Fall 2003 State of the University Address
This is the strong foundation of our recent past. Now we move into the future. On your tables is a verse found in Colossians 1:15-17, New Living Translation.
Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before God made anything at all and is supreme over all creation. Christ is the one through whom God created everything in heaven and earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see — kings, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities. Everything has been created through him and for him. He existed before everything else began, and he holds all creation together.
As I unpack the structure of our vision, I want to clearly emphasize the Truth at the core of this Scripture. Azusa Pacific University will remain Christ-centered in all we do. Our Christian worldview will proclaim that He is Creator of all things; Sustainer of all things; the Reason that all things were created, and that He exists to reconcile all things to Himself.
In the next decade, it is projected that there will be an 11 percent increase in new undergraduate enrollments at campuses with religious affiliation. The high school graduating class of 2009 will be the largest in the history of North America. Higher education directed toward the adult learner is estimated to grow in excess of 16 percent in the next 10 years. The location of this university and each of our regional centers places us squarely in the middle of a demographic tidal wave. The churches and faith communities of Southern California, arguably the most segregated communities in our neighborhoods, are wrestling with major shifts in ethnic make-up. The importance of the next 10 years in the life and ministry of APU cannot be overstated.
Three years ago when I stepped into this role, one of the great gifts given to me was the identification of the four Cornerstones which our community crafted in the early 1990s. Time and time again, I have discovered the tremendous wisdom of this model. Christ, Scholarship, Community, and Service provide for us the best possible foundation around which to build a vision. So let me unpack the core of our 2012 vision: We desire to be a leading Christ-centered evangelical university, recognized for transformational scholarship, life-giving community, and sacrificial service.
1) First, we will be known as a university that is Christ-centered. This means specifically that the Lordship of Christ will be the defining value that prioritizes all that we do. We will always put God First. We will move into intentional, strong partnerships with churches in the San Gabriel Valley and then Southern California. Every student in every class will be taught from a Christian worldview. Staff and faculty will model what it means to be Christ-followers. We will work and live in this Christ-centered community because we believe that together faculty, staff, and students — transformed by Christ — can transform the world. The strongest evidence that we are operating as a Christ-centered university will be seen when our alumni have permeated churches, businesses, schools, and communities in a way that impacts the Southern California culture for God.
2) We will be known as a university distinguished by transformational scholarship. I am absolutely committed to growing a culture of scholarship that embraces discovery and the sharing and teaching of knowledge. Transformational scholarship encourages all of us into lifelong learning. Transformational scholarship answers the questions our faculty in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences wrestled with today: Who am I? Why am I here? What is my responsibility to God, to other individuals, and to the community? What is true? What is good? What is beautiful? And, what is just? Transformational scholarship is built on the work of world-class faculty. We will invest strategically in the development of our faculty. We will become a university that is a destination for scholars who are Christian. The strongest evidence of transformational scholarship will be the reputation we have with our peers, our constituents, and the faith communities of Southern California, the nation, and the world.