Fall 2003 State of the University Address
3) We will be known as a university that embraces life-giving community. From the earliest history of APU, for more than 100 years, one of our most distinguishing characteristics has been the powerful life-change that occurs when we “do” community. Community happens when a freshman walks into the residence hall; when commuter students gather in the library lounge; when accelerated degree students share a meal; when graduate students huddle over a table at Denny’s. In every gathering and every conversation, our faculty, staff, and students practice the fine art of life-giving community. We will model Christ in our relationships, and therefore, will be a community that values truth-telling, trust, and transparency. We will pursue God-honoring diversity, and therefore, will be attractive to Christ-followers from varied populations as students, faculty, staff, and board members. We will be known as a community that values people, practicing grace and kindness because all people matter to God. The strongest evidence of life-giving community will be the net growth in each of us and in each of our students at the end of every class, every semester, and every conversation.
4) We will be known as a university that practices sacrificial service. One of the highest values we have as a university is the value of service. We believe that educating our students’ minds without educating their hands fails to meet the biblical standard of “love God and love your neighbor.” For more than 10 decades, every undergraduate student enrolled has had to complete a service requirement. This commitment to sacrificial service extends throughout our adult and graduate programs. Students know Azusa Pacific University because of our commitment to applied knowledge that impacts our society. With this in mind, our vision for 2012 includes partnering with schools, families, and neighborhoods in Azusa and the East San Gabriel Valley. There must be measurable, significant benefit to all of these because of their close proximity to APU. In following God’s heart in sacrificial service, we will find students drawn to the disenfranchised, many of whom are wrestling with difficult social issues. In regard to these social issues, serving in the name of Christ demands that we will hear all voices on social issues, but we will form our response on the truth of Scripture, and therefore, be “grace-filled.” Our academic programs, whenever possible, will extend application of knowledge through the discipline of service learning. Our best example tonight is Connie Brehm, Ph.D., whom we recognized for her work in leading our students to serve in the Winter Shelter Program of the East San Gabriel Valley. The best evidence that we are meeting this goal of sacrificial service will be the transformation of motive for every student and the practice of service by every graduate in vocation, ministry, and community.
5) The last category is not a Cornerstone, but rather it is necessary that we identify resources and infrastructure that will promote an environment that will help us achieve these goals. Simply stated, we must align our strategies and resources to intentionally support God-honoring excellence in all four Cornerstones. Perhaps the most significant will be the coordination of all of our institutional planning processes, so that we have an integrative strategic plan, budget plan, people plan, development plan, and campus master plan. The strongest evidence that we have rightly aligned our resources and infrastructure will be that our size and growth will be an outcome of our mission and vision, not an unplanned blessing or accident.
In 1822, French physicist Augustine Fresnel crafted an invention that revolutionized maritime safety. Up to this point, lighthouses in North America, Europe, and around the world were illuminated with tallow or coal lamps. The lens used to magnify the light had less than 17 percent efficiency in casting a clear beam into the darkened night. Fresnel discovered that by stacking and aligning more than 100 prisms he could create a lens capable of capturing nearly 80 percent of the light generated, and casting a clear beam more than 20 miles. Today, the Fresnel lens is used to cast an even and bright illumination at stop lights, in the headlights of cars, and as a safety mirror to view oncoming traffic. What I want to capture in this metaphor is the fact that Fresnel did not invent a new light; he used existing light with its full force and power to dispel darkness. That is us. We are the lens — bent and molded by God to capture His light — Christ — and to allow His sovereign will to be extended through us into the dark night. Our Light is Christ. The Light of Azusa Pacific University — the Light of our curricular and co-curricular; the Light of each of us who have proclaimed Jesus as Lord — that Light is the Son of God.
It was this powerful Christ-centered, love-filled, redemptive Light that the great Dutch statesman, Abraham Kuyper, must have had in mind in his inaugural address at the Free University. Kuyper, in building his case for a Christ-centered university and a Christ-centered curriculum, made this declaration: “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is sovereign over all, does not cry ‘Mine!’”
Do we get this picture? We stand with Kuyper and declare that there is not a square inch of this darkened world over which Christ, who is sovereign over all, does not cry “Mine.” Not a square inch of art, music, science, math, nursing, psychology, education, business, or any other APU academic discipline over which Christ, who is sovereign over all, does not cry, “Mine!” There is not one of our four Cornerstones — Christ-centered, transformational scholarship, life-giving community, or sacrificial service — over which Christ, who is sovereign over all, does not cry, “Mine!” Not a square inch of the Azusa Campus both East and West, or our centers in Victorville, Ventura, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Orange County, Murrieta, San Diego, or Yosemite over which Christ, who is sovereign over all, does not cry, “Mine!” There is not one faculty, staff, student, board member, administrator, alumnus, neighbor, or constituent over whom Christ, who is sovereign over all, does not cry, “Mine!”