The best days are ahead

“Now Moses was 80 years old, and Aaron 83 years old, when they spoke to Pharaoh.”
Exodus 7:7


Dear Multnomah family,

The significance of this simple verse is often overlooked. Moses had been through a lot up until this point in his life. But at 80 years old, he was just getting started! The exodus from Egypt, the wilderness wanderings and the Promised Land awaited him. But first he must risk everything and stand before Pharaoh.

As Multnomah nears its 80th anniversary, Moses’ story reminds us that some of our best days are yet ahead of us. And just as Moses had Aaron by his side, we have the MU family — alumni, friends, staff, faculty and students. Aaron gave Moses confidence and courage. The MU family strengthens us every day with love, support, prayers and service.

MU is entering a new chapter as we expand our degree programs, sports and online offerings (check out for more details). We move forward deeply committed to prayer, outreach and the Bible, living out our mission in a way that’s relevant in today’s world. Just as we started in 1936 as a response to what the Pacific Northwest needed then — we respond today to what the world needs now.

This intentional response has brought about some exciting changes:

The business program’s growth is certainly a reply to the world’s clamor for more business graduates. But in a culture obsessed with money and power, business leaders who are ethical, fair and conscientious are needed more than ever.

That’s where our graduates come in. One of them, Dave Munson ’96, is accepting our Alumnus of the Year Award later this month. Even though Munson graduated long before our business major was around, MU equipped him with the foundation he needed to launch Saddleback Leather Company, his thriving business that crafts high-quality luggage, wallets, backpacks and more.

“Even if I knew the path of my life back then…even if I knew that one day I’d own Saddleback, I would go to Multnomah again,” says the CEO. “It was instilled in all of us there to be honest. There was a constant pounding on the drum for integrity.”
Munson hasn’t only applied those principles to his personal life — he’s built his entire business around them. Saddleback is committed to investing in its employees and cultivating a sustainable work environment for them. Read Munson’s full story.

Support from our Multnomah family helped Dave go into the world and make a difference. It prepares our graduates for careers in service to Jesus. And it sustains our mission: helping students become spiritually-formed and culturally-engaged servant leaders. Thank you for standing with us over the years like Aaron beside Moses! Will you boldly move forward with us and participate in an inspiring opportunity?

A wonderful friend of Multnomah has chosen to match — dollar for dollar — every gift* from MU alumni who have never given to MU or have lapsed in their giving. This friend will also match every gift from current givers that goes above what they gave last year. For instance, if you gave $1,200 last year and give $1,500 this year, the friend will match the $300 increase in your giving. Here is the really exciting part: This friend has committed up to $500,000 to MU!

Would you consider partnering with MU in response to this wonderful opportunity? Think about it: If every one of our alumni gave $80 in honor of our 80th year, we could meet the matching gift of $500,000 and launch more graduates like Dave Munson.

Please prayerfully give according to your ability. No gift is too small. To participate with your gift, fill out our gift form.

Your prayers, service and offerings strengthen Multnomah’s impact every day. Stand with us, like Aaron with Moses. Imagine all God has in store for us!


Rev. G. Craig Williford, Ph.D.

*All gifts must be received by June 30, 2016.

Watch our new global studies major video

The global studies program equips students for a deep commitment to understanding and engaging in the global issues affecting our world today.

"You don't have to wait to put things into practice...this program connects you with people working in cross-cultural settings right now," says global studies major Kevin Perry. "It's all about understanding other peoples' worldviews and understanding how I can love them better through understanding their cultural context."

Elementary Education major equips students to teach K-8, infuse biblical principles into lessons

Elementary Education graduates are licensed to teach K-8 and equipped to integrate biblical principles into their lesson plans. “It’s a rigorous program,” says Elementary Education major Natalie Ruttger. “[The professors] prepare you for everything, and they’re very current on what’s happening in schools right now.”

CEO of Saddleback Leather Co. Dave Munson chosen for 2015 Alumnus of the Year Award

PORTLAND, Ore. – Multnomah University is proud to announce the recipient of the 2015 Alumnus of the Year Award: Dave Munson, CEO of Saddleback Leather Company.


Munson began attending MU in 1992 after a mission trip inspired him to study the Bible like never before. “I wanted to do ministry the rest of my life, so I knew I needed more education,” he says. “I came to Multnomah because I was trying to be obedient.”

After graduating with a degree in Bible and Theology, Munson moved to Mexico and began teaching English. He looked everywhere for the perfect carry-on to hold his school books, but nothing fit his criteria. That’s when he collaborated with a local craftsman to design his first leather bag.

When the bag started receiving multiple compliments a day, a lightbulb turned on in Munson’s head. He scrimped and saved for more bags and then sold them — first out of his Land Cruiser, then via eBay, and now through Saddleback Leather Company, his thriving business that crafts high-quality luggage, wallets, backpacks and more.

“Even if I knew the path of my life back then…even if I knew that one day I’d own Saddleback, I would go to Multnomah again,” says Munson. “It was instilled in all of us there to be honest. There was a constant pounding on the drum for integrity.”

