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PHC Chancellor and President Welcome Incoming Students

August 19th, 2010

By David Halbrook; pictures by Art Cox

CONTACT:  David Halbrook
Patrick Henry College
(540) 441-8722
OfficeOfCommunications@phc.edu

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PHC Chancellor Dr. Michael Farris exhorts new students and parents to seek Christ first and foremost

Including himself among the roomful of recent arrivals to Patrick Henry College, the College’s new Vice President of Advancement, Colin Stewart, issued a warm welcome to incoming students and their parents at a special orientation dinner Tuesday evening in the Barbara Hodel Center. Having arrived in July from Dallas, Texas, where his most recent fundraising effort helped launch the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Foundation at Southern Methodist University, Mr. Stewart wryly observed of the College: “This (college) seems pregnant to me. With the wonderful quality of facilities and programs in place, it seems like we’re ready for a quantum leap forward.”

Introduced by Mr. Stewart as “the right man to preside over that growth,” President Graham Walker greeted students with an overview of the disconcerting arc of Christian higher education in America, starting with his impressions of the Ivy League schools that once revered the Bible but today hide all symbols of their early missionary roots.

Colin Stewart, PHC's new Vice President for Advancement, kicks off the evening

Having served eight years as a professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania and two years as a Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, Dr. Walker observed that “there has been a gradual reinterpretation at these schools of what it means to follow Christ. The result is a strange phenomenon in which many of these institutions of higher learning have first abandoned faith, and then reason.”

Patrick Henry College, he added, was created to recapture a “very old, yet very unique” model of a college grounded in biblical Truth, passionate in its pursuit of Jesus, and devoted to the highest standards of academic rigor, founding principles, and classical learning.

“At Patrick Henry College,” he added, “we don’t defend faith from reason; we defend reason because of our faith in Jesus Christ. Through Jesus, through whom all things were created, exist and hold together (Col. 1:15-17), our reason becomes more acute, more potent. At Patrick Henry College we want our students to be grounded in the Lord as they reason their way through the world.”

College President Dr. Graham Walker and his wife, Lindy, greet new students before the evening's speeches begin

The College’s founder and Chancellor, Dr. Michael Farris, noting that “this is my eleventh welcoming banquet,” assured all assembled that “what you see here, in the building and across our campus, is so far beyond anything I could have ever seen or imagined, that I can tell you with certainty this is God’s project.”

Chronicling highlights of the College’s growing legacy in the arenas of academics, national moot court championships, and prestigious alumni achievements, Dr. Farris firmly cautioned incoming students that, “the success of this experiment (in Christian higher education) will be judged on the lives of people. Are we really making an impact for Jesus?

“If you want to do great things for God,” he added, “you must walk wholeheartedly with God. And while I trust you will all work hard, and hope you get good grades during your time here, what really matters is your walk with God. That journey begins tonight in your dorm room, when you set your heart on spending time in the Word, remaining faithful, working hard, and wholeheartedly following Him. I’ve seen the blessing of that journey to wholeheartedly follow Jesus, and I can’t wait to see what God does with each of you for the rest of your lives.”

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