“The greatness of a leader is measured by the achievements of the led."
General Omar Bradley
Patrick Henry College student Cheryl Harvey sat down with President Jack W. Haye in a personal interview to ask him about his heart and vision for PHC. Haye, who has been PHC's president since 2015, shared that he is "reminded again and again that PHC is a special place. Not perfect, that’s for sure, but a place that is trying to do something both unique and significant for the glory of God."
As a leader, where do you plan to take the college?
As a leader, my job is to help us stay in step with what God is doing. Not rush ahead out of ego, or lag behind out of irresolution, but to walk in step with where God is leading. He has been so faithful over the years to guide and direct.
If you had an opportunity to sit down with individual students, how would you share and describe your vision for the college to them?
PHC exists to help equip men and women to lead in their chosen vocations for the glory of God and the good of those who follow them. All of us represent Christ to those with whom we interact—for good or for ill. As a result, PHC is a discipling institution. Our emphasis on mentoring and discipleship allows us to come alongside students for four years to help them grow in their faith as they are growing intellectually—through all the ups and downs of college life.
What value did you see in PHC that makes taking the position worthwhile?
God opened the door in 1998 for me to join PHC’s Board of Trustees. The years leading up to the opening of the College in 2000 were filled with planning, strategy meetings, fundraising, prayer, and more prayer. I had the opportunity to serve as Chairman of the Board of Trustees from 1999 through 2015. During that time, the College experienced both ups and downs as all organizations do. Through it all, God was faithful.
As for my current role, I determined years ago to keep my “yes” on the table. By that I mean that I am willing to do whatever God calls me to do. Coming to PHC as president was not on my radar screen in any way. But the Lord made it clear that this was something He was calling our family to do. So, here we are, and it has been our joy to serve.
What is your heart for the college/students?
I believe the years between 18-22 are incredibly important. During these years, so many values are formed that you will have for the rest of your life. These are also the years when you will either build on the faith handed down to you or not. It is my joy to walk alongside students who are trying to figure it all out. We are all works in process as Paul reminds us in Philippians 1:6.
I walked away from my faith during my college years, so I especially enjoy working with students who are questioning, cynical, and convinced of the rightness of their own opinion. That was me, so I can spot it a mile away.
When you took the position, what were areas of strength and weakness of PHC? How has PHC changed under your leadership?
PHC has had a strong community ethos since the beginning. Over the past few years, we have been intentional about creating an environment where we more intentionally care for each other. My background as a business leader has been useful in helping develop and implement strategies focused on placing the College in solid financial footing and clarifying our marketing message. My background as a pastor makes me a careful listener and someone who knows first-hand the power of prayer.
What are some areas you see as weaknesses, and how do you plan to improve them?
One of our areas of weaknesses has traditionally been the level of career services available to graduating seniors and alumni. This year we launched a new portal that helps connect those looking for jobs and those looking to hire PHC grads. It is an exciting new initiative being led by Dean Thornhill.
How do you plan to keep up with PHC’s growing numbers (dorms, classes, study spaces, etc.)?
Our growth plans are both strategic and careful. Certain distinctives drive the rate of student enrollment growth and the related infrastructure growth required to accommodate the student community. Two key factors: maintaining our community ethos and keeping the faculty/student ratio low, especially in our upper-level courses.
We have developed models that allow us to determine when to add class sections, when to hire additional adjuncts and when to hire additional full-time faculty. Similarly, we have a model for determining when and how much additional space will be needed for classrooms, dormitories, faculty offices, etc. This allows us to carefully steward the financial gifts we receive from donors. It also keeps us away from the “build it, and they will come” mentality that has led to difficulties at many colleges and universities.
As PHC is in this “transition phase” adjusting to the growth in students, how do you hope to alleviate some of the growing pains in the meantime (professors being spread thin, wings/wing families are no longer small and close, limited study spaces, etc.)?
We are committed to supporting our faculty by adding additional sections, hiring adjunct professors, etc., as we grow. Community gatherings (Chapel and Wing Chapels) become even more important as we grow. We will need even greater intentionality in both our corporate and small group gatherings as well as more student-led Bible studies and study groups.
Why does serving in this way matter so much to you?
That is a good question. It matters because I believe in what we are trying to do here with God’s help. As I travel around the country meeting with donors and attend meetings with other Christian college presidents, I am reminded again and again that PHC is a special place. Not perfect, that’s for sure, but a place that is trying to do something both unique and significant for the glory of God.