Munson hasn’t only applied those principles to his personal life — he’s built his entire business around them. Saddleback is committed to investing in its employees and cultivating a sustainable work environment for them. This fall, the company’s factory in Mexico will start providing free day care and school for employees’ children. Factory workers can also enroll in complimentary parenting classes, marriage seminars, counseling sessions and English courses.

Saddleback also shows its English teachers how they can respectfully share the gospel with employees. So far this year, 104 people have accepted Jesus in Munson’s factory. “This is not a business created for just financial motives,” he says. “If God had a factory, we think this is how he would run it.”

Michelle Underwood, Multnomah’s director of alumni relations, says Munson’s heart for serving his employees is one of the reasons he was selected as this year’s award recipient. “Dave is a graduate who has not only distinguished himself as a business owner, but has also demonstrated that his business is a ministry to his employees and customers,” she says. “His passion, drive, humility and generosity make him a wonderful selection for the 2015 Alumnus of the Year.”

Munson will be honored with the Alumnus of the Year award at 10 a.m. on September 7, 2015. All staff, faculty and students are welcome to attend the celebration. During the event, Munson will share more about his personal journey and business model.

Alumna, naturopathic doctor Mia Potter infuses faith with career

Mia Potter isn’t your typical doctor. She doesn’t see dozens of patients each day. She isn’t fixated on conventional medicine. And she doesn’t focus on your symptoms.

Potter is a naturopathic doctor (N.D.). She completed a naturopathic medical doctoral program*, passed the national and state board exams for licensure, and works as a primary care physician at Selah Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon.

Her initial appointments with patients last between 60 and 90 minutes; follow-up visits are 30-45. An average appointment with a conventional doctor is 15 minutes.


“I have space with people to hear their stories,” she says. “It’s so rewarding when someone feels heard and when a treatment plan works.”

Potter’s treatment plans are as varied as the patients she sees; she doesn’t settle for a one-size-fits-all approach. “If three different people come to me with headaches, they might need three different treatments,” she says.

It takes time and patience to find and remove the root cause of an illness, and Potter is committed to finding the truth — not merely suppressing symptoms. “A headache might be caused by hormones, an allergy, lifestyle, diet, ergonomics or something else,” she says. “I try to be a detective with my patients.”

‘We want to be fixed quickly’

Many of the people Potter helps are disappointed with conventional medicine and desperate for lasting relief. But the naturopathic approach to health is not necessarily the fastest.

“We want to be fixed quickly, but it took many years for most of us to create the patterns that impact our health,” she says. “It takes years, if not a lifetime, to relearn how to live and function differently.”

Years of retraining may seem daunting, but Potter knows the rewards are worth the struggle. “It’s very much like our walk with the Lord,” she says. “As we change and grow, it can be new and awkward and confusing, but God has created things to support us. My hope is that I can journey with people while encouraging, empowering and equipping them to live healthier lives.”

‘A transformative year’

Potter’s own journey to naturopathic medicine began years before she knew what a naturopathic doctor was. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Nutritional Science from UC Berkeley before becoming a nutritionist. Through a conference she met Mission: Moving Mountains, a holistic community development agency serving countries around the world.

Potter decided to join their ministry in Senegal, Africa, but she had to prep first: One of the requirements was a strong biblical foundation. That’s how she found herself enrolled in the graduate certificate program at Multnomah.

The 12-month course was a pivotal point in her life. “It was a transformative year,” she says. “I grew up in church and was taught a doctrine, but at Multnomah there were so many different perspectives. I was in awe. The box I had God in got exploded.”

Living on campus only enhanced her experience. “My roommates became my closest friends — we studied, prayed, cried and had a lot of fun together,” she says. “It was a really special, supportive community. I still have friends from then.”

‘A better resource’

Once Potter graduated she joined Mission: Moving Mountains in Africa, where she served on a team as a nutritionist. After six months, she returned to Oregon and married a young man she’d met at Multnomah.

The next season of Potter’s life was filled with career development as she conducted exercise and diet research at the Portland VA Hospital and Oregon Health and Science University. She worked part-time as a nutritionist in between her research jobs.

“My job made me discover that I wanted to be a better resource for my patients,” she says. That’s when her husband stepped in. “He told me I should be a naturopathic doctor. I said, ‘What the heck is that?’ But once I looked into it, I realized it fit perfectly into the path the last decade of my life had taken.”

‘The ultimate holistic healer’

That path has led her right to Selah Natural Medicine, where she practices as a primary care physician. She also teaches classes on nutrition and eating disorders to graduate students at the Helfgott Research Institute.

The biblical wisdom she cultivated at Multnomah continues to inspire Potter and her career. “My faith influences every aspect of my work,” she says. “So much of naturopathy is steeped in the Scriptures. Think about the manna for the Israelites and the living water for the woman at the well. God provides for people in the ways they need; he goes to the root cause of their issues. He is the ultimate holistic healer.”

Potter says MU fostered an openness to talk with the Lord that still influences her prayers today. “There are so many things I took from Multnomah,” she says. “I learned to walk with open hands. I pray for my patients. I trust that God will bring them to me if they’re supposed to cross my path.”

And when they do, Potter is ready to hear their stories — and help change their lives.


