Patrick Henry College
|Chancellor Michael Farris|
|President Graham Walker|
A special Consecration Ceremony, the morning of October 27, formally installed new PHC President Graham Walker and completed the transition to Chancellor of former PHC President Michael Farris. The hour-long ceremony featured remarks by both Dr. Walker and Dr. Farris, stirring performances by the PHC Chorale under direction of new Music Director Dr. Steven McCollum, as well as prayers and remarks by PHC Trustee Jack Haye, HSLDA President J. Michael Smith and Dean of Chapel Dr. Raymond Bouchoc.
As Chancellor, Dr. Farris, who helped found the College in 2000, will now concentrate his efforts in promoting the College through writing, speaking, and fundraising. His remarks during the Consecration Ceremony underscored the urgent need for a classical Christian liberal arts college like PHC to equip a new generation of godly leaders. These Christian men and women, he said, must counter efforts by Ivy League universities—who send an inordinate number of national leaders into the public square—to erode laws and traditions upon which the country was built.
Citing a recent Harvard Law School decision to revise its core curriculum by emphasizing "international law" rather than American constitutional law, Dr. Farris observed, "I came to believe over the course of time that the most important thing that I could do is speak to these areas that I care about and to train up an army of young people who want to speak to these issues, who want to do what is necessary to bring this country back to the principles of self government, to virtue, to liberty and to the principles of God… Our goal is to replace Harvard, Stanford, Yale and Duke… to become a premiere institution in this country whose ideas matter.
"It is my greatest desire in life," Dr. Farris added, "to be your coach and to tell you 'Go run, accomplish great things for God. Go and do those things that will turn this country back to the principles that it was founded upon and to stay true first and foremost to the Word of God.'"
In his address, President Walker—a former Ivy League professor himself who risked his own tenure over an unapologetic commitment to God and traditional values—captured the wonderful irony of a Berkeley born-and-bred son of liberal atheists giving his heart to Jesus at 15, and embarking on the life of a Christian academic leader. Identifying PHC's mission to equip Christian leaders to help change the nation, Dr. Walker noted: "Our strategy involves equipping (students)… to be honed instruments in the arsenal of the Lord, soldiers in His army… sharp arrows in God's quiver.
"Nonetheless, " he continued, "our strategy isn't so much to make (our students) powerful as to exalt the One who is himself all powerful. Our strategy is simply an offshoot of the one key thing, which is to love Jesus himself with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. That's our final strategy for leading this nation..."
"...to invite you to take his yoke upon you and to love him in that way."
The hour-long ceremony closed with a Scripture reading by Dean Bouchoc, a consecration prayer by Mr. Smith, a responsive reading by the audience and a closing hymn, I'd Rather Have Jesus.