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Spring 2012

The Magazine of Gordon College


A Place for Invention 14 Mark Sargent: On the “Living Ground” of Gordon College 17

Also in This Issue 28 Indwelling Urban (+ Rural) Landscapes 30 Living the History: People, Places and Connections


14 Photo Mark Spooner ’14

A place for invention A key part of the Gordon ethos is inventive, entrepreneurial approaches to contemporary issues. Here, members of Advocates for a Sustainable Future ( distribute basil, cilantro and dill seeds to fellow students— part of an effort to encourage small-scale food production in the residence halls.

14 Introduction

Three essays explore Gordon as a “place for invention.”

17 The Last of the

Rowanberrys—or, The “Living Ground” of Gordon College By Mark Sargent

Provost Sargent unpacks five key themes he believes are essential parts of the College’s DNA, themes that can be traced in the “living ground” of this very particular campus. Along the way he pays tribute to a varied and colorful cast of characters.

25 Fear Not: Security, Risk,

and Academic Freedom By Dan Russ

A student’s question prompted Academic Dean Dan Russ to reflect upon academic freedom within a framework of faith.

27 What Happened to

Changing the World? By David Hicks ’13

Current junior David Hicks ruminates on the key role that imagination plays in truly robust intellectual work.

On the Cover Desktops are fertile “places for invention.” This invented one has office objects borrowed from our contributors, arranged on graph paper. The crisp grid suggests the order and structure of “chronos” time: the world of spreadsheets and deadlines. The Gordon College seal references our shared ideals as an institution, hinting at the “kairos’’ realm of the Kingdom. Cover Photo: Rebecca Woslely ’12

47 Stepping from the writhing streets of traffic outside our door into the green forest felt like entering nature’s cathedral.












28 Indwelling: Urban (+ Rural) Landscapes

By Christen Yates Belief in a relational, triune God undergirds the work of the Office of Community Engagement.

30 Living the History: People, Places and Connections By David Goss ’74

This former history major is now deeply involved in local history.

32 Essay: The Jerusalem and

Athens Forum Tackles the Seven Deadly Sins Each year STILLPOINT sponsors a JAF essay contest. This year’s winner was Tala Strauss ’13.

Going Deeper 34 Mentoring: By Rachael Bailey ’12 A scholar-athlete on the importance of mentors.


36 Value Added: A Tribute to Bruce Webb

By Stephen L. S. Smith Bruce Webb has been a foundational influence on the study of economics at Gordon.

37 The “Twinkle”: A Tribute to Robert Joss By Bert Hodges

Robert Joss has brought “wisdom, gravitas and grace” to his department and to Gordon.

38 Visionary: A Tribute to Mark Sargent

By Bruce Herman Mark Sargent has built an enduring foundation for the life of the mind at Gordon.

39 Motivator: A Tribute to Charles Matheson By Don Baron ’53

Up Front 2

with President Lindsay

Inspiration 3 A Full Slate 4 SPORKS 5

informative fauxlosophy

On the Grapevine 6

Student, Faculty and Staff News

40 Alumni Class Notes

Stories about Don Baron ’53, Anna (Biegler) Shipe ’74B, Julie (Zine) Coleman ’79, Marc Pitman ’95, Dawn Gadow ’09 and much more.






Up Front with President Lindsay

Education=Transformation “Pull quote goes here. Num veleseq uismodignim zzriuscil doluptat. Cum nos duis nulput digna con volenim ent augait wis nit aut aliqui blan.”

Photo Dan Nystedt ’06

We have a legacy of bringing people together for the common cause of making the Gospel plausible and compelling to skeptical minds. At Gordon, we care not only about our own community but also about the wider witness of Christians in higher education. To the extent that the plausibility of the Gospel in New England depends on a single institution, Gordon College is uniquely positioned to facilitate the church’s embrace of the world of ideas and academe’s embrace of the world of faith. As you may know, the March issue of Christianity Today explored the future of Christian higher education and featured an interview with me and the new president of Wheaton College, Philip Ryken. The interview made it clear that Christian colleges like Gordon and Wheaton are at the tip of the spear in engaging the incredible challenges emerging in the world. Year after year we send out thoughtful, faithful women and men to the places where faith and culture meet. No single institution can succeed in this daunting, important task.

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At the same time, Gordon College stands distinct from its Christiancollege peers. For a long time, we have exercised what I call “convening power.” By this I mean we have a legacy of bringing people together for the common cause of making the Gospel plausible and compelling to skeptical minds. For example, Gordon is the institutional home of Christians in the Visual Arts (CIVA), which provides a forum for those who speak truth to the world through artistic excellence. Later this year we will host two important biennial gatherings of hundreds of scholars. In May, Christians in Political Science will convene on the Gordon campus for an intensive time of reflection on issues of power, justice and the political order. In October, the Conference on Faith and History will welcome historians from a variety of Christian traditions—and from outside the Christian tradition—for three days designed to encourage excellence in the study of history. We are glad for

these opportunities to leaven scholarly discussions with the Gordon ethos. We are also glad to be able to highlight the contributions of our people, who truly are at the heart of our mission. Consider our recently launched series of advertisements (including two in the March and April issues of Christianity Today). In these, we highlight the spiritual and intellectual transformations that can occur in students’ lives when faculty members take a personal interest. Many colleges tout their faculty-to-student ratios and their nurturing academic environments, but few can compete with Gordon’s excellent record of faculty-student mentoring relationships. I am proud to say that the tagline for these ads— Education is transformation. At Gordon, we take it personally—is much more than just a slogan. It’s our commitment.

President’s Page

In each issue


Volume 27 Number 2

“At the still point of the turning world.” T. S. Eliot, referring to God in his poem Four Quartets Editorial


Patricia C. Hanlon Editor

Adrianne Cook ’92 Director of Alumni and Parent Relations

Cyndi McMahon Staff Writer


John Mirisola ’11 Staff Writer

D. Michael Lindsay President

Hilary Sherratt ’12 Student Writer

Rick Sweeney ’85 Vice President for Marketing and Strategic Communications

CREATIVE Tim Ferguson Sauder Creative Director Rebecca Powell Amy Harrell ’07 Publication Design

Address changes Development Office

other correspondence Editor, STILLPOINT | Gordon College 255 Grapevine Road, Wenham MA 01984

PRINTING Deschamps Printing | Salem, Massachusetts

STILLPOINT, the magazine for alumni and friends of the United College of Gordon and Barrington, is published twice a year and has a circulation of over 16,500. Opinions expressed in STILLPOINT are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Gordon College administration.

Deep Friendships Adrianne Cook ’92, Director of Alumni and Parent Relations Mentors, confidants, friends. The relationships I found at Gordon 20 years ago still mean the world to me today. Some were faculty members who invested in me by teaching me their craft, listening to my questions, offering their counsel. Their office doors were always open. Others were dedicated staff, people passionate about their work, but also about each student they worked with. I have such great memories of being on Orientation staff, being a resident assistant, giving campus tours—each area had amazingly committed staff who shone Christ’s light in whatever they were called to do. I could fill the rest of this STILLPOINT with stories of the deep friendships I made here. Even after 20 years, it still feels like yesterday when we rehash our Gordon memories. When I was offered my dream job, I had my Gordon friends on my speed dial. When my dad passed away last year, the first person I called was one of my roommates from senior year. In my role at Gordon, I am privileged to share with alumni and parents how important these types of relationships still are. Yes, the campus may look different than it did in 1992. Sure, there are many new faces and we’ve said goodbye to some very dear ones over the years. But what is so inspiring to me now is that those crucial, life-changing relationships are still found here today. Getting to see a freshman class come onto campus and meet the mentors and friends they’ll know the rest of their lives is a tremendous blessing. What a joy to see all those relationships lived out at Gordon and beyond.

Photo Kellyn Boyden ’15

Gordon College is an equal opportunity institution and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, sex, or national or ethnic origin. Reproduction of STILLPOINT in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited.

Spring 2012 | STILLPOINT 3






A Full Slate

“For a long time, Gordon has exercised what I call ‘convening power.’” —President Michael Lindsay During President Lindsay’s inaugural year, several new speaker series have launched, continuing and taking to new levels the College’s

Photo Dan Nystedt ’06

identity as a place of vibrant intellectual life. March 9: A CEO’S LAST STAND The second installment of Gordon’s forum for Boston area business leaders featured Gerard J. Arpey, former Chairman and CEO of American Airlines (top photo; see story, page 13). March 19: A SENATOR’S VIsit The senior senator from Massachusetts, John F. Kerry, was the featured speaker at the inaugural Richard F. Gross Distinguished Lecture Series at Gordon College. Named in honor of Gordon’s sixth president, this new annual lecture will feature prominent public officials, scholars and leaders representing a diversity of contemporary perspectives (second photo: from left, Sen. Kerry chats with President Lindsay and with former Gordon president Dr.

Photo Dan Nystedt ’06

Richard Gross). April 2: WHY WOULD GOD CALL US TO PUBLIC SERVICE? TWO JOURNEYS OF FAITH AND Public LIFE The third Conversations with the President event was a thoughtful dialogue moderated by President Michael Lindsay and featuring Ron Tschetter, former director of the Peace Corps, and J. Brady Anderson, former administrator of USAID (third photo: left and right, respectively). April 10: DOING VIRTUOUS BUSINESS: PERSPECTIVES FROM CHIEF EXECUTIVES A panel discussion—moderated by former Gordon professor and alumnus Dr. Theodore Roosevelt (Ted) Malloch—followed a screening of Doing Virtuous Business, a documentary based on Malloch’s best-

Photo Dan Nystedt ’06

selling book of the same title. May 7: GORDON CELEBRATION OF FAITHFUL LEADERSHIP The first annual Gordon Celebration of Faithful Leadership will honor George F. Bennett—longtime leader in Boston’s financial world— as the inaugural recipient of the George F. Bennett Leadership Award. The event, featuring former Minnesota Governor Timothy J. Pawlenty, will support scholarships for Gordon students. May 18–19: commencement weekend The Baccalaureate Service will feature a special message by Dr. Mark Sargent, Gordon provost for 16 years. Commencement Exercises will feature a keynote address by former Gordon president Dr. R. Judson Carlberg. The College will also confer honorary degrees upon Dr. Mark Sargent, John A. Kanas and Peter Bennett.

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Photo Nick LaVecchia

In each issue

Story bryan parys ’04

Installation 14: 10 Fragments on Movement

1. I live in Amesbury, and my plants are dying. Amesbury has identity issues. Its bucolic side is home to vineyards, farms, and the birthplace of poet John Greenleaf Whittier. Its businesses, however, parade with the gentrified urbanity of its sister, Newburyport. Here, Amesbury feels like the younger sibling, jealous that Newburyport got a date to the prom, and we’re still looking at an old yearbook.

2. I’m turning 30 this year, I’ve recently returned to Gordon as both a staff and faculty member, and then there’s still that I-have-a-son thing. I would call this a transition year, but I’m not sure there’s been a time in the last decade when I’ve had any clue where I’d be a year from where I currently stood. At what point does “transition” become just my version of sameold, same-old? 3. We moved to Amesbury because it is the middle point linking our old place in Dover, NH, and Gordon. It’s as if we got stuck between where we were, and where we are trying to go. We moved, and it seems we’re still moving. In fact, there’s a strong chance that by the time this column sees print, we’ll have moved to Beverly to be closer to work and friends. 4. I’ve been unpacking photographs. Here’s one: My father, Alfred Parys, is flying over the tip of Cape Cod in 1963. He is 14. The curve of the earth is visible, cutting a graying arc against the sky. The view from the plane is oddly house-like, the window squared and large—not the stunted monocles of a 747. It is as if he were sitting on a couch in a living room, gazing over the surface of a sepia, backyard moon. Alfred soars, peephole pressed against the ridge of his eye socket, searching for just the right moment to click the button, expose the aperture, and stop moving forever. I don’t know his destination, but I like to think that neither of us—me now, him then—cares about that part.

through a truck phase, and not the majority of the crowd that has learned to associate these noises with utter catastrophe. Following the emergency vehicles are a few shoddy Boy Scout floats, and that one retired guy who’s very, very proud of his ’57 Chevy.

