Perched on the Shoulders of Giants

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

“Bernard of Chartres used to compare us to dwarfs perched on the shoulders of giants. He pointed out that we see more and farther than our predecessors, not because we have keener vision or greater height, but because we are lifted up and borne aloft on their gigantic stature.”

—John of Salisbury, Metalogicon 1159

To our modern ears being comparing to dwarfs sounds odd, but it paints a wonderful image that who we are and how we see ahead is built upon the trials and challenges, strength, vision and hard work of our forebearers. Next year Fresno Pacific University will celebrate the 75th anniversary of its founding as Pacific Bible Institute. The world was a different place in 1944. World War II was raging. But our culture generally respected religious institutions. Every generation has its challenges. And today faith-based universities encounter increasing hostility.

The FPU Board of Trustees has spent much time in the last year working through what it means to be a Christian university in today’s world. So it is with great enthusiasm that in its meetings this last weekend the board approved the guiding framework for the 75th anniversary. Details will be forthcoming. My own hope for the coming year is that the anniversary will give us an opportunity to celebrate what God has done through this university, the lives touched by our self-sacrificing faculty and staff and the impact made over the years by our graduates to the world around us.

The work of envisioning the future involves exciting as well as challenging decisions. The board considered facilities’ needs, maintenance and new construction as well as fundraising goals and strategies. We look forward to possible partnerships that will enhance our programs, potentially leading to new investment in our main campus. And we also authorized a process in connection with our Mennonite Brethren denomination to clarify what it means for Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary to serve the church as a resource for leadership training and development and the role of academic freedom while affirming the identity of the seminary as a national MB seminary. Finally, we were pleased to receive a report that we had met our budget obligations in the last fiscal year leaving sufficient resources to restore salary cuts. While we must continue to be diligent with our resources, the board deeply appreciates the hard work, dedication and sacrifice of all who bore us through difficult times.

Please join with us in celebrating what God has done through this university, and let us hope that by God’s grace those that come behind us will see us as giants for the work that we are engaged in today.