Ever since he was 16, Davey Walker wanted to come to Multnomah. But once he graduated high school, he changed his mind and opted for a different college. Over the next few years, he switched his major six times. Nothing felt right.
In the fall of his junior year, he felt stuck. Then MU popped into his head. Deep down, he’d always dreamed of becoming a pastor. “I’m a relational person,” he says. “I love seeing change in people.” And then there was the basketball team he could join. The reasons to go kept adding up. So Walker enrolled, added a church leadership major and never looked back.
“Starting anywhere is awkward at first, but the people here are warm and welcoming,” he says. “I have a solid group of friends now.”
Created to sing
Wendy Contreras has always loved to sing. She wanted to pursue a music degree 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 the point of making music: bringing people back to God.
Impacted by love
As global studies major, Heidi Birch started her freshman year of college at Multnomah, she had no idea that by the end of the academic year she would be sharing God’s glory all around The Land of a Thousand Hills — the nickname given to Rwanda, Africa.
This February, after Dr. Garry Friesen had retired from teaching at MU, he moved to Kigali, Rwanda, to teach at the African College of Theology (ACT), a newly formed Bible college. Dr. Friesen has a vision to build a bridge between the students of Multnomah University and the students of ACT, so he invited a team of six students from MU to visit Kigali in May this year.
Burch felt something tugging on my heart to at least interview for a spot on the team.
Better and stronger
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.
A year into Multnomah, Mendoza wasn’t sure he was going to stay, but 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.
When Rachel Perry 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 Perry. “I was welcomed so warmly by the people here.”
Perry always wanted to attend a smaller school, and MU’s close-knit community has turned out to be a perfect fit, especially the global studies major.
“Living on campus helps you learn how to care for others,” she says. “People feel really blessed and loved here.”
Ask Koby Krikac why he chose Multnomah and you’ll get a threefold answer: “One, it has the best language programs; two, it’s a biblical university; and three, it’s in Portland, and Portland’s weather is awesome,” he says.
That last reason might seem odd — especially coming from a Los Angeles native. But Krikac wouldn’t have it any other way. “I love how you can watch the seasons change here,” he says. “You see God’s beauty everywhere.”
The Greek major has big dreams, and MU is proving to be the perfect launching pad. The senior is set on one day translating the Bible into a different language and planting a church in France with his wife. Studying at MU has been the first step toward that goal.
Preparing the mind and spirit
Quincy Robinson was planning on becoming a brain surgeon when something happened that he didn’t expect: He fell in love with the Bible. Ever since he was a kid, Robinson has been crazy about languages. “When I discovered that I could learn how to read the Scriptures in their original languages, I was thrilled!” he says. “Translated texts make conclusions for you, but I wanted to be able to make my own conclusions.”
The Seattle native had heard of Multnomah’s rigorous language programs, and he planned to take full advantage of them. So he packed his bags and moved onto MU’s campus. He added a Hebrew major on top of his Bible & Theology major, and dove headfirst into his studies.
Russ Hersman remembers his first class at Multnomah like it was yesterday. How could you forget your professor shouting the entire Greek alphabet at you as he entered the room?
Everyone in Greek class felt intimidated that day. But despite the jarring welcome to higher education, Hersman was happy to find that professors didn’t just dictate facts and walk away — they encouraged students to research and think for themselves.
“They would tell us to check things out on our own,” said Hersman. He had just won the MU Alumnus of the Year Award for 2014 after completing his bible and theology degree.
Cross country is more than a sport to Sindy Larson. It’s a reflection of her spiritual journey. “Running helps me understand my walk with the Lord,” she says. “You need to be committed to it. We have to keep going through the pain.”
Larson has only been at MU a few months, but she’s positive she picked the right place to race. When the Orange County native was looking at colleges, she was impressed by Multnomah’s mission statement: equipping students to be biblically competent, academically proficient, spiritually formed and culturally engaged servant leaders. And when she visited, the campus community left a lasting impression. Now she’s working toward her educational ministries degree.
Making life matter
“I was afraid of picking the wrong thing,” says educational ministries major Paul Pastor. “I was afraid of going to college for something that wasn’t me or didn’t matter.”
Today, Paul is working as an editor for two of Christianity Today’s online publications. The rocks and rivers of rural Oregon had been his oyster up to that tense senior-year crossroads of life that we all experience. He dialed his options into a three-way split.
“There was the ministry Paul, who was interested in missions or ministry or something that eternally mattered,” he says.
Finding freedom in Christ
Anne Partridge didn’t want to go to Multnomah. She had one good reason: her father had gone there. And although she was close to him, she wanted to be different.
Partridge, who grew up in Auburn, Washington, earned her associate degree at a local community college. She was looking into universities when her dad encouraged her to visit MU. Partridge was resistant, but decided to check it out. Her visit changed her mind completely.
“The Bible and Theology major was the first and foremost reason I chose to go here,” she says. “It’s what differentiates Multnomah from other universities.
Helping people heal
Everyone 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.