Spain. God has given us fruit who are serving Him all over the U. S. and some overseas. We worked in pastoral ministry for another 20 years. For the last four years, we have been providing pastoral counselling and Bible Study materials for men in four different prisons.

God took me, that Kansas farmer, and amazed me by doing what I could have never imagined. He is about to write His story on your life.  Let Him, and you will be amazed.

— Bill Kramer

Multnomah University Updates

Presidential Search

Subsequent to Dr. Dan Lockwood’s announcement of his intended retirement, MU’s Board of Trustees formed a search committee and launched a nationwide search for a new university president. After Lockwood stepped down from the presidency November 1, 2013, the board appointed Dr. Wayne Stickland as interim president.

Read the rest of this entry »

A Message from Dr. Wayne Strickland, MU’s Interim President

Multnomah is in a time of transition. It is times like these that remind us to maintain our mission and yet move forward with innovations that allow us to be more effective in our execution of Christ’s mission for us. We must continually assess the challenges and opportunities before us. We have the rare opening to raise the outreach and impact of Multnomah. Read the rest of this entry »

Change, Challenges and Opportunities

These past few months have been characterized by change — a season that has marked me, shaped me and continued to challenge me towards a deeper dependence on Jesus than I have ever known.

Read the rest of this entry »

Lions and Sports and Fun — Oh My! You’re Invited to MU’s Free Athletics Alumni Day

This Saturday, February 15, Multnomah Athletics is hosting a special Athletics Alumni Day to celebrate all past and current MU athletes. This event is free, and everyone – alumni, students, staff and faculty – is invited and encouraged to bring friends, family, neighbors, youth groups and anyone else who will enjoy the day. Come prepared to dive into 12 hours packed with games, competition, camaraderie and lots of fun. Read the rest of this entry »