Education that goes beyond a degree: An alumnus perspective

Last Updated 6 April, 2016

by Ed Robinson, Vice President for Academic Affairs

I heard about the NNU experience before I ever came to campus. I remember laying in bed late into the night thumbing through my family’s editions of the “Oasis,” NNU’s yearbook, recording decades of the memories, rhythms and traditions at Northwest Nazarene College. Many nights I drifted off to sleep thumbing through the pictures, wondering if I would have the opportunity to create memories of my own. I dreamed about NNU before I every got there.

When my time came to consider college, there was little hesitation as I made my choice for NNU. With the accumulation of dreams, where else would I go? So I traveled 1,200 miles from West Texas to a campus where I didn’t know anyone, students or faculty, to begin a four-year journey that would have a transforming effect on the rest of my life. What I found exceeded every dream.

It didn’t take me long to figure out that NNU was going to help me think in ways I hadn’t thought before. My professors challenged me to ask questions deeper than the ones to which I already knew the answers. The books I read compelled me to consider the world in much broader terms than my own experience. Many of my courses challenged me to think more seriously about the nature of truth and the depth of my own faith. It didn’t take me long to figure out that NNU was much more than a place to make memories for a yearbook. It was a place to establish foundations that would set my direction and shape my character for the rest of my life.

Apparently the promise of the NNU experience was as intriguing to my daughters during their high school years as it was to me almost thirty years earlier. In the mid-1990s, each chose to travel 1,400 miles from eastern Kansas to an unfamiliar campus with unfamiliar people and discovered the same values of service, community, truth and life-long transformation for themselves.

I returned to NNU as a faculty member and administrator in 2011, thirty-eight years after my graduation. Much had changed about the campus—new people, new courses, new books, new buildings—but some things remain the same. NNU remains a place where one discovers the call to serve, regardless of one’s profession. NNU remains a community in which life-long friendships are born and nurtured. NNU remains a place committed to the pursuit of truth, especially as it is grounded in Jesus Christ. I know from my own experience and my observation of others that NNU remains a place where transformations occur. I pray that it will always be so.