I would call this a transition year, but I’m not sure there’s a been a time when I’ve had any clue where I’d be a year from where I currently stood. And, bringing up the rear, there’s a Santa Claus cocking and unloading a rifle into the air while bellowing his ho-ho-ho’s.

7. I am a parade of slow emergencies. Natalie and I have moved eleven times in less than eight years. I desperately want the next place to stick, the plane to land, finally, and clear up the foggy dream world of what-I’d-like-tobe-someday.

8. Which is better: to be the tracks that have frozen in place, or the outline, created by the falling snow? 9. Sometimes, after you’ve moved to a new place, unpacking can take so long, it begins to feel normal. And then, the placing of fragments out for all to see becomes the only way to make sense of where you were, and where you hope to stay. The fragments go together, but you may not be the one to arrange them. Perhaps the best thing is just to lay the trinkets out on the rug and step back.

10. I want to move and be moved. The difference, I swear to you, is not that big.

5. I am sitting on a rock in the Gordon Woods, and it feels like no one has ever sat here. The crushed cans tell me otherwise. December snow covers a dueling set of bicycle tracks frozen into the mud. The snow has fallen lightly, and it has recreated each track’s rise and divot so perfectly that there is no difference between movement that is past, and movement that is still happening. 6. When Natalie, our son Alfie, and I attend the Amesbury Christmas parade, we really have no idea what is going on. Every emergency vehicle in town is crawling down the otherwise empty Main St., sirens blaring full-tilt. My guess is that its purpose is to entertain the small fraction of boys going

bryan parys works in the Gordon Education Department, and teaches creative writing in the English Department. He is at work on a memoir on faith, doubt and other things that keep him awake at night.

Spring 2012 | STILLPOINT 5






News: On the Grapevine

Student, Faculty and staff news

Photo Firstname Lastname ’11 Photo Rebecca Wolseley ’12

Deep Faith

During a fast-paced inaugural year, DEEP FAITH week was a contemplative and restorative pause. Michael Ramsden, European Director of the Ravi Zacharius Trust, came to campus to exhort and encourage.

A Student’s Reflections By Hilary Sherratt ’12

Michael Ramsden, European Director of the Ravi Zacharius Trust, quickly abandoned his post behind the lectern and instead paced the Chapel stage, gesturing towards the gathered students and faculty, engaging them in a close reading of the first chapter of the gospel of Luke. “Both Mary and Zechariah have a similar, scientific objection to the revelation they’ve been given,” Ramsden noted. Yet the answers they get to their questions are different. Whereas Zechariah is struck dumb, Mary is given an explanation. The difference between the questions, Ramsden explained, is the difference between cynicism and confusion.

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The Chapel was unusually still, except for the scribbling of pens on journal pages and spare notebook paper. It was an earnest receptiveness that permeated the entire Gordon campus during DEEP FAITH week, a time of spiritual reflection and renewal during the week of February 6, encompassing all three Chapel and Convocation services, with additional evening services Monday through Wednesday. “There is a history of grassroots student desire for extended worship, a call to repentance and renewal—A Night with the King; Reveal and Respond; The Forgotten Third,” said Greg Carmer, dean of chapel, referring to several past such movements at Christian colleges. “We wanted to try and find a space in the calendar to honor and address that desire.”

This desire coincided with President Lindsay’s hope for a moment in his inaugural year to call the community to a renewed relationship with God. DEEP FAITH was born of these desires and hopes; and Michael Ramsden’s name rose quickly to the top of the list of possible speakers. “He could do both the thinking and the feeling or responsive parts of the week—both the heart and the mind—in a way that doesn’t build dichotomies between them,” said Carmer. And indeed, in his Friday convocation address, Ramsden offered reflections on the foundational reality of our being in Christ, rather than just our thinking, doing, and feeling. The week’s addresses affirmed students’ freedom to ask questions of the faith, and to think critically and deeply about

On the Grapevine

their commitments as Christians. Yet it also encouraged the Gordon community to ask thoughtful, responsible and deep questions. Ramsden suggested that Zechariah asks questions, not out of confusion or a desire to know the answer, but out of cynicism; as Dr. Carmer put it, out of “satisfied discontent.” Perhaps most importantly, the week renewed awareness of our common commitment of faith. As Carmer said, “Many students long for spiritual friendships—people we trust enough to talk honestly with, to pray with, share hope and joy and sorrow with. This week gives people a nudge towards connecting with others on these matters.”

For more than two decades Barry has earned respect as a man of integrity with an abiding concern for the welfare of Gordon students. Beyond leading numerous campus entities—including Residence Life, Counseling, Career Services, Gordon in Lynn, La Vida Center for Outdoor Education, Campus Recreation, international and ALANA

student programs, and the Health Center, Barry has represented Gordon on the national level as chair of the CCCU Student Development Peer Group. He also has served as president of the Association for Christians in Student Development (ACSD) and earned the Don Boender Award for Distinguished Service from the ACSD. 

Woodblocks and the Word Hilary Sherratt ’12

“It is the mundane rhythms that really change us,” Dr. Carmer reminded me as I headed out of his office after talking with him. “When we go back to normal, we should ask: What is normal for us? These events can influence that norm.” Indeed, as the campus returns to its usual rhythms, and students, faculty and staff return to their daily tasks, it is with a renewed awareness of the need to love God with our hearts and minds. Hilary Sherratt is a senior Pike scholar majoring in Religion, Ethics and Politics. She is from Rowley, Massachusetts. She tweets at @hilarysherratt and blogs at 

Barry Loy Assumes Expanded Role

Photo Rebekah Frangipane ’11

Veteran administrator Barry Loy assumed the title of Vice President for Student Life as of January 1, taking on responsibility for Athletics and the Chapel Office while retaining his role as head of the Center for Student Development.

Hannah Strauss’s final project for her Printmaking course was to create three pieces that were connected. She chose 9 x 12 woodblocks as her medium, and three Gordon College professors— Graeme Bird (left), Emmanuelle Vanborre (right) and Moises Park, all Languages and Linguistics colleagues—as her subject matter. She asked them: “How does the Incarnation change the way we think about immigration and crosscultural experiences?” Hannah and the professors ended up talking about everything from jazz clubs in Boston to French culture to immigration law. The professors also shared their reflections on the importance of language and culture in how we know Christ. “There is a whole history, culture and relationship with Christianity in a language,” says Hannah. “I was intrigued by these conversations, and I want to explore this theme further.” Of the actual process, Hannah says, “There’s something tangible and organic about carving wood. It’s meditative and physical.” Carving away wood gave her time to think about the faces she was carving. “It’s a beautiful way to know someone’s face, to bring it out of the wood, which has a character of its own. I got to dwell on who the professors are, and on how the Word took the form of a Person.” 

Spring 2012 | STILLPOINT 7






Global Education Students Re-Envision “Home” 1


Imagine living all of life in boats— swimming, sleeping, eating, and throwing waste; cleaning, playing, fishing, and washing—all on the tan-colored water and under the touchable horizon. That day I watched a mother and son clamber, scramble and swim about their floating house, tying and tugging at something that had come loose, while I sat in my shaded boat and snapped pictures. —Rachel Bell ’12, Cambodia




Each year the Global Education Office hosts a photo contest for those returning from study abroad and SMP experiences. The winning photo is bought by the GEO for framing and STILLPOINT publishes the photo and student explanation. This year’s theme was Re-Envisioning Home. Danielle Johnson ’13, an international affairs major from Fairview, North Carolina, took the winning photo. The photo contest theme, “Re-envisioning Home,” is expressive of GEO’s mission. All global semester programs emphasize community engagement and serious commitment to living IN the host community—to accept hospitality, but also to bring something to the table.

Home for the Children 1st place


“This young girl was dancing on the rooftop of a children’s home in Bapatla, Andhra Pradesh, India. The children, who came to the home from families that could not support them, taught us through their joy that a true home is much more than just a place: it is something felt deeply, a gift from God to be celebrated.” —Danielle Johnson ’13, India


Unlikely Library 2nd place

While staying on a rural Namibian homestead I encountered this makeshift library in the crumbling cement block home of my host parents. The topics

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ranged from Anglican theology to the HIV/AIDS crisis to the history of Europe. It was this pile of books that opened the door for deep conversations with my host family and enabled us to focus on our commonalities rather than our differences. Home is based upon our interactions with others as much as it is a physical place; I now find myself having multiple homes and many families. —Alison Bitzer ’12, Namibia


Vietnamese Floating Village 3rd place

There are no people to see in this picture—I couldn’t be so invasive—but they are there and this is their home.


A Simple Smile 4th place

A rural villager sits outside her home, waiting for her shift to watch for forest fires (a job funded by the Communist Party). On a trip to the Chinese countryside, my Rural Economics class passed by this smiling lady. We yelled from afar, “Ni hao ma?” (“How are you”?) She responded, “It’s a beautiful day!” Despite the poor living conditions and the smoggy air that pollutes China’s cities and people’s lungs, she still waved and smiled. —Donald Andrews ’13, China


Armenian Divine Liturgy 5th place

This photograph was taken on Tuesday during Holy Week, in Jerusalem. In the courtyard just outside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, a line of Armenian Orthodox priests were performing the hours-long Divine Liturgy. In some ways it was very foreign: the strange cone-shaped headdresses of the priests, the choir boys, the humble scarved women seemingly blocked from the action. But I knew we worshipped one and the same Lord; and it was in this alone that I came to reenvision home: my home is in Christ and His Body. —Caleb Poehler ’12, Jerusalem More about Global Education at Gordon: More student photos by may be viewed at 

On the Grapevine

God and the Atlantic Wins Christianity Today 2012 Book Award

Photo Danny Ebersole ’11

From nearly 400 titles submitted by 52 publishers, God and the Atlantic: America, Europe, and the Religious Divide by Thomas Albert (Tal) Howard, Stephen Phillips Chair of History, and Director of both the Center for Christian Studies and the Jerusalem and Athens Forum, has been selected as one of only 15 to receive Christianity Today’s 2012 Book Award. Published by Oxford University Press, Howard’s 272-page book explores the United States’ and Western Europe’s diverging religious paths to modernity. University of Notre Dame historian and author Mark Noll called Howard’s book “a path-breaking exploration. For breadth of research, depth of historical insight, and timeliness of publication, God and the Atlantic is an unusually fine work.” On choosing God and the Atlantic for the history and biography category (which tied with Oxford University Press’s biography on Charles Hodge), CT editors wrote: “Howard’s elegantly written book adds depth and clarity to a question that has long confounded Americans and Europeans: Why has religion become an influential political force in America even though it was stripped of formal political stature? Howard has mined the writings of a stunning variety of European intellectuals, conservative and liberal, who judged the American experience to be out of step with modernity.” Howard is also the author of Religion and the Rise of Historicism, and Protestant Theology and the Making of the Modern German University, which was a winner of the Lilly Fellows Program Book Award for 2007. “This award for his important book reinforces what we at Gordon have long known: Tal is an exceptionally productive scholar and astute observer of culture and ideas,” said Gordon Provost Mark Sargent. “His latest book rekindles interest in some relatively forgotten American and European thinkers, offering new, richly textured perspectives on religion in American and European civic life.” 

Faculty Books James W. Trent (social work): The Manliest Man: Samuel G. Howe and the Contours of Nineteenth-Century American Reform focuses on Howe’s social reform efforts in antebellum America. He was a veteran of the Greek War of Independence, a fervent abolitionist, and the founder of both the Perkins School for the Blind and the Massachusetts School for Idiotic and Feeble-Minded Children. Gregor Thuswaldner (languages and linguistics): Morbus Austriacus: Thomas Bernhard’s Critique of Austria. Written in German, Thuswaldner’s book explores the work of Thomas Bernhard (1931–1989), one of the most important and provocative European writers of the 20th century. Bernhard criticized Austria for its refusal to come to terms with its Nazi past; Thuswaldner analyzes the complexity and contradictory nature of Bernhard’s critique. Dorothy Boorse (biology): Loving the Least of These: Addressing a Changing Environment, a report on climate change and poverty. Under the auspices of the National Association of Evangelicals, and in collaboration with other scientists and leaders, Boorse wrote this 50page print and online ( lovingtheleastofthese) publication that explores the relationship between the changing environment and poverty. 

