From the President
Northwestern has always been proud of its close-knit community. In the early years we were so small (seven students in 1902!), collegial closeness must have been nearly effortless.
But our reputation has continued to thrive through the decades, and I believe that is because we pursue community. We’re intentional about it, dedicating ourselves to meaningful relationships among employees, leaders, faculty members and students. We ask, “How can sincere Christian community be lived out on our campus in 2013 and, beyond that, into our world?” And we implement ways to do it. So when we talk about community here—in board meetings, faculty gatherings and classes—it’s not offhand or wishful thinking.
Northwestern is growing into its identity as a university, and as a result, our campus and online learning opportunities will attract more students from around the region, nation and world. Believing that thoughtful growth is God at work, I can’t help also wondering, “How will we be able to offer every student—even online learners—that unique Northwestern kind of community?”
This issue of Pilot delves into some nuances of community in a time in which many of our person-to-person interactions happen virtually. How can we truly know others and be known in a high-tech world? How can we wisely access the tools that facilitate relationships across campus and across the world?
We have a low-tech model in the early Jesus followers. The young Christian church was a wonderful mosaic of people who supported one another in tangible ways and, eventually, during terrifying circumstances. They were a covenant community with Christ at the center. And participating in true community gave them the strength and will to reach out to the world around them.
Here at UNW, gestures of true relationship happen every day. Last year, a member of our Northwestern community experienced a devastating house fire. Within moments, texts, emails and phone calls were flying to request prayer and resources that allowed our colleague the opportunity to secure temporary housing, clothes and day-to-day necessities. Many others in our community are journeying through health crises in their own lives or the lives of loved ones; individuals at Northwestern pray, act and engage to help carry the burden in real and practical ways, sacrificially extending themselves to help. That’s community.
At Northwestern, we want to bring out the best in others by resolutely and continuously investing in relationships. It’s in our DNA.
Alan S. Cureton, Ph.D., President