*Accredited, naturopathic medical doctoral programs are comprised of the hard sciences, clinical and lab diagnosis, pharmacology, treatment modalities such as botanical medicine, homeopathy, nutrition, and physical medicine, as well as clinic internships. Learn more about naturopathic medicine.

Psychology graduate Erik Mendoza takes his skills to Adidas

Comments Off Written on June 25th, 2015 by
Categories: Alumni, Athletics, Press Releases, Students

A Multnomah degree won’t just qualify you for a rewarding career and equip you for grad school — it will set you apart as a redeeming force in the workplace. Erik Mendoza’s experience at MU provided a solid foundation for his future, and the principles he took from the classroom — and the basketball court — continue to inspire him.

The psychology major thrived while playing for the Lions. He served three years as team captain and was awarded the Pete Maravich Memorial Award, an annual honor given to the nation’s most outstanding NCCAA Division II athlete. He also volunteered with his teammates at a local children’s hospital and even traveled with them on mission trips to the Czech Republic and Taiwan.

“Those experiences make the basketball team more than a basketball team,” Mendoza says. “If you stick around, you’ll come out a better and stronger person.”

Upon graduating, Mendoza was hired by one of the world’s top sports brands: Adidas. Now he’s a retail marketing specialist for the company’s basketball, baseball and football divisions.

“My psychology degree taught me so much about how people work, and translating that into marketing hasn’t been hard,” he says. “I love my job. Multnomah challenged me academically and gave me the ability to work and perform at a high level. At the same time, it instilled in me a genuine love for people.”


New scholarship named after beloved professor

Multnomah University is adding a new scholarship named after Distinguished Professor Emeritus David Needham, who taught at MU for 44 years. The David C. Needham Scholarship is being made possible by a generous donation from two Multnomah alumni — a married couple who wish to remain anonymous.


A heart for missions

The couple, who met at Multnomah in the 1960s, was struck by Needham’s humble style of teaching and tender heart for students. They have a deep appreciation for the friendship they’ve cultured with Needham and his wife Mary Jo for the past 45 years. By providing a scholarship under Needham’s name, they hope to celebrate their former teacher while blessing current students who feel called to missionary work.

“We are pleased to be giving this scholarship to students who have a heart for missions, particularly unreached peoples and East Africa,” they said.

After serving as missionaries in the Mexicali Valley for 15 years, the couple began developing ministries in Tanzania and East Africa — an adventure they have been committed to for the past 20 years.

Transforming forces in the world

Needham was thrilled to receive the news of the scholarship. “I was happily amazed when I heard about it,” he said. “This scholarship is helping MU fulfill its mission — equipping students to become transforming forces in the world.”

The price of a college education is high, Needham added, but he thinks the new scholarship will be a big encouragement to students who want to serve.

“I hope that Multnomah will accomplish its goal of teaching them to live the Christian life and share it with others,” he said. “I hope that they will have the proficiency to share the Gospel with people around the world, and I hope that this scholarship will continue to grow year by year.”

A gift from David Needham

Since Needham’s retirement from Multnomah in 2008, he has kept busy teaching adult classes at his church and writing. He has published four books, including “Close To His Majesty,” which he is offering to the Multnomah community for free.

In lieu of payment, we invite you to consider giving a gift to a student through the David C. Needham Scholarship. Visit our donation page to contribute any amount you choose.

Download your free copy of “Close To His Majesty.”

Psychology major combines biblical truth with cutting-edge theory

MU’s psychology major mixes psychological theory — perspectives from the past and today's cutting-edge ideas — with biblical truth.

“This major is designed to answer questions about human nature,” says Psychology Department Chair Dr. Elliott Lawless. “If you like to ask questions, think deeply and help other people, then you are the type of student who would do well in this program.”

Learn more about our psychology program.

‘Relationships are everything’: Business major Grant Warner puts people before profit


There are no limits at MU. You can develop a level of expertise that will prepare you for the finest graduate schools and the most prestigious companies — and you can align your studies with what you value most.

Grant Warner dreams of starting an organization that trains entrepreneurs in developing nations to run their own companies. He's convinced Multnomah is the best place to prepare.

"We can learn all the big business terms in class, but what business comes down to is focusing on relationships with others," he says. "I've learned that you're not just in ministry if you're a pastor or a missionary. Ministry is wherever you are."

While he lays the groundwork for a gratifying career, the business major is enjoying everything Multnomah has to offer, including the challenging classes and Christian fellowship.

The professors make MU unique," he says. "I meet with them regularly, and they're interested in my life. The want me to succeed."

The same goes for his classmates. "The people here actually want to know how you're doing when they ask you," he says. "You don't have to beg someone to pray for you — they just stop and do it."

Warner says MU is reinforcing the value of loving God and loving people. "The education I'm getting is exceptionally beneficial," he says. "It's showing me I don't have to be a genius to succeed. Studies are important, but relationships are everything."


Elementary education graduate Kylie Cole opens private preschool

Kylie Cole opened her own preschool just one year after graduation. “Multnomah gave me the tools for my toolbox that I needed,” says the elementary education major. “My education equipped me mentally, emotionally and spiritually for this.” Read the full story.