Spring 2012 | STILLPOINT 9






Thuswaldner and Ferguson Sauder Receive Annual Academic Service Awards

The Making of a Movie, Gordon-Style By Jo Kadlecek

Each year the College salutes two parttime faculty members by granting them the Academic Service Award, in honor of distinguished teaching and service to Gordon College.

Photo Dan Nystedt ’06

Photo Rebekah Frangipane ’11

In February Toddy Burton, assistant professor of communication arts, attended the annual L’Abri conference in Rochester, Minnesota, to screen and discuss her new short film, The Miners. Burton participated with Denis Haack, codirector of Ransom Fellowship, in a discussion entitled, “Creativity in Film: From Genesis to Production.” Then in March, she held the regional premiere of The Miners at CinemaSalem, to a standing-room-only crowd. Burton plotted the screenplay for The Miners last summer. News of the trapped Chilean miners had gripped her attention, and, as is often the case with art, real life began shaping a story in the mind of Gordon’s award-winning filmmaker. The result not only earned Burton a Faculty Development Grant from the College, but brought together a film crew of both alumni and current Gordon students. Burton cast an adjunct instructor as her lead actor, turned a fellow professor’s Beverly Farms home into a set, and in three 12-hour days (July 29–31, 2011), she shot what she calls “a short dramatic comedy.” “It’s about a guy who’s clinically depressed,” she says, “but also obsessed with the miners while his teenage daughter is dealing with her own obsession with a boy. I wondered how the feeling of being trapped would play out in other ways—in other parts of our lives—so, like a lot of my movies, there’s both comedy and drama as the story explores that theme.” For almost 15 years Burton has been making short films that reflect that tension. Her last one, The Aviatrix—“an action-adventure intergalactic comedy romance about a superheroine battling cancer”—played at over 30 international film festivals, aired on PBS and became the #1 featured film when it was premiered on the YouTube Screening Room. Her full-length screenplays have also won her awards, acclaim and a reputation for merging an artist’s eye with comedic stories. What’s next for Burton? She plans to take The Miners to several prestigious film festivals. Stay tuned. 

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Pamela Thuswaldner, adjunct professor of German, has a genuine zest for the study of the language that grows out of a love of culture, and she hopes that spirit radiates in her courses. But her contributions to Gordon extend far beyond the classroom. With her husband, Gregor, she has helped develop the Salzburg Institute, which explores history, music, art and culture in Salzburg, Austria, where nearly twenty Gordon students studied last summer. For several years now, she has also been the College’s director for the Fulbright Scholarship program, and has now guided many Gordon students to successfully earning Fulbrights to teach and study abroad after Gordon.

Photo Rebecca Wolseley ’12

Tim Ferguson Sauder is an adjunct professor of art, with a specialty in graphic design, and the founder of the Return Design Collaborative, which provides

On the Grapevine

students opportunities to do pro-bono graphic design work for real-world clients. He is also an avid skateboarder who is interested in tagging, or graffiti art. As Professor Bruce Herman states, he “has his hand in a lot of edgy ‘worlds’ of art that are not commodified” and is “an idealistic, witty, generous man.” Tanja Butler, associate professor of art, calls his teaching “innovative and adventurous,” noting that he takes his students to Boston design firms. Last October, in fact, he took a team of students to Virginia for a 48-hour creative consultation “blitz” with Free for Life International, a nonprofit that works with victims of sexual trafficking. 

A Word (and World) of Thanks By Arlyne Van Dam Sargent

A Global Shift By Cheryl DeLuca ’00

In her nine years as international student advisor, Arlyne Van Dam Sargent has been an integral resource for students from all around the globe. Her warm and compassionate care has stretched far beyond the crucial work of legal documentation to include encouragement and advocacy—not to mention trips to the grocery store, the train station, and the Salem federal office. Though we are sad to have to say goodbye to Arlyne, the GEO is looking forward to welcoming the international students under our wing. It represents an exciting opportunity to broaden and adjust the very way in which the Gordon community— faculty, staff, and students alike— understands “global education.” Study-abroad offices often think of global education simply in terms of sending American students off-campus. But we should just as actively listen to and learn from our students from abroad who make their home on our campus. I look forward to weaving Arlyne’s work with international students into a single fabric of care. Cheryl DeLuca will assume Arlyne Sargent’s responsibilities as international student advisor 

Arlyne with JaeLim Jeon.

Photo Joy Jeon ’12

Back in November of 2004, the Gordon College faculty and staff gathered for a Thanksgiving dinner in Easton Dining Room. The theme was global—“A World of Thanks”—and featured music and reflections by our international students. Above all, they wanted to give thanks. Now it’s my turn. The International Student Office has offered me one of the best water views on campus. I’ve often mailed a bookmark of Gordon’s autumnal beauty to our new international students, a welcome to Coy Pond—and to Gordon. They came to discover our shores, from a first event at Singing Beach where they played that international sport, futbol. In turn, they transported us to distant lands as international chapel speakers, taking us to Chad, Latvia, Kenya, Korea and beyond. And, along the way, we shared their joys and heard their tragedies: the tsunami in Sri Lanka, the earthquake in Haiti. It’s been my privilege to work with these students for the past nine years. Even during routine tasks—when copying a student’s Nepali passport page, for example—something exciting came through. I was for a moment transported to the Kingdom of Nepal, even as I realized it was Nepal that had come to us. Gordon College opened up its classrooms, its library, its residence halls, and its playing fields to more than 200 international students during these years, but I can’t possibly measure the richness they brought into our hearts and minds. Now my office is scattered with mementos of these students, from their homelands. These new bookmarks compel me to gratitude for these wonderful years together and anticipation of the days when I may explore their shores. The daughter of a Dutch immigrant, Arlyne Van Dam Sargent is a native Californian who has also lived in Japan and the Netherlands. In late May she and her husband, Mark—also a native Californian—will begin the next chapter of their lives at Westmont College, her alma mater. They have three children: Bradford (a graduate of Houghton College and American University), Daniel (B.A., Westmont 2011, now at Columbia University), and Andrea (a firstyear student at Westmont). 

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Exploring Ipswich Bay By Cyndi McMahon

of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill on coral communities in the Gulf of Mexico. Dr. Cho earned his B.A. in biology at Harvard University in 2000 and his Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program in 2008. 

A Music “Teacher’s Teacher” By Jo Kadlecek

Dr. Craig Story and Dr. Walter Cho exploring Ipswich Bay in the Biology Department’s boat, the Ixhthus.

Though he usually spends his time on large ocean research vessels, Gordon’s newest biology faculty member, Walter Cho, is a deep-sea biologist with big plans for his students.

Twelve years ago, Sandy Doneski started the Gordon College Children’s Choir, which has not only given children on Boston’s North Shore an opportunity to grow as musicians, but also provided music education majors the chance to develop as teachers and conductors. The children’s choir is one of dozens of contributions Doneski has made to foster musical development and to advance music education throughout Massachusetts.

Soon after he arrived at Gordon, Cho took his Marine Science class out into the waters of Ipswich Bay to collect samples of the water column and sediment to study the physical and biological characteristics of this environment. Their transportation? The Ixthus—the Biology Department’s 21-foot power boat, equipped with a Van Dorn-type water sampler to study the water column; a petite ponar benthic grab to study seafloor sediments and animals; a plankton net to study animals that live at the sea surface; several water-quality meters to study water chemistry; and an underwater video camera to study the benthic habitat and animals. Cho let the class design the cruise plan, and his students decided on different sites around Ipswich Bay. “They were interested in comparing sites near shore, off shore, and near an estuary to see if there were differences in the habitat and animals that live there,” said Cho. In addition to taking samples of the sediment, water and plankton, and documenting the characteristics of the habitat and animals, the students also took photos and video footage of the ocean floor for further analysis. “We were all excited by the video footage we collected of the seafloor,” said Cho. “We found sand dollars, several skates—that even bumped the camera a bit—a flounder and some small crustaceans. We were even able to use the video camera to document our benthic sediment sampler in situ, watching as it took a sample from the seafloor.” Cho recently returned from St. Petersburg, Florida, where he was a participant in the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Principal Investigator One Year Update Workshop, sponsored by the National Science and Technology Council’s Sub-Committee on Ocean Science and Technology. Along with his colleague Timothy Shank from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), he presented his research on the potential impacts

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In March, Doneski—who is an associate professor of music and the director of graduate programs in music education at Gordon—was honored as the 2012 recipient of the Distinguished Service Award by the Massachusetts Music Educators Association (MMEA). “Dr. Doneski is recognized by her peers as a model of leadership characterized by integrity, vision and the ability to inspire others,” said Faith M. Lueth, MMEA president. “She has a reputation for conducting herself in a professional manner at all times, and for being a ‘teacher’s teacher.’” 

On the Grapevine


“We were born to sing, hard-wired to do it. Before we talked, we sang. Babies sing and they sing a lot. They soothe themselves with singing. They sing themselves to sleep. They sing when they play. They do it because if feels good. And now scientists know why.” —Susan Brooks, Music Department 

Tackling the Big Questions

and Is God the Only Reality? In 1998 he wrote Sir John’s biography. Dr. Herrmann is a founding member of the John Templeton Foundation, and forged a strong partnership with Templeton that enabled numerous groundbreaking events, networks, programs and publications that invited strategic thinkers to explore the relationship between science and faith. “It is our hope that the Herrmann Lectures on Faith and Science will create an opportunity to galvanize individuals,” said Dan Russ, dean of academics at Gordon College. The first guest lecturer (November 2012), Walter R. Thorson, is a professor of theoretical chemistry at the University of Alberta and an adjunct professor of the

A CEO’s Last Stand By John Dixon Mirisola ’11

Beginning in November 2012, Gordon College will partner with the John Templeton Foundation to present, annually, the Herrmann Lectures on Science and Faith. The series, which enables world-class scientists to explore and present new research, honors the pioneering work of Dr. Robert Herrmann, a chemistry scholar who taught at Gordon College for 14 years and addressed the “Big Questions” surrounding science and religion throughout his career. Dr. Herrmann taught medical school biochemistry for 22 years; first at Boston University and later at Oral Roberts University. In 1981 he became executive director of the American Scientific Affiliation, a 2,200-member society of Christians interested in integrating Christian faith and science. There he met member Sir John Templeton, with whom he collaborated in writing several books, including The God Who Would Be Known

Photo Dan Nystedt ’06

On March 9, local senior business leaders joined Gordon College President Michael Lindsay in downtown Boston for the second event in the Conversations with the President series, featuring Gerard Arpey, former CEO of American Airlines. Arpey had recently resigned as CEO of American, citing a moral opposition to the company’s decision to declare bankruptcy. “I had a strong view throughout my tenure as CEO,” Arpey said, “that a company, just like an individual, should do its absolute best to honor its

philosophy of science at Regent College in Vancouver. Thorson was a research fellow at the National Science Foundation at Harvard University. The following year’s lecturer, Owen Gingerich, is professor emeritus of astronomy and of the history of science at Harvard University and a senior astronomer emeritus at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. In 2014 Alister McGrath, the academic leader of the Centre for Theology, Religion and Culture, will be featured. Jennifer Wiseman, Senior Project Scientist for the Hubble Space Telescope at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, will be the lecturer in 2015. 

commitments, and I was quite vocal about that as many of our competitors were restructuring in bankruptcy.” Beyond this discussion, the conversation spanned a wide array of topics, from Arpey’s personal history in the airline business (beginning as a college student loading airplanes) to his rubric for evaluating staff, which Arpey’s colleagues dubbed “WIDE,” for the “wisdom, insight, drive and empathy” he looked for in each of his staff members. As the conversation drew to a close, President Lindsay asked Mr. Arpey how his faith has influenced his leadership. Arpey responded that faith should infuse every aspect of a person’s life and decision-making. The WIDE criteria, for example, are secular ways of talking about Christian virtues. “Anybody can make a prudent decision, or a temperate decision, or be just in a particular circumstance,” said Arpey, “but what you really want to do is become that kind of a person.” 

