Office of the President

President's Blog

2019 and the Hundred-Year Journey

2019 and the Hundred-Year Journey

With a new blog and a new site, I look forward to the coming events of 2019 at Northwest University. During the year, I will be offering insights on leadership, culture, faith, and work regularly on the blog, and sending it out once a month by email. My goal is to keep things as entertaining as possible, usually limited to 500 words, while sharing some of my best thoughts.

This month, my team asked me to lay out a vision for Northwest University for 2019. To do so, let me begin with the hundred-year vision. In the year 2001, we declared to the public that we would become a University. In 2005, we changed our name, and in 2017, we were officially classified as a regional, masters-level University. By 2031, we will become a globally-acclaimed national University, drawing students from all 50 states and offering a wide variety of doctoral programs. By 2051, we will have become a research-extensive Christian University. By 2101 (if the Lord tarries), Northwest University will stand as one of the most elite Christian research universities in the world, with a multibillion-dollar endowment and a rock-solid foundation of faithfulness.

Throughout the hundred-year period, our most important goal is to remain centered on the person and presence of Jesus Christ in our community and in our academic endeavors. Even with today’s and tomorrow’s increasing lifespans, none of us alive today will be around to enjoy the centuries of Kingdom-focused excellence that will follow on the success of our efforts (consider how Oxford and Cambridge continue to train many of the finest theologians in the world after nearly a thousand years of service). But the joy we experience in creating a great Christian University in the Seattle area will fill our lives with meaning and purpose and provide a holy environment for the training of our children and grandchildren during our lifetimes.

So, the vision for 2019 plays a small but important part in the one-hundred-year plan. In January, classes resume and the faculty go back to our most crucial job: the education of students in the arts, sciences, and professions with spiritual vitality and academic excellence at associates, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. No visionary elements can supplant or replace this main purpose. Students will also participate with professors in award-winning research, especially in microbiology.

As we move into February, we have set a record fundraising goal for the President’s Banquet—$750,000 in a single night. Achieving that goal, we will go on to set a new record for our annual fund at the fiscal year’s end. Annually increasing our fundraising success will be more crucial every year for the next hundred years! On that night, I will roll out the plan for expanding the scope of Creatio to achieve our goal of becoming a truly 21st-century Christian University located at the intersection of Liberal Arts Avenue, Technology Street, and Spiritual Way. 

In March, we will complete the groundwork that will result later this year in a successful Master Plan revision process with the City of Kirkland and the Houghton community. We will visit China again in March to keep building our partnerships there and to recruit students who will continue to contribute to our current global reach and increasing international prestige. In April, our debate team will once again distinguish itself in the national championships at Clemson University. We will finish the semester on campus and enjoy our academic laurels at Commencement in May. Senior Vice President of Advancement Ken Cornell and I will visit Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia in May to build relationships with key Christian leaders and recruit more highly-talented international students.

Over the summer, assuming a final decision on the Master Plan has been reached, we will begin renovations and additions to the Butterfield Chapel, including the Westlake Global Prayer Center, a new 24-hour prayer chapel. This important project will greatly enhance our spiritual formation efforts. All the rest of this year we’ll be finishing up the fundraising for this vital project. Summer maintenance on our campus will extend the lifespan of our existing physical plant. Sports and language and spiritual camps (including our popular, Lilly-funded Summer Journey program for teens) will keep the campus buzzing all summer.

When the fall semester rolls back around, we will see progress in our goal of building a full chamber orchestra on campus, and we hope to launch our esports program. We will take the Best Christian Workplaces survey in September or October to gauge progress toward our goal of achieving the highest score ever recorded by a university on that instrument. Implicit in it all will be continued harmony and satisfaction in the spiritual enhancement of this “college with the soul of a church.” Also, in the fall I will begin a major tour of leading Hispanic churches throughout the United States to promote the Spanish edition of my book, 40 Days of Christmas, designed to increase the visibility of Northwest University to the top Hispanic Christian high school students and their parents across the nation.

The year will close with spectacular Northwest University concerts: the Christmas Traditions concert at Benaroya Hall with our choirs and the Kirkland Civic Orchestra, and the Choralons concert a week later. Our chess team will compete again in the Pan-American Intercollegiate Chess Championships and increase our reputation as America’s premier evangelical university for chess. Throughout the year, our sports teams will have competed with integrity and Christian character as they experience both wins and losses—and hopefully some thrilling playoff and championship appearances.

That only begins to tell the story, as we are a University and therefore involved in just about everything. I’ve left out important things! But this is a snapshot of what’s to come in 2019 as I foresee it. It’s going to be a blast!