February 2012

February in Review

 

February was a wonderful month here at Biola, filled with celebration.

I’m standing in the new facility of the Biola University Center for Christian Thought. What an appropriately beautiful space this is for all the God-honoring, scholarly collaboration that’s going to take place here. We dedicated the CCT on Feb. 6, and the inaugural semester is now underway, with our first eight research fellows - joined by scholars Nicholas Wolterstorff and Alvin Plantinga - currently exploring the topic, “Christian Scholarship in the 21st Century: Prospects and Perils.” I couldn’t be more grateful for this center getting underway. I thank God for his provision through the generosity of the John Templeton Foundation, whose $3 million gift will fund the first three years of this center’s important work.

I began the month of February in Washington, D.C., at a conference of Christian college presidents. While I was in Washington, I had the opportunity to meet with one of our alumni, Senator John Thune, a 1983 graduate and former  basketball player at Biola. I also spent some time with Congresswoman Linda Sanchez, and a representative from Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office.

Several government issues have emerged recently, which will certainly have implications for Christian higher education. I spoke of these while in Washington on the Hill.

One is college affordability - an issue that is close to my heart, and one that I know matters to so many of our students and their families. In his State of the Union Address on Jan. 24th, President Obama placed the national spotlight on the need for college affordability. At the same time, I want you to know that Biola University has been working to address the issue of affordability, striving to reduce students’ debt and financial sacrifice. In each of the past few years, Biola’s tuition increases have been kept to historically low rates, and a university-wide task force has been established to identify ways to limit costs. Our University Plan identifies affordability as one of the highest priorities in the years to come. I also applaud the work of many teams helping us as well as the lobbying efforts to protect state and federal financial aid. We are monitoring at the state and federal levels any legislation that may cut back on student funding.

The other prominent issue is the controversy which has been mounting over a federal regulation that would require religious employers to offer full contraception coverage—including the so-called morning-after pill and week-after pill—in their health insurance plans. As president of Biola University, I will continue to stand with other leaders, including Christian college presidents, against government intrusion on religious freedom. Additionally, Biola University will continue to affirm the biblical teaching on the sanctity of human life and our position that life begins at conception.

The Year of the Arts at Biola burst into full bloom this past month, and among the many highlights thus far in the semester was a visit from the poet and cultural critic, Dana Gioia. As the former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, and the current Professor of Poetry and Public Culture at USC, Mr. Gioia gave three sterling messages on the value of the arts for people of faith - addresses that will not soon be forgotten.

Biola’s Conservatory of Music staged the opera “Dialogues of the Carmelites,” the powerful, true story of 16 Carmelite nuns who were martyred during the Reign of Terror in France. What a tremendous accomplishment by our gifted student vocalists and musicians, led by Jeanne Robison and Marlin Owen. I sat beside a well known artist who wept during the final scene.

We are also enjoying the rare privilege of the museum-quality exhibit in our art gallery of Twentieth Century British Art, generously provided by our visionary in residence, Roberta Ahmanson.

Biola also hosted a significant conference this month: the annual Student Congress on Racial Reconciliation. This was the 16th annual SCORR conference. The theme this year was “A House of Prayer for All Peoples,” drawing from Isaiah 56:6-7. The SCORR conference defined what “all peoples” means for us today. They said, “For our times, 'all peoples' encompasses the ethnically and socioeconomically diverse, the immigrant, the urban, suburban and rural community, the global and international community.” The conference addressed the question, “How might our Christian colleges and universities reflect this house of God, a house for all peoples?” This is an especially relevant theme as we observed Black History Month at Biola through a number of events, including chapel messages by Mark Whitlock and Ricky Temple.

Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Biola’s 104th birthday. Biola celebrated with Spirit Week from Feb. 19-25. We had a Tweet Hunt, in which students turned to Twitter for scavenger hunt clues. I’ll be having lunch with one of the winners later this semester. There were special chapels and festivities all week, culminating in a tailgate birthday party before the basketball game on Biola’s birthday: February 25. God has been good for all of time, and in these last 104 years, he has shown his goodness to Biola.

Before I sign off, let me introduce this month’s Fifty@50 category. In January we shared with you a list of 50 films. This month, we’re sharing a list of “Fifty Poems to Stir My Soul.” My task is to read all 50 of these poems. I would love to hear your take on them as you make your way through the list, as well. Leave me a comment on Facebook, or Tweet your thoughts to me. Be sure not to miss the poem by Dana Gioia, who was with us just a few weeks ago.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

Brian MillerMarch 13, 2012 at 5:30 PM

Thank you for your steadfast leadership, Dr. Corey. I'm excited about the days ahead!

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