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A Place for Invention For most of us, the word “invention” triggers thoughts of clever devices— lightbulbs, for example. (And isn’t it interesting that a lightbulb above the head is visual shorthand for a flash of inspiration?) Yet there’s a deeper meaning embedded in the word’s history: the Latin inventio actually means “to find” or “to come upon,” suggesting that discovery can happen slowly and methodically as well as warp-speed fast. This issue’s cover story celebrates not just creativity, but Gordon College as a specific place where creativity and innovation thrive. Provost Mark Sargent writes, in the keynote essay, of Gordon’s distinctives as “themes we can trace in the living ground of the College—and in our memories.” Citing examples of Gordon-grown inventiveness as varied as the Center for Balance, Mobility and Wellness; the Jerusalem and Athens Forum; and the annual student-run

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A Place for Invention

Symposium, Sargent notes that “sustaining freedom to create and explore during the college years can bring childhood and adult life together, not simply for diversion and fun, but for moral agency and just relations.” In companion essays, Academic Dean Dan Russ wrestles with the risks and blessings of academic freedom at Gordon, and David Hicks ’13 —triple majoring in philosophy, English and history—tells a tale of how studying at Gordon led to a re-invention of his youthful ideals. Does this issue spark your own Gordon memories? We would love to hear from you. “We are,” as Sargent writes, “the sum total of our dreams, quarrels, false starts, persistent journeys, and the experiences and memories that still shape the way we think about teaching, learning and faith.”

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The Last of the Rowanberrys—or, The “Living Ground” of Gordon College By Mark Sargent

Not long ago the members of the Cabinet were in the President’s Office preparing for a conference call with the Board of Trustees. We were scurrying around to ensure that we had all the right papers ready, when we suddenly ventured onto one of the thornier philosophical topics we had faced in some time. Was it possible to taste the difference between Coke Zero, Diet Coke, and Diet Pepsi? While we were at it, why not add Pepsi One and some generic store brand to the mix?

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So the next week I asked Jerry Logan, our academic programs coordinator, if he would conduct a taste test among the visitors to our office. We found what many studies have confirmed: That virtually everyone would boldly declare what drink they would buy if they saw these choices in the store. And yet only 13 percent were successful in picking that flavor simply by taste. You would have better odds if you rolled dice. What this implies, of course, is a triumph of marketing. The actual distinctions between colas are relatively slight: this one has a few more milligrams of corn syrup or artificial sweetener than that one. But almost all of us who have spent any time

roads, and, most of all, dividing the town from the home of two elderly brothers, Arthur and Martin Rowanberry. They lived on the land that the family had stewarded for over two hundred years, when previous generations first set up lives in log cabins. Worried that the two brothers—the so-called Last of the Rowanberrys—were in danger, the narrator and his friend venture out into the moonlight to check up on them in their home on the outskirts of town. The people of the town saw in the Rowanberrys “an oldfashioned independence, an old-fashioned fidelity, and an oldfashioned generosity.” Arthur, it is said, “knew what he knew

This is certainly one of the few colleges where you can look out the window of your third-floor office and watch people swinging on high wires in something called the flying squirrel.

watching television have absorbed images and theme songs associated with each beverage. We may not fully realize how effectively Coca Cola has targeted Coke Zero at men and Diet Coke at women, feeding the absurd notion that a few milligrams of saccharin or aspartame defines the boundary line between genders. For the last ten years, when I have been engaged in discussions about the distinctions of Gordon, it has usually been part of a quest for that Holy Grail of sales—a market differential. Too many advisors have told us to define reality by our marketing jargon. What saved me was reading Wendell Berry. Like many of you, I have long had great affection for Berry’s essays, stories and poems, often lingering over his succinct elegance and his love of the Kentucky farms, streams and hills where he lives and writes. One of Berry’s short stories, in fact— “Are You All Right?” —has been part of the reading list for our Great Conversation course. The story takes place in a Kentucky village after the great rains have caused the river to overflow its banks, disturbing some split-rail fences, flooding paths and

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and what had been known by a lot of the dead kinfolks and neighbors. They lived on in his mind, reminding him of what needed to be remembered. Something that happened would remind him of something that he remembered, which would remind him of something his grandfather had remembered. He lived in the place, but the place was where the memories were, and he walked among them, tracing them out over the living ground.” The distinctives of Gordon College are not simply market differentials or inflated aspirations but themes we can trace in the living ground—and in our memories. What sets Gordon apart? When asked, I first thought of the lily pads that turn brown on the edges of Coy Pond and nearly blanket the waters in late spring. Or the canopy of white blossoms on the magnolia tree that spreads its limbs over the site where Prince Chapel once stood. This is certainly one of the few colleges where you can look out the window of your third-floor office and watch people swinging on high wires in something called the flying squirrel. This is a college where the liberal arts are deeply

A Place for Invention

valued—and compared affectionately by French professor Damon DiMauro to Gallic cheeses made with unpasteurized milk, and full of bacteria. It is impossible for me to think of Gordon’s distinctives without considering how Marv Wilson’s lifelong commitment to respectful dialogue with Jewish rabbis and leaders has not only encouraged us to understand Protestant tradition in light of the Hebrew Bible, but has also tempered the usual evangelical triumphalism. It is impossible for me not to recall that the faculty have spent more than a decade remolding the Core curriculum——but for good reason: to ensure that general education does not settle simply into a smorgasbord of distribution requirements. When I look at the new murals in the Ken Olsen Science Center (painted as a class gift by recent graduates Anna Taylor and Garrett Ames-Ledbetter), I can see intimations of their conversations with me about their philosophy classes even as I perceive motifs shaped by their time as students in Orvieto. We are, in short, the sum total of our dreams, quarrels, false starts, persistent journeys, and the experiences and memories that still shape the way we think about teaching, learning and faith. I would like to offer here five themes about Gordon’s distinctives; but in doing so I will try to link aspiration to our sense of history and place. The conscience of the future is indebted to an understanding of the past, and place. 1. We reside between the urban and the wild.

We have roots in Boston, and we live on the edge of the forest. We love the beautiful wooded campus and still carry some guilt about withdrawal from urban Boston back in the 1950s, when we left to make our “errand into the wilderness”— or, what in fact is a North Shore full of horses, tennis clubs and wealthy Caucasians. We have lost—and been scolded for losing—some of our ties to the multicultural communities of Boston. Recently, several of those connections have been improved, with our Lynn partnerships, Clarendon Scholars program, and our rekindled partnership with the Emmanuel Gospel Center. But I don’t think we should ever forget that one of the distinctives of Gordon is that we have the ability to give our students an experience in the wilderness and in an urban context. However, this needs to be more than simply an occasional drive into the city and a walk in the woods. It requires of us more than simply using the wilderness and city

as catalysts for personal development— “character formation,” “leadership development,” or whatever we might call it. In a richer sense we need to use our urban and rural landscapes

We love the beautiful wooded campus and still carry some guilt about withdrawal from urban Boston back in the 1950s.

more dynamically and fully to explore the responsibilities of global citizenship. In many respects, to talk about globalization is to talk about urbanization and its challenges: education, employment, racial and class differences, healthcare, and sustainability. A Gordon student needs a walk around Coy Pond now and then for fresh air and personal renewal, but he or she also needs to leave here with a fuller understanding of the interplay between land and species preservation and urban crowding, food supplies, sustainability and justice. 2. We have a tradition of both creativity and criticism—and some childlikeness.

For nearly fifteen years now we have held an annual Gordon College Symposium, with most events created and led by students. I remember the Symposium when we shifted from a college-sponsored series of events to a student-generated one. It was our third symposium, advised by art professor Jim Zingarelli, and devoted to the theme “Art: Consumers and Makers of Culture.” Some of the culture making caught us by surprise, including one student who put up a line of laundry in front of Jenks. The Board of Trustees actually happened to be on campus that day and I had to explain to some skeptical trustees why a display of t-shirts, jeans and underwear on clothespins in front of the

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library was evidence of intellectual maturity and Christian character. I had to admit to them, frankly, that this was sportive and fun, and that we were all really kids at heart. The late John Holt stressed in many of his books that learners need time to “mess around.” Fortunately, Gordon has always allowed a little more space for creative risk tasking, such as Michael Monroe’s recent encouragement to us to come out and try to be piano heroes—or Bruce Herman’s persistent attempts to scratch and scrape his paintings to discover new textures and nuances. To be honest, we live in a world where the kids are often the only ones who are encouraged to be creative or imaginative. One of the reasons that there has been such strong reaction to the death of Steve Jobs is the notion that he, somehow, embodied for many people a playful sense of discovery that managed to infiltrate corporate America. Each new Apple gadget, it seemed, refueled our own childlike wonder. So, in my view, one thing that does distinguish Gordon is the desire to sustain this link between being “consumers and makers of culture.” We see this in our Communication Arts Department, where media studies focuses both on film

A creative, innovative culture is not one that just champions the arts, but leads to other forms of problem solving and innovations as well.

when David Lee has his physics class create nerdy, motorized Christmas ornaments. There is a moral dimension to this. On several previous occasions, I have said that one of our most vital challenges is to awaken the moral imagination of our students. At some point in my own schooling, my art classes became art appreciation, and I learned to love Rembrandt and toss away the watercolors and sketch pads that my parents gave me when young. I became a critic, or interpreter, or consumer of the arts. Today there are many Christian schools, churches and colleges that encourage “a classical education” and a knowledge of great ideas, but at the same time there can be the implied assumption that the mastery of the classics, or the development of a high-class, cultivated aesthetic, translates into “character” or wisdom appropriate to the elite. But the tragedies of the last century should have warned against that: lots of fascists loved the opera. A creative, innovative culture is not one that just champions the arts, but leads to other forms of problem solving and innovations as well. For example, one of the most imaginative institutional initiatives at Gordon in recent years is the Center for Balance, Mobility and Wellness, which provides both a practical and necessary service to the community and an opportunity for research for our kinesiology faculty and students. We have seen great creativity in other areas as well, coming from students who are given the opportunity to pursue their curiosity: initiatives in green chemistry, artwork and mission trips. As theologian Richard Hays observes, the call of our faith is to live in “imaginative obedience” to the “moral vision” of the Gospel. How do we emerge out of structural dead ends and calcified thinking into creative problem solving? Sustaining freedom to create and explore during the college years can bring childhood and adult life together, not simply for diversion and fun, but for moral agency and just relations. In that spirit, the new Initiative for the Study and Practice of Peace, first envisioned by sociologist Daniel Johnson, links creativity with hope. 3. We value faith-and-learning integration by

criticism and video production. We see it also in our Gordon IN Orvieto program, which John Skillen has longed described as a “studio for art, faith and history.” We see that in the theatre, where students write and produce their own plays. Some of that youthful creativity is also apparent in the sciences, such as

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osmosis—or hospitality.

At evangelical institutions, the project of integrating faith and learning is now at least two generations old. It emerged at a time when many evangelical institutions were trying to create some distance from their fundamentalist roots, the kind

A Place for Invention

of anti-intellectualism that Mark Noll noted in The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind. It also emerged at a time when there was growing fear about the secularism of the academy and the exclusion of religion from scholarly discourse and exploration. Nationwide, the project of integrating faith and learning can point to some remarkable gains, especially in promoting the life of the mind and a broader Christian discourse that transcends some of the denominational subcultures and divisions.

Christian vocation, in other words, is a synthesis of new possibilities, providing intellectual generosity and hospitality. In considering this notion of hospitality, I think specifically of the spirit of the Jerusalem and Athens Forum here, designed not as a retreat for elite students in the company of a single scholar, but as multidisciplinary conversation, with faculty invited to teach certain books and forums and debates for the community at large.

Sustaining freedom to create and explore during the college years can bring childhood and adult life together, not simply for creative diversion and fun, but for moral agency and just relations.

Yet much of the project of faith and learning at American Christian colleges still carries a fearful, Christ-against-culture spirit. On so many occasions, I have heard discussions about redeeming the disciplines, dismantling the secular assumptions and methodologies that underline epistemologies and worldviews of the academy. We at Gordon do have a Reformed sensibility about redeeming Creation after the fall (including the disciplines), but we hold it a little more lightly. We are less likely to rush faith-learning treatises into print than to linger in conversation with colleagues from different fields. At its best, we have a faith-learning integration that is hospitable to, not fearful of, multiple lenses provided by multiple disciplines. On this score, I think of Gordon’s stance on the sciences. Gordon’s biology faculty, from the days of Dick Wright and his book Biology Through the Eyes of Faith, have been at ease with Darwinian theory and evolutionary science, clearly distinguishing the empirical study of biological evidence from the ideological use of evolutionary theory to downgrade religious belief. Where many Christian colleges have turned the issues into an ideological war, we have respected the insights of the disciplines, including the strengths and insights of evolutionary theory.

4. We have a large quad—and an oversized chapel.

Many New England schools have attractive, tightly manicured quads in the middle of the campus, but I don’t know of any others that have a polo field—or a soccer field—overrun at times by geese or protected by a rubber coyote. But let me speak metaphorically: we have a larger “center” than many of our peer Christian institutions and with it, the capacity to practice a vibrant ecumenism. Part of this is demographic. In many other regions of the country, there are several Christian colleges that endeavor to distinguish themselves from one another like cola brands, playing on small distinctions to assert that they are more conservative or orthodox or spiritual or relevant than the others. For me, happily, since Gordon is the only nondenominational Christian college in an area where there is already a low density of evangelicals, some of the intramural squabbles that set Christian colleges or churches against one another seem more foolish here, distractions to our core mission rather than defining identities.

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Yes, we do have an oversized New England chapel—or, as one colleague puts it, a “Puritan meeting house on steroids.” But this big building is also home to the largest worship gathering of New England evangelicals. It is then, as it were, a megachurch: designed more as a performance space than for intimate conversation. That tension underscores another distinction that I see about Gordon. Compared to the evangelical culture of the United States, Gordon tends to prefer a conversational evangelicalism rather than a celebrity evangelicalism. This is a place that has valued dialogue as much as declaration, or what several colleagues refer to as “sacred conversation”—or “respectful conversation,” as Harold Heie called it, when he was initiating the Center for Christian Studies. During the heat of the culture wars, the institution was more likely to welcome reflective discourse than to pontificate. True, we have our ideological and political divides, but I do feel that we have

The New England community needs to know that evangelicals have great ideas—and a generous spirit.

achieved greater levels of candor and mutual respect than most Christian colleges. What’s ahead? Preserving the conversational culture of the institution, with its concomitant commitment to hospitality, while allowing Gordon to be more of the old New England lyceum. The same irenic spirit that defines internal conversations needs to be heard in the public square. The New England community needs to know that evangelicals have great ideas—and a generous spirit.

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5. Global Education is approached as an investment.

Since the adoption of the European Seminar over 50 years ago, Gordon has thought of itself as a leader among Christian colleges in international education. Part of that leadership has been in the investment that we make in financial aid support for international study, which exceeds the vast majority of institutions. That investment is not simply in the experience of students, but in the ethos of the campus, as any time a large percentage of students return from study overseas they import new ideas and perspectives and questions into the Gordon community to which they return. Over 50 percent of our students have some kind of international experience before graduation. We have also allowed faculty and administrators over the years to invest considerable time on international boards and advisory groups. It is not simply the fact that we encourage global study, but some of the characteristics of the way it is approached here—themes suggested by the phrase Gordon IN . . . (i.e., Gordon IN Orvieto, Gordon IN Romania, etc.). That phrase was chosen several years ago by the Global Education staff to express the desire that our off-campus programs were not simply our investments in students’ lives but also those students’ investment in the local setting of the program. Our intention was that the students would not be outside observers with only academic curiosity about the host setting, but rather “citizen-sojourners” who patiently earn the trust and respect of the local populace and its leaders, and therefore could contribute to the cultural, social, economic and spiritual life of the community. This vision, to be honest, comes not from any prescriptive agenda that we developed several years ago, but from the experience of sharing space and communities with local citizens, whether it was the home stays in Aix-en-Provence or apartments in Oxford. Our students have joined choirs and worship bands in France and Italy, taught dance to Romanian children, painted murals for cloisters, prepared scripts and sets for local theatrical productions, picked fruits and vegetables with local farmers, and helped renovate old facilities. When possible, they have taken tutorials with local scholars, or attended classes with local universities, sometimes forcing them to confront the differences in pedagogy between the United States and other nations. In its very first year, the new Salzburg

A Place for Invention

Institute hosted a successful symposium with Austrian, German and American scholars. Shortly after World War II, Senator William Fulbright led the drive to invest some of the American war dividend into an international exchange of scholars, with the goals of reducing the likelihood of future international violence by promoting cross-cultural understanding. The Fulbright program has itself evolved away from being primarily a scholarly exchange (where scholars reside for short terms in other countries) into a scholarly partnership (where the grants support scholarly collaborations and focused exchange of ideas between faculty and administrators). In many ways, I think we are in the midst of that shift in global education throughout the nation, as we are thinking less of a “semester abroad” and more in terms of international partnerships. Gordon’s instinct and experience

Final Thoughts

I began with a reference to Wendell Berry, so let me close with one. Last year I wrote a Thanksgiving column about the ways that Coy Pond serves as an emblem of our exploration and a source of renewal. A walk around the pond (especially in great weather) does the soul some good. I thought of our pond when I recently reread this poem from Wendell Berry: THE PEACE OF WILD THINGS When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things

We are thinking less of a “semester abroad” and more in terms of international partnerships.

toward investing in the local setting situates us well to move toward that future, but it is going to take some proactive and imaginative endeavors to lay the groundwork for our students to blend research projects or social entrepreneurship endeavors with faculty and students in other countries. Senator Fulbright’s vision may have played its own small part in reducing the likelihood of massive conflict again in Europe, but our eyes now need to look toward India, China, the Middle East and Africa. As we do, we need to consider global education not merely as an investment in students’ lives, but in the development of the global church and the world’s communities, in all of their diversity and shared interests.

who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free. We stand in the theological tradition of New England’s Puritans, but the Puritans usually saw the wilderness as a source of fear. I cherish the fact that Gordon has been a community that can see the grace of the world as a gift from God, not a threat, and can accept the freedom and renewal that we find here as a catalyst for responsibility rather than license. In other words, we are a community that can find peace in the wilds, even as we find freedom in the framework of faith.

Mark Sargent is concluding his sixteenth and final year as Gordon’s provost, and has become the new provost at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California.

Photo M. Bradley Elliott

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A Place for Invention

Fear Not: Security, Risk and Academic Freedom By Dan Russ

Recently, my colleagues and I were hosting one of our annual dessert parties for new students. After a bowl of ice cream and some cookies and coffee, we enjoyed a few minutes of discussion. To my surprise, one student asked: “Now that I have chosen Gordon, why is this the right choice?” While one of my colleagues from the Philosophy Department waxed eloquent in response, I half listened while wondering how I should answer such a question. When my colleague finished, I simply added, “You made the right choice to come to Gordon, because we can tell the whole truth.” I went on to explain that most secular institutions of higher learning deny, ignore, or are indifferent to any truth claims grounded in religious faith, biblical texts, and church tradition, and some insist that holding to religious truths precludes the exercise of academic freedom. I went on to qualify my claim for Christian higher education by confessing that while Christian professors in a Christian college can tell the whole truth, we often do not for fear, individually or institutionally, that we will offend or anger some constituents: the administration, the board, our students, their parents, or some of our colleagues. We would like to think that faculty signing a faith statement, along with a robust chapel program and a solid biblical/ theological core for all students, would distinguish us as a Christian institution of higher learning. However, without an authentic commitment to academic freedom within a framework of Christian faith, Christian colleges and universities easily become either sanctified versions of secular institutions or oppressive and contentious organizations that drive honest questions and discussion underground and produce a scheming and polarized faculty and administration. Speaking the truth in love is the only way I know to live in the tension that we call freedom. If we believe that truth set us free and that perfect love casts out fear, then we need to have the courage to encourage one another, individually and institutionally, to risk living, studying, teaching, and writing as truthfully and lovingly as we know how. It is risky. That is the nature of freedom, whether political or academic. If our ultimate goal is to secure our jobs or to secure our institution financially, academic freedom is not possible.

individual faculty members are to interpret faith statements and institutional mission. The guiding principle here is freedom based on love: of Christ, of Scripture, of our institutional traditions, and, of course, of one another. But such freedom is not boundless. Even the AAUP recognizes that academic freedom is about teaching the truth as we see it in our disciplines. This does not include all of our personal opinions and hobby horses being foisted upon our students and colleagues, especially if these opinions are expressed in disrespectful and intimidating ways. Therefore, Christian institutions that require their faculty to sign faith statements and to subscribe to codes of behavior that serve the missions of their institutions must make clear those core values from the beginning and keep the dialogue open with faculty as they move through their respective careers. This should include a mutual responsibility between faculty and administration to encourage each other to uphold those values but to understand that words are said and that decisions are made that could cause us to doubt one another. When this happens, the offended party should seek understanding and reconciliation in the spirit of grace, acknowledging that we do not always know what we think we know and that each of us struggles and falters in our respective journeys. We also need to have the personal integrity to walk away with grace from an institution with which we have come to disagree. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free,” declared St. Paul (Gal. 5:1). But freedom (including academic freedom) is not freedom without risk, whether for faculty members who must be willing to risk their secure positions, for administrators who must be willing to risk their institution’s reputation and their own positions, or students who must be willing to risk searching for the truth that sets us free. If we will not risk, we are not free.

Dan Russ serves as the academic dean of Gordon College. This is an excerpt from “Fear Not: Security, Risk, and Academic Freedom,” in The Christian College Phenomenon: Inside America’s Fastest Growing Institutions of Higher Learning,

Christian colleges and universities must be transparent with their faculty and other constituents about how free

edited by Samuel Joeckel and Thomas Chesnes (Abilene Christian University Press, 2011). Spring 2012 | STILLPOINT 25






A Place for Invention

What Happened to Changing the World? By David Hicks ’13

My loftiest dreams seemed to die when I went to college. Perhaps it was inevitable. Hard realities and cold calculations, the very foundation of scholarly pursuits, sometimes have an eerie effect on the imagination. But only a few years before, it was this imagination that Charles liked about me. I wanted to change the world. I was passionate, visionary, angsty—and I knew it. Charles had been homeless for 28 years, and he thrived on the Saturday mornings when a group of students would bring sandwiches and social contact. He told us our spirit was contagious. It gave him a certain hope that he didn’t find with older, more mature, people. I met Charles in the summer of my junior year of high school, during one of my first trips into Philadelphia. I wanted to understand homelessness. He was sitting on a bench in Love Park with an approachable aura. He was 64 and black, with a huge smile that lit his tired face and forced you to smile too. Charles’ story fueled my fantastical pursuit of world justice: 28 years ago he had lost his factory job in the city due to health issues, initiating a downhill spiral of events that included separation from his six children and the death of his wife. His life embodied my stereotype of the homeless. Because of this, my interactions with Charles were significant for reasons that went beyond him. This homeless man, with his big grin and tragic story, was an image of unjust suffering, backed into a corner by circumstances beyond his control. I imagined that he and I, working together, would recover the shards of his broken life, and reassemble them. In so doing, we would conquer the injustices of society in the name of the homeless everywhere. If I could repossess my youthful imagination from those high school days, I would do it in a second. But when I began college and visited Boston’s homeless, my visits no longer summoned the hopeful energy of my time in high school. The analytical rigor of my classroom life now prohibited me from showing men like Charles genuine warmth. My studies of the world were somehow keeping me from being a true part of it. Overcoming this intellectual handicap on my imagination has taken a lot of work. Only recently have I begun to recover the freedom to dream again. Attaining that freedom—escaping

from my calculative approach to learning—has taken conscious efforts: Now, I set aside time each day to write creatively, improvise on the piano or read some good fiction. Somehow, it helps. Taking a break from the occasional heaviness of critical thinking has been a good thing. It lets me dream beyond the possible. It’s not about what the dream is—I find my vision of justice-for-all-of-the-homeless to be pretty unrealistic—but it’s the dreaming that is important. Dreaming invigorates our intellectual pursuits. While the pragmatism of our elders has largely benefited society as we know it, it seems to operate without the youthful creativity that once inspired it. My generation blames these leaders for today’s problems. We look at poverty, violence, suffering, and see little more than failed systems propagated by conventional leadership. We are wary skeptics and impassioned critics. We are enemies of the same Enemy, working together to imagine alternatives to the way things are. And while we may be impractical, we are good at dreaming. We see the value in opening our minds to what can look like pipe dreams to others. Sometimes we appear naïve, because we are naïve. But neither school, nor the larger institutional contexts of our lives as we grow up, should be designed to convince us that such naïveté is wholly a bad thing. Charles moved to North Carolina to live with his daughter in 2009. He found her after my dad, a businessman, helped me locate and contact his daughter, raise money for his travel expenses, and prepare some information he would need on his arrival. I couldn’t have done it without my father, who understood how the world works—and he wouldn’t have done it without me, who fretted about a world that doesn’t work. A marriage of the imaginative creativity of my generation and the practicality of my elders would be a very, very good thing.

David Hicks, from Wayne, Pennsylvania, is triplemajoring in philosophy, English and history. He is fascinated by a wide variety of mammals, and interested in practicing law. This essay was originally published in the “On Leadership” series in the online version of the Washington Post.

Spring 2012 | STILLPOINT 27






indwelling: urban (+ rural) landscapes

Seven years ago Provost Mark Sargent wrote a manifesto of sorts, “Transformation and Shalom,” for the Gordon in Lynn program, casting a vision that continues to inform and inspire the College’s involvement with the City of Lynn, and increasingly with our surrounding neighbors.








In his essay “The Last of the Rowanberrys” (see page 16), Provost Mark Sargent notes that one of Gordon’s strengths is that “we are able to give our students an experience in the wilderness and in an urban context.” But he calls us to take this further than brief visits for individual learning. Rather, we need to use these differing contexts to more deeply “explore the responsibilities of global citizenship.” This exhortation echoes themes in an earlier essay of Sargent’s, “Transformation and Shalom,” written seven years ago, back when the Gordon in Lynn program was in its infancy (and known as the “Lynn Initiative”). In this seminal essay, Sargent laid out a vision that would help us seek the transformation of our urban neighbor Lynn, all the while transforming our

28 STILLPOINT | Spring 2012


own teaching, relationships and culture on campus. Since its founding in 2003 the Gordon in Lynn program has grown significantly. It now resides within Gordon’s new Office of Community Engagement (OCE), an umbrella for local engagement in Lynn and across the North Shore. While most of our partnerships are in urban areas, several are with rural farms. All, however, seek to engage in “the prophetic role of Christian communities…to mend the world, to foster human flourishing, and to serve the common good” (Miroslav Volf, A Public Faith). Because we believe in a relational triune God, mutual friendships are the bedrock of what we do through OCE. Within the

context of relationships, we help students respect and learn to love people across racial, economic, religious and ethnic barriers. Friendships obviously can’t develop deeply during one-time service experiences, or as Sargent puts it, in “an occasional drive to the city.” Rather, we try our best to involve students regularly in the lives of others. Through The Great Conversation service sections, Serve and Learn Teams (SALTeams) share lunch each week with elementary youth at the Ford School, write songs together at the YMCA’s new sound studio, or teach English to recent immigrants at Catholic Charities. Through College Bound, Gordon students tutor and mentor the youth of Curwin Circle four afternoons a week in hopes they’ll be encouraged along the path to college. And

Story Christen Yates Illustration Abby Ytzen ’10

through Outreach Teams, students farm land in Beverly and Essex, play bridge with seniors in Lynn and paint pictures with youth at ArtHaven in Gloucester. In order to “use our urban and rural landscapes more dynamically and fully to explore the responsibilities of global citizenship” we also help our students reflect upon their service in light of larger structural injustices. As students design and implement surveys for urban green space through their social statistics class, they learn more of the complexities involved in urban-planning decisions. As they create a mural in partnership with an elementary school, they learn that art for the common good is a beautiful and vital way to promote full human flourishing. Ultimately, when students leave Gordon, we hope they’ve begun to integrate their faith into all of their decisions and become more fully engaged in a lifelong vocation of shalom-building, or wholelife stewardship. “Followers of Christ are engaged in the world with their whole being,” Volf says. “The whole person in all aspects of her life is engaged in fostering human flourishing and serving the common good.” Toward this end, Sargent calls us to “more frequent writing and discussion about creative solutions to a variety of challenges across disciplines, more community partnerships guided by the idea that service and innovation often go hand in hand.” An example of this kind of crosspollination happens in En Camino (“on the path” in Spanish), a college access partnership with Harrington Elementary School. Now in its fourth year, En Camino invites Harrington’s fourth and fifth graders to Gordon each year for a morning of exposure to college and leadership development with help from faculty of diverse disciplines like biology, music, English and physics.

Social entrepreneurship is another example of merging service and innovation, exemplified by Wicked Tasty, an artisan baking venture at a Lynn nonprofit. It was developed in part by Caleb Isabella ’08, with some marketing assistance from Gordon’s Return Design. “Gordon equipped me with how to learn, how to not be an expert but still adapt,” reflects Isabella. “Gordon was my swimming lessons. I would have sunk otherwise.”

About the Office of Community Engagement

Sargent’s call to engage more deeply is by no means limited to OCE’s efforts. Service-learning trips, practicums, independent studies and semester-abroad programs are all motivated by Sargent’s desire to see students and communities flourish for the common good.

developing faithful student leaders

The Office of Community Engagement creates, coordinates, and supports programs of service-learning and community outreach. Students, faculty, and staff work within mutually beneficial community-based partnerships, the majority of which are based in Lynn, but also across the North Shore and greater Boston area. OCE seeks to foster healthy neighboring communities while through guided civic engagement. bb Approximately 150 students serve 2500 hours in Lynn each semester through The Great Conversation service classes. bb Approximately 75 students engage in 1000 hours each semester on student-led Outreach Teams. bb More than 50 students do over 250 hours each semester of academically based service learning through their classes.

Christen Borgman Yates, associate director of Gordon’s Office of Community Engagement, is a native of the North Shore. Christy and her husband, Chris, both attended seminary at Regent College in Vancouver, B.C. They have four young children. Christy is grateful to be involved with the adventure of partnering Gordon College with the surrounding communities, and is especially passionate about the intersection of faith, the arts and sustainable community development.

bb 36 students tutor and mentor Lynn youth for over 1500 hours each semester through our College Bound program. bb 30 student leaders engage in an intensive leadership-development program through the OCE every year. bb In total, over 4000 students have served approximately 80,000 hours in the neighboring communities since 2005. bb The OCE was recently accepted onto the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

Spring 2012 | STILLPOINT 29






living the history: people, Places and connections

A history major himself, Prof. David Goss has spent the past 12 years building a new emphasis at Gordon on public history. Along the way, he’s gotten the College deeply and creatively involved in the unfolding history of Boston’s North Shore.

After careful preparation, the College launched Museum Studies and Public History in 2008, a new history-oriented concentration and minor, bringing history students into direct contact with greaterBoston area museums and history sites. Here are some of the key players, events and places involved in this exciting new emphasis at Gordon. People

K. David Goss ’74 teaches courses in museum management and public history and supervises the program, as well as supervising museum internships for Gordon history majors at locations including the Peabody-Essex Museum, the Beverly Historical Society, the Wenham Museum and the U.S. National Park Service. 30 STILLPOINT | Spring 2012

Gordon students gain direct experience working at several museums in the area including the Peabody-Essex Museum’s conservation department. Gordon students are thus being trained for possible careers as public history professionals, from museum administrators to curators and archivists, museum educators and interpreters/ guides at historic sites.

Connecting the dots

The Loring Fellowships, funded by Caleb Loring, Jr., Caleb Loring III and Bonny Loring ’87, provide significant financial assistance each year to a student, enabling them to research, write and publish a monograph focusing upon American economic history.

At the same time the City of Salem, Massachusetts announced that it would request proposals from any institutions interested in managing the city-owned Old Town Hall and Pioneer Village facilities. The Institute for Public History submitted an application requesting a contract with the city to manage each

Gordon’s Provost Mark Sargent brought David Goss together with Kristina Wacome-Stevick ’98, artistic director of the “History Alive!” theatre company based at Old Salem Town Hall, asking them to bring together Gordon’s successful historical interpretive and theatrical program with a museum-based public history program.

Story David Goss ’74

historic site and was approved for both. In this way, the Gordon Institute for Public History was created and provided with two historic sites in Salem, Massachusetts to serve as learning labs for history and communication/theater students interested in pursuing careers in historic interpretation, museum education or public history. The Salem Museum

Working with the City of Salem and Great Island Design, the Institute in 2011 created the Salem Museum on the lower level of Old Town Hall, with exhibits telling the story of Salem from its founding in 1626 to the 20th century. Themes include: “Early Colonial Life,” “The Salem Witch Trials,” “Salem and the American Revolution,” “Salem and the China Trade,” “Salem and the India Trade,” “Nathaniel Hawthorne,” “Salem and the Civil War,” and “The Great Salem Fire of 1914.” An important part of the museum’s public offerings will be education programs developed in conjunction with Massachusetts guidelines for local schools and a website designed to allow visitors to further explore the exhibition themes in greater depth. The Patton Project

Now in its fifth year, the Patton Project was developed in close collaboration with Joanne H. Patton, widow of General George S. Patton, Jr., son of the famous World War II general, who himself served in the Vietnam conflict. This experience connects Gordon history student-interns with a vast collection of military, family, business and personal documents held at the Patton Family estate in South Hamilton, located ten minutes from the Gordon campus. This program, underwritten by Mrs. Patton, trains archive interns

to use “Past Perfect”—state-of-the-art archival software—in developing a catalog database for the collection. All of the interns in this program, and over twenty Gordon students have already participated, are supervised on site by Carol Mori, a professional archivist. Old Salem Town Hall

The 1816 Old Town Hall structure is an architectural gem located at Derby Square in the heart of downtown Salem. Since assuming management of the building the Institute for Public History has raised over $300,000 in grants from the State of Massachusetts and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The result has been a new heating system, making the building usable year-round, and general refurbishing, to make the structure attractive as a venue for concerts, exhibitions, weddings and other special events. These provide a growing source of income for the Old Town Hall facility and income for the IPH.

History Alive!

Old Salem Town Hall is the primary venue for Gordon College’s professional theatre company, History Alive!, performances of Prof. Mark Stevick’s play Cry Innocent. From July through October the cast of Cry Innocent presents an interactive drama drawn directly from the pages of 1692 court records, telling the story of Bridget Bishop, the first person to be hanged for witchcraft in Salem. Audiences hear witnesses and testimony concerning Bridget, then actively cross-examine the characters and render a verdict. Cry Innocent is entering its twentieth season at Old Town Hall in Salem, and has become widely recognized as the most authentic public presentation concerning the Salem witchcraft episode. The Institute for Public History is providing a variety of exciting opportunities for internships, student employment and professional training to prepare Gordon College students for careers in public history and museums.

Pioneer Village: Salem in 1630

Located on Salem Harbor within Salem’s Forest River Park, “Pioneer Village: Salem in 1630” is a recreation of the Salem community as it might have appeared at the time of the arrival of Governor John Winthrop in June of 1630. Built originally in 1930 as Salem’s contribution to the Massachusetts Tercentenary, and featuring seven reproduction 17th centurystyle structures, this living history site tells the story of the founding of Salem, the first capital of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Today, the Institute for Public History operates the site from June through October hosting school groups and other visitors. Here, Gordon students work during the summer as paid museum guides dressed in 17th century period clothing, gaining hands-on experience in historic-site interpretation.

A 1974 Gordon College history graduate, David Goss returned to Gordon College in 2000 after a 25year career in museum administration as director of bicentennial programs at Salem Maritime National Historic Site; director of education of the Essex Institute (now the PeabodyEssex Museum); museum director of the House of Seven Gables; and executive director of the Beverly Historical Society and Museum.

Spring 2012 | STILLPOINT 31






essay: the jerusalem and athens forum tackles the seven deadly sins

Each year STILLPOINT sponsors an essay contest for students in the Jerusalem and Athens Forum. This year’s topic? The Seven Deadly Sins. Tala Strauss wrote the winning essay, “Acedia” (below). Kyra Sliwinski and Mark Whitfield received honorable mentions.

The first time I had a conversation about the deadly sin acedia, or sloth, was one early June morning in the woods. As an unemployed student home for the summer, I was trying to appear busy by going for walks with my mother. Stepping from the writhing streets of traffic outside our door into the green forest felt like entering nature’s cathedral. Awake to witness the morning, light streaming through the trees, I was filled with joy. My mother had been reading Kathleen Norris’s The Cloister Walk, and was telling me about the noonday demon, which is the strike of depression in the middle of the day. Norris writes of the monk Evagrius, who described depression as the thought that “depicts life stretching out for a long period of time, and brings

32 STILLPOINT | Spring 2012

before the mind’s eye the toil of ascetic struggle.” Out of the woods and back to school in the fall, I quickly forgot that early morning walk. But acedia came up again one day while I was reading Josef Pieper. According to Pieper, acedia is that state when “man finally does not agree with his own existence; that behind all his energetic activity, he is not at one with himself; that, as the Middle Ages expressed it, sadness has seized him in the face of the divine Goodness that lives within him.” That this sin is called “deadly” is not strange. Sloth is a deep-seated death wish. Thomas Aquinas said that “mortal sin is so called because it destroys the spiritual life which is the effect of charity, whereby

God dwells in us.” Acedia poisons our inner well of joy with apathy. It is more than dropping out—of college, of work, of daytime—and more than laziness. Acedia is saying “no” to the “yes” that God said when He created us and called us good. It is suffocation of God’s living breath in us, and rebellion against God’s interaction with His creation. Dante Alighieri’s poems tell of Dante’s journey, beginning “in a dark wood,” going through Hell and Purgatory to Heaven. It is remarkable that Dante managed to write an epic poem so detailed and fantastical. But it takes the brilliance of a poet to reveal the reality of sin in vivid imagery. Dante’s medieval morality mystifies post-Enlightenment man. In an interview titled “A Student’s Guide to the ‘Whole Big

Story Tala Strauss ’13

Ecosystem’ of Culture,” Ken Myers said, “Modern culture assumes we can know the world without any apprehension of the whole of things, because modern thought denies the existence of any order shaping the whole of things.” But “to know cosmic order is, in a sense, to know the totality of things—not, that is, to know everything that exists, which must be the prerogative of God, but to know what we do know as part of a meaningful totality.” He adds, “An appreciation for the poetic structure of reality is an essential antidote to the various disorders championed by the Enlightenment.” The assumption that every part is connected to the whole drives the structure of Dante’s narrative poem. He writes with the medieval architecture of a moral universe in mind, and his structured vision of Heaven and Hell reveals an underlying belief in the coherence of reality. Instead of abstract theology, which takes sin out of context, Dante creates a concrete world of images and conversations, depicting sin in order to define it. His “systematic poetry” and imagery signifies truth in a way easier to translate for our own lives. On the central terrace of Purgatory, the one for the slothful, Dante’s guide, Virgil, defines sin. The three terraces below, he explains, are inhabited by those guilty of pride, envy and wrath, which are sins of loving the wrong thing. Those who are guilty of avarice, gluttony, and lust, which are sins of loving excessively, inhabit the terraces above the central terrace. According to Dante’s Virgil, love is the “source” of all human action. Sin is inordinate or inappropriate love. The “summoning force” of love “fills the trapped soul” such that love can “never rest short of the thing that fills it with devotion.” Sloth is the sin of loving too little. As Aquinas wrote, “[Sloth] is an oppressive

sorrow, which … so weighs upon man’s mind, that he wants to do nothing.” It is directly opposed to God’s command to love. On the terrace for sloth, the souls now run for love to redeem all the time they lost on earth. It may seem silly, but it does get the point across. But a larger point can be deduced from the structure of Dante’s poems: only with guidance can human beings navigate through the pitfalls of sin. Through Hell, Purgatory and Heaven, Dante was guided by reasonable Virgil and loving Beatrice. Dante learned from the souls he encountered and discussed each stage of the journey with his guides. He never would have made it out of the “dark wood” by himself. This brings me back to the walk in the woods with my mother, my guide that early morning. The joy of being loved in community inspires action—not busyness, but liveliness. According to Pieper, “the opposite of acedia is not the industrious spirit of the daily effort to make a living, but rather the cheerful affirmation by man of his own existence, of the world as a whole, and of God—of Love, that is, from which arises that special freshness of action.” Someone redeemed from acedia echoes e. e. cummings: “i thank You God for most this amazing day.”

HONORABLE MENTIONS In her essay, “Sloth,” Kyra Sliwinski notes that “the failure to engage our minds as an act of worship is sloth— intellectual sloth—and does a great disservice to the life and witness of the Church.” Mark Whitfield, in “Too Busy for God?” also poses a challenge: “If running and striving is the cure, do our 100-m.p.h. lives keep us safe from falling into the sin of sloth? Not necessarily. Dante’s slothful are not simply inactive or lazy, but those who failed to show sufficient zeal in their pursuit of the good.”

Kyra Sliwinski, from Copley, Ohio, graduated in 2011 with a degree in linguistics. She considers her experience in the Jerusalem and Athens Forum one of the highlights of her time at Gordon.

A bit of a latecomer to higher education, Mark Whitfield spent over 20 years as a mapmaker in the UK before God called him to the liberal arts. Married to Kristin (Robbins ’93) and with two young daughters, Mark will graduate with a Tala Strauss is a philosophy and political studies double major and a serious tea lover. She is a native

political science major in 2013 at the tender age of 45.

of Bloemfontein, South Africa, and, most recently, also a citizen of Canada.

Spring 2012 | STILLPOINT 33






mentoring: Going deeper

than “how can i help you?”

Before beginning her soccer career at Gordon, Rachael Bailey treated the idea of mentorship as a casual truism at best; even a cliché. When she met her coach and her team captains, however, the cliché became a wonderful network of relationships.

August 25, 2008: I exchanged hurried goodbyes with Mom and Dad, then stepped into a classroom full of strangers. I was on my way to a four-year assemblage of the two things I failed at most: leadership and spirituality. Yet at that same moment, I was tossed into the hands of a mentor I would grow to consider a grandpa, and into the arms of those I now call sisters. Before my college soccer career, I treated leadership as a casual truism. This is simply due to the rare exercise of my own leadership skills and the lack of being challenged to identify what a true leader exhibits. As part of a Christian institution for the first time, I knew this team would be like nothing I had ever been part of before. We sing worship songs in the

34 STILLPOINT | Spring 2012

locker room? We pray before and after practice? We pray for other teams? “You have to buy into what this team is about,” said the captains. In my sheer naïveté, I wanted to, but felt too young. Four years later, I was all in—and not just because I was older. I was slapped across the face by these daily rhythms because they were the arrangement of something great—a remarkable integration of mentorship and what I now believe are its very origins. As sisters commiserate, so did we. As we were led by Coach Marc Whitehouse to compete with tenacity while seeking a deeper understanding of faith, mentorship started to mean more than “How can I help you?”

To think that there is an author and originator of mentorship (yes, I mean the first mentor who ever lived) may be a stretch for some. Yet, what better prototype to use than someone who is known to have lived a perfect life— regardless of belief in him or not? With that, I’d like to invite anyone to consider— if only temporarily—the simplicity of integrating spiritual and professional mentorship from a Christian’s perspective. Spiritual mentorship differs substantially from the goals of professional mentorship. Yet, aside from some core values, their steps for success are uncannily similar. Writer and motivational speaker Debra Moorhead highlights six qualities that make a good professional mentor. Though her language speaks more to a

Story Rachael Bailey ’12 Photo Richard Orr Photography, LLC

secular audience, readers may notice her advice is naturally anchored in the core teachings of a spiritual mentor guide, or even the Bible. “A good mentor will genuinely listen to your concerns and not be eager to get the conversation over,” says Moorhead on her website. Simple. Everyone listens. But the Bible also gives a one-sentence explanation of what I’ve discovered to be the engine behind this relationship. “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19). The verbal exchange whenever I entered Coach’s office to voice my stresses with playing time, boy problems, injuries, loss of loved ones—helped me better understand why people listen to good mentors.

champion prize and spiritual growth. When playing for a coach who has unreserved faith in his player’s attitudes and abilities, disappointing him makes us utterly sad. We were grounded in a shared commitment with Coach and player and one another. We took criticisms. We gave them. And we wanted to win from the day we bought in till we took our last step on the field in 2011.


Now the doors are closed on my soccer career, one that began four years ago with 25 malleable young women and a man who chose to care for them. I now have a little more than enough time to reflect and to look ahead to another career. As I do that, I cannot think or dream up a more perfect vision than taking the skills and confidence I developed on the field into the workplace. This vision is so clear to me: that wherever I exercise these newfound skills, leadership and spirituality will inevitably intertwine.

and clips through the semester-long

From there, mentorship went beyond asking what one could do for the other. It was an expectation that each should just do it. Prayer was a given and hugs too. And one by one, players jumped on board because Coach made it clear that we were learning more than how to be soccer players. Most of our teammates come to discover worth in bearing the weight of Coach’s accountability and reciprocity, and in the process, battle as one for the same

culture of the North Shore, tracking down statistics on local nonprofits and food pantries, or covering mass transit public meetings, Fellows with the Gordon College News Service (GCNS) have a nose for news. They write a variety of stories (one a week!) and get real journalism experience internship program. Because the GCNS was designed specifically for aspiring reporters and feature writers, the selective program helps the next generation of “truth tellers” put into practice their scholarship and training. Since the GCNS began in January 2010, 13 Fellows have written (as of March 15) 117 stories that have been published in some ten media outlets, reaching a potential combined readership of over 150,000 in less than two years. This year’s five Fellows include Rachael Bailey, author of “Mentoring: How Can I

He listened. And while he listened, he told us his life’s trials, offered a prayer, and then boldly gave advice we may not have wanted to hear. He inspired leadership in every single player who approached him. And what happens when leaders lead by example? For me it built up a blazing desire to be like Coach and our captains, and someday lead like them—mostly due to sharing our spiritual and emotional journeys with each other. With such transparency, I couldn’t disappoint them.

Whether reporting on the scuba diving

Help You?” Of the 13 GCNS Fellows, four are now working professionals in some communication-related field, including a local newspaper. Two more work as writers for nonprofit organizations in Washington, D.C., another works in publishing, and another is currently in graduate school. Five will graduate Rachael Bailey is a communication arts major and psychology minor and was a Fall 2011 Fellow in the Gordon College News Service (see sidebar). With a strong affinity for families and cultural differences, she hopes to explore both avenues

this May. In short, the recession and the changing landscape in journalism have created an opportunity for a win-win partnership. Gordon receives name recognition, students receive

after graduation. In the meantime

professional experiences/clips, news

she is eager to cover a wide range of

organizations receive good stories,

relevant feature stories for the North

and communities receive continued

Shore. Aside from writing, Rachael

coverage. Democracy—with a free

enjoys playing soccer for Gordon


College, snowboarding in the winters, and dining out.

Jo Kadlecek is founding editor of the

GCNS, and Journalist in Residence at Gordon.

Spring 2012 | STILLPOINT 35






value added: A Tribute to Bruce Webb extraordinary scholar

Story Stephen L. S. Smith

of the latter piece is a qualified “yes,” but only if Christian thinking is open to the disciplinary insights that economics brings to the table.

Professor Kent W. Seibert, Department Chair; Professor Stephen L. S. Smith; Professor Bruce G. Webb; Assistant Professor Casey L. Cooper; (back row) Retired Professors Niles Logue and Ted Wood; (front row) Associate Professor Alice S. Tsang; Assistant Professor Kejun Song.

Bruce Webb epitomizes so much about what is good about Gordon at its best: the teacher/scholar ideal for faculty, the vibrant connection between faith and our disciplines, and a high regard for the usefulness of liberal arts education in everyday life and for the common good. But, first and foremost, Bruce is a really fine economist. He has a grasp of the essence of economic principles and the breadth of their application, and a gift for applying them crisply and incisively. Back in 2005 we were on a panel discussion together about the U.S. economy. Eager students filled the hall. In five minutes Bruce laid out as coherently has I’ve ever heard it the basic, brutal facts about what the current generation of students will need to pay my generation, and Bruce’s, in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, if no changes are made in those programs’ promises. It was a sober crowd that left that evening. Bruce also has an exceptional understanding of how Christian ethics 36 STILLPOINT | Spring 2012

and Christian theology intersect with economics across the whole sweep of Christian points of view and economic schools of thought. For 20 years he and I had the privilege of jointly editing Faith & Economics, the journal of the Association of Christian Economists. Doing that was a true schooling for me. It would be hard to describe all the insights I gained about the richness of Protestant theology relating to economics, about Catholic social teaching, and, especially, about what economics as a discipline can contribute to Christian ethics. In addition to serving as co-editor, Bruce wrote two articles for Faith & Economics that have become classics, and among the most downloaded pieces from the Association’s webpage: “Whose Theology? Which Economics?” and the provocatively-titled “Is There Value-Added in Christian Scholarship?” The merits of these pieces lie in the way they take seriously both economics as a discipline and Christian ethical reflection. His wise answer to the question posed in the title

I can’t resist a remark about teaching. For all the years Bruce taught our economics senior seminar, he has sworn off the easy path in favor of the much harder—but more rewarding—path for students: Changing the topic every year to engage students in important public policy issues. As such, he’s diligently steeped himself in new topics every year—the WTO, health care, financial crises, global warming, and so on. It’s very hard for academics to work up fresh, high-level material that’s outside of their own particular specialties. But he has done so, and our students, along with Gordon’s entire intellectual climate, have been the better for it. Bruce is a colleague’s colleague, an intellectual’s intellectual and, especially, a Christian intellectual’s intellectual. I’m thankful to God for the fact that for a quarter century Bruce and I had offices next door to one another—what a gift that has been for me, and how grateful I am.

Stephen L. S. Smith joined the Economics and Business faculty in 1987. His teaching and research focus on international economic issues of all kinds, including trade and economic development policy. Southeast Asia is his particular specialty.






the “twinkle”: A Tribute to Robert Joss gravitas, humor and grace

Story Bert Hodges

During his first few years, Bob ran the Counseling Center on campus in addition to his teaching responsibilities, but during the 1980s he discovered his “true love” professionally—forensic psychology. It began with a sabbatical experience, but eventually he became a founding partner of one of the largest forensic practices in Massachusetts. His work in the legal system provided a wealth of new material for jokes and classroom stories, as well as crucial connections for students interested in the human and social services related to the legal and political practices of the Commonwealth. Assistant Professor Jonathan Gerber, Professors Robert Joss, Bert Hodges, Kaye Cook, Bryan Auday and Suzanne Phillips.

The most enduring impression people have of Robert Joss is “the twinkle.” He says “howdy” in a conspiratorial voice and then you see it—the twinkle in the eye that widens and crinkles into a sly smile that signals a joke about to be told. You watch the face, listening to him set up the punch line, one he often has trouble delivering because he can’t stop his own anticipatory laughter. No matter; more than half of the fun of the joke is watching how much fun Bob has telling it. I first met Bob Joss as a freshman in college. He was a prankster, a cheerleader, and a math major, who was dating one of my friends. The friend was Meredith Johnson (later to become Bob’s wife), but when they first began dating, several of us laid odds that it would not last. We were gloriously wrong. Soon they will celebrate their 44th wedding anniversary. Together they have been one of the facets of Gordon College that most reveal its glory, and more importantly God’s glory. If there is any one word that sums up Bob and Meredith, including their work at Gordon,

it is hospitality. Their house has welcomed thousands of people over the years, students, colleagues, fellow churchgoers, and especially international students. The year they spent on sabbatical in Kenya in 1989 changed their lives forever. As a consequence of that year, others in the Psychology Department—me included— came to a new appreciation of and commitment to cross-cultural psychology. We welcomed Bob to the Psychology Department in the fall of 1974. We were concerned to find someone who was welltrained, who had his own head “screwed on straight,” and who could start an internship program for us. We also wanted someone who was committed to teaching and students, who wouldn’t be tempted to shortchange them in favor of clinical practice. We got all that we bargained for and more. Best of all we gained a friend, someone who provides wisdom, gravitas, and grace whenever and wherever it is needed. So many colleagues, students and church members have benefited from his wise counsel.

Robert Joss has been an invaluable member of our commonwealth at Gordon for the past 38 years. His competence, concern, and care will be greatly missed. But on some “down day” in years to come, we can remember and be grateful for the twinkle in God’s eye that Bob is.

Professor of Psychology Bert Hodges came to Gordon in 1972. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Southampton (UK) and the University of California, Santa Barbara, and serves as senior research scientist at the University of Connecticut.

Spring 2012 | STILLPOINT 37






visionary: a tribute to Mark sargent thinker, listener, bridge builder

Story Bruce Herman

conversation with those writers and thinkers of other folds who are and ought to be our allies in the culture at large.

I’ve known Mark Sargent for almost two decades and count him a dear personal friend with whom I can bare my soul. I also have the deepest professional regard for this man and have collaborated with him on many of Gordon’s most demanding committees: the college Senate, core curriculum committee, faculty searches, campus events planning, and other institutional contexts. I’ve had the privilege to observe him act on the most delicate of personnel decisions where the highest integrity and practical wisdom are required, and I’ve seen him live and act with grace through some of the hardest moments of our shared history over the past few years. What I have witnessed in all these circumstances are the marks of character one rarely sees in such rich combination: depth of compassion and decisive toughness of mind; intellectual insight and fiscal perspicacity; philosophical nuance and practical political skill. And of course this mix of moral and intellectual character is exactly what has been needed at Gordon over the years of Mark’s tenure here. Without

38 STILLPOINT | Spring 2012

his particular giftedness this institution would have been far less likely to develop into the uniquely trusting, warm, rigorous academic community we know. Mark is a man who understands the subtleties of larger cultural stories and how those narratives are always embedded and incarnated in personal, local realities. His intellectual stature is at a level that commands the respect of Gordon’s faculty and his personal winsomeness and wisdom are the virtues that have fostered an atmosphere of high rigor and simultaneous warmth and collegiality here. Mark’s language and style are substantive yet casual, decisive yet open. He is a listener and a thinker—but he is also a man of vision and toughminded clarity. In the story of “Christ and culture” Mark is someone who sees common ground where others see battle lines; someone more likely to be building bridges than digging trenches. And though his Christian faith runs very deep, Mark is not one to bandy God-talk or resort quickly or glibly to pious language—and this is why he so naturally enters into

This is where I see Mark’s most valued gifting—in his open, insightful engagement with our current cultural moment, yet his simultaneous grounding in the tradition that lends guidance and biblical wisdom to decision making and action. Phrases like “moral imagination” and “critical loyalty” naturally issue from Mark because he lives out these complex and crucial ways of being among us. We will miss this man’s caring, insightful leadership at Gordon College, and I will miss a dear personal friend when Mark moves to Westmont College to become their new Provost. Where the West Coast may see a returning native son, we see an irreplaceable legacy of careful, loving leadership by one of the most gifted men ever to serve at this small but solid New England college.

Bruce Herman joined the Gordon faculty in 1984, and was instrumental in developing the art major. He was awarded the first fully endowed distinguished chair at Gordon in 2006, the Lothlórien Distinguished Chair in Fine Arts. His art has been exhibited internationally.






motivator: professor charles matheson’s enduring influence

Story Don Baron ’53 Photo 1951 Hypernikon

meine freude,” we often found ourselves moved to tears—sometimes quite openly with sobs during intermission in the basement —our hearts bound together in an uncanny oneness that survived far beyond the tour. The concert was always capped off by a drained and subdued Professor Matheson’s breathless prayer as we gathered, heads bowed, around him in the basement: “Not to us, Lord, not to us, but to Your name be the glory” (Psalm 115:1).

It was 1951, and I was walking toward the town center one day in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Many tour buses were parked in town, one with a banner reading “Gordon College Choir.” Curious, I hastened aboard and met John Keith ’54 and Grace Lambert ’52 (who later married John’s best friend, Bob Berry ’54, also a member of the choir). The rest of the choir would return soon, they said, and so I waited. Forty enthusiastic and friendly kids arrived back and made a fuss over me—especially when they learned I was thinking of transferring to Gordon. Then Professor Charles Matheson, choir director, appeared and told me he would receive me into the choir if I transferred. The following September I was, indeed, triumphantly singing in the College Choir, mediocre baritone that I was. Prof would incorporate at least one choir member in each section who could not read music. One such student reminisces: “I could not read a note, and had not heard of Bach, or even Handel’s Messiah.

Since the repertoire had to be memorized and sung without sheet music, I was admitted on the basis of my ability to capture and reproduce accurately the long sequences of random notes that Prof used in the tryouts. It changed my life.” The concerts on the annual Choir tour (one in the Maritime provinces, the other throughout Ontario) were wonderfully intense. We choir members were alone privileged to view Matheson’s face, his back to the audience. As we sang Pavel Chesnokov’s “Salvation Is Created,” undergirded from below by the choir’s vibrating basso profundo voices, Prof’s face betrayed the ache of a profound musician consumed by the massive theme of which we sang. We caught his anguish, responding in deep-felt harmonics that transported the entire assembly into the Mystery of the rich, Russian song. Chills ran up and down many spines.

He was much more than choir director; he was a motivator, taking real interest in the lives of his choristers. Along with his musical direction, choir practice held gems of his inights into personal dignity and self-respect. And along with the choir retreats where we worked day and night, there was wonderful camaraderie: ice skating, goofing off, preparing our own meals. After teaching voice for some years at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Charles Matheson died at age 96 of complications from a stroke. Loved by the community and churches where he and his wife, Marleta, chose to spend their twilight years, he is no less well loved and longed-for by grateful Gordon College Choir alumni. See story about the author, Don Baron, on page 41. Shirley Markie ’54 and John Keith ’54 also contributed their memories as choir members.

No Choir alumnus can ever forget as we broke out into the jubilation of Edvard Grieg’s “God’s Son Has Set Me Free from Satan’s Tyranny!” Later yet, when we got into Bach’s profoundly devotional “Jesu Spring 2012 | STILLPOINT 39

“Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the lives of Gordon students.”

Photo Firstname Lastname ’04

Quote by person photographed goes here. Damilola Junaid ’14

Title Here

Gordon scholarship programs Gordon’s scholarship programs provide support to financially deserving students. Every dollar raised is awarded directly to students who would not be here without it. These students are studying to serve and lead in every career field, including the sciences, the arts, education, ministry, health care, social services, computer technology, etc.

PHYSICIAN. PROFESSOR. INNOVATOR. DONOR. Carrie Dahl Tibbles, M.D. ’93 As an emergency physician and director of graduate education at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Dr. Tibbles focuses on clinical innovation and leadership education. This brand of servant leadership— using her education, creativity and compassion to improve the lives of patients and students—is an ethos Carrie learned at Gordon. That’s why she’s so enthusiastic about investing in the next generation of leaders.

Ways to give

Giving If you’d like to make a gift to help students like Dammy fulfill God’s call on their lives, contact Contact Dan White Director of Development 978.867.4843

255 Grapevine Road, Wenham MA 01984-1899


Mark your calendar! Annunciation

oil, acrylic and gold leaf on panel, 10 x 5 x 2 inches © 2006

You are warmly invited to join us for these upcoming major events in the

Tanja Butler painter and printmaker

2012–2013 Major Events

life of the College. Several speaker


series have launched during this

1–4 SoulfestAnnunciation depicts an intersection of time and eternity

inaugural year, including Conversations with the President—interviews with notable leaders in a variety of fields; and the Richard F. Gross Distinguished Lecture Series, featuring prominent public officials, scholars and leaders representing a diversity of contemporary perspectives. For complete listings of academic, arts, alumni and athletics events, visit

in the moment of decision offered Mary by the archangel September Gabriel. Mary, by accepting God’s invitation, opens the door the door shutSeries: since the Fall. 13 RichardtoF.God’s Grossredemption, Distinguished Lecture

MichaelThe Gerson of panel the Washington bottom depicts thePost biblical narrative within time and human history while the upper panel refers to the October activity in eternity, symbolized by the gold background. 5–6 Homecoming and Familyhas Weekend Mary’s conception been likened in medieval and Byzantine theology to the image of the burning bush. Just 6 Alumni Awards Celebration and Banquet as Mary contained God in her physical body, a miracle 19 Conversations President: Robert by Doll BlackRock similar with to thethe bush not consumed theofdivine flame, the Japanese paper lamp behind Mary holds light within fragile, November combustible material.

2 Convocation featuring Richard Fairbank, founder, chairman andbio CEO Capital Artist textof goes here One | December

6 Conversations with the President: Elf producer Todd Komarnicki and Elf screening

7–8 Christmas at Gordon; Christmas Gala April

17–20 Celebration of the Arts

7 stillpoint spring 2012  
7 stillpoint